For some individuals with insomnia, a racing or anxious mind is the root cause of their sleep problems, while for others, physical tension keeps them awake at night. One effective method to calm an overactive mind or ease tense muscles is a technique called progressive muscle relaxation. This approach involves gradually tensing and relaxing the muscles, starting from the feet and moving up through the body.
To practice progressive muscle relaxation, begin by lying on your back in bed in a comfortable position, with a pillow under your head or knees to support your back. Place your hands on your chest with the palms facing upwards and slightly apart from the body. Take a few slow, deep breaths through your nose, exhaling with a long sigh to release any tension you may be holding onto.
Focus on your toes and feet first, flexing them gently and then relaxing them. Feel the sensation this movement creates before releasing the tension. Gradually work your way up through the body, tightening each muscle group before letting it go. This includes areas such as calves, thighs, buttocks, lower back, abdomen, upper back, shoulders, arms