We've all been there before: You spend what seems like hours trying to fall asleep, tossing and turning and growing increasingly frustrated. You look at the clock and realize it's three in the morning, meaning you only have a few more hours to sleep before it's time to get up to go to work. No matter what you do, you just can't seem to get yourself to the point of relaxation you need.
It might be the worst feeling in the world.
If that sounds familiar to you, don't fret: We've got some interesting ways to get yourself relaxed and ready for sleep, so you never have to go through that scenario again. From tongue techniques to deep stretching to intense deep breathing exercises, this is how you prepare your body and mind for a full night of uninterrupted, gloriously refreshing sleep. Try them tonight — and don't forget to thank us tomorrow.
In the beginning, it's important to get your mind into a slower place.
Focus your mind and body on taking slow, deep breaths. This will help reduce your heart rate and blood pressure.
When you deep breathe, what's really going on?
Deep breathing also allows the parasympathetic system (which is responsible for your ability to relax) to override your sympathetic system (which controls your automatic stress response).
Then you could always try the 4-7-8 technique.
According to Dr. Andrew Weil, you should sit up in bed with your back straight, and press the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth right behind your front teeth. Maintaining that position, close your mouth and inhale through your nose for four counts, hold that breath for seven counts, and then exhale through your mouth around your tongue for eight counts. Repeat this pattern until you have completed four full breaths.
Engaging your tongue in the process is actually pretty important.
Read this set of instructions carefully and try it for yourself.
You could also use a more traditional technique.
Try connecting with the rise and fall of the breath, and noticing where you feel that breath move within the body, letting go of anything negative you might feel.