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  • Sleep Better with Progressive Muscle Relaxation

    May 12, 2023 2 min read

    We’ve all been there: staring at the ceiling in a dark room, tossing and turning in our bed, and trying and failing to turn off our brain before going to sleep. Whether it's chronic insomnia or just a restless night, the technique known as progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) may help when nothing else works.

    What is progressive muscle relaxation?

    As the name suggests, PMR involves relaxing all the muscles in your body in stages. If you’re feeling stiff, sore, scattered, worried or anxious, PMR is for you, particularly if your sleep is suffering.

    Who can practice progressive muscle relaxation?

    This technique is great for anyone experiencing high levels of stress, a restless mind, or insomnia. It’s also a good alternative to guided meditations or restorative yoga practices. However, if you have an injury, consult your physician before practicing PMR as it may create additional tension or increase pain in sensitive areas.

    Muscle Relaxation & Sleep | Mukha Yoga

    How to do progressive muscle relaxation

    1. Start by laying on your bed in comfortable clothing. If you are getting ready for bed, turn off the lights and silence your phone.

    2. Take a few deep breaths and feel your body. Notice where you’re feeling tension, without changing anything.

    3. Start focusing on your lower extremities. Flex your toes toward the ceiling and hold the tension for 10 to 20 seconds. Release them and take a deep breath.

    4. Continue pointing your toes and stretching your feet. Hold the tension once again and release it after a couple of breaths.

    5. Slowly move across your body, tensing muscles and releasing them. Continue with your calves and thighs.

    6. Next, focus on your arms. Close your hands into a tight fist and release the tension. Continue clenching and releasing your arms.

    7. Before carrying on, stop to notice how your extremities feel. Do you sense a lightness in your arms and legs?

    8. Now, clench your glutes and release them before moving on to the torso. Start with your lower belly, then your core and your shoulder blades. Finish relaxing your torso by lifting your shoulders to your ears, holding, and releasing.

    9. The next step is relaxing your face. Open your mouth as wide as possible to release tension from your jaw. Squeeze your eyes tightly and release. Lastly, lift your eyebrows, hold, and release. This feels particularly good if you’re prone to headaches.

    10. The entire process should take around 20 minutes.

    Important things to watch out for while practicing progressive muscle relaxation

    Never clench your jaw or frown as you do PMR. Creating tension in some parts of your body while trying to relax others can have the opposite effect. If at some point you feel a pang of pain in a muscle or joint, stop immediately.

    The beauty of this technique is that it can be part of your routine before going to bed. Try calming breathing techniques, guided meditations and aromatherapy to calm your nervous system and unplug your mind.

    Yoga Tips for Sleep | Mukha Yoga

    Aimeé Durán Triujeque l Mukha Yoga Writer By Aimeé Durán Triujeque; All Rights Reserved @2023

    Aimeé Durán Triujeque l Mukha Yoga Writer
    By Aimeé Durán Triujeque; All Rights Reserved @2023