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Relaxation Techniques

Yoga Moves That Quiet the Brain and Relax the Body

There’s a reason that yogis always seem so upbeat and well rested: Practicing sun salutations, downward dogs, and other poses can be a great, natural way to improve sleep. And you don’t have to be a pro to benefit. People with insomnia who do yoga daily for at least eight weeks fall asleep faster and get more sleep at night. Yoga may also be able to help if work, relationship, or other angst is keeping you awake long past bedtime. In fact, over 85 percent of people who practice yoga say that it cuts down on stress. So what are you waiting for? Pull out a yoga mat, grab a water…

What is ASMR?

ASMR, which stands for autonomous sensory meridian response, is still a relatively new creation. It describes a feeling of euphoric tingling and relaxation that can come over someone when he or she watches certain videos or hears certain sounds. What kind of visual or audio clips can create such a lovely feeling? It might surprise you, but the videos are of people doing incredibly simple, quiet, calming tasks, such as folding towels, brushing their hair, or flipping magazine pages. You might hear someone’s voice speaking in the background of the video, but not always. The audio clips often consist of voices whispering nice things (like “You are appreciated”), or contain the sound of tapping,…

How to Meditate Before Bed

If a racing mind is keeping you up at night, meditation might be just the sleep aid that you need. The mind-calming practice can be done at bedtime—or anytime during the day—to help fight fatigue and insomnia. By practicing relaxing, whenever you do it, you learn how to let go of the stresses of the day. Think of it like exercising a muscle that gets stronger over time. This allows you to tap into that same ready relaxation state when it’s time to say goodnight. In fact, meditation, the practice of intentionally quieting or focusing the mind, creates physiological changes that are similar to those that happen in your body during the…

Can Massage Help You Sleep?

Go ahead and book that deep shiatsu session. Indulging in a massage at the end of a tough week isn’t just a nice way to wind down—it’s also been shown to improve sleep, according to numerous studies. Surprising? Maybe not, considering that baby massage is one of the first techniques used to help infants sleep. But what you may be amazed by is just how beneficial a little R&R on the massage table can be for your sleep. It Helps You Relax. If you’re kept up at night worrying about financial problems, a rocky relationship, or other stressful issues, a massage may be the key to sounder sleep. Regular massage sessions have been found…

Relieve Holiday Stress to Get More Sleep

It might be the most wonderful time of the year, but the holidays can also be filled with stress, busy schedules, and not enough sleep. Whether it’s shopping and wrapping, late-night parties, or a pile-up of stress that’s got you feeling fried, these are some key ways to improve your shuteye during the hap-happiest season of all. 1. Prioritize The People You Love. Having fun with friends and family members can be a great stress reliever, because it boosts levels of the so-called cuddle hormone oxytocin. So go ahead and make time to exchange gifts, reminisce, and catch up on everybody’s lives. But beware: All friends and family members aren’t created equal, and for some people,…

Learning to Relax

No need to go on a yoga retreat: Beat stress with some easy techniques. Stress not only makes you irritable and tense during the day—it can also make it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. That’s because it puts you in a state of hyperarousal, causing your blood pressure and your breathing rate to increase.The key to combatting stress: relaxation. Luckily, these smart strategies can help you unwind your mind, so your body is relaxed at night and can ease into dreamland.Make a List. If tomorrow’s to-dos tend to race around your brain as you try to drift off, get them out of your head by jotting them down….

Is Resting as Beneficial as Sleeping?

Find out the difference between the two. There are times when you’re tired, but napping just isn’t an option. During these moments, you might wonder whether taking a quick rest—closing your eyes, putting your feet up, and clearing your mind for a couple of minutes—would be as beneficial. The short answer: not quite. But it’s a good second choice. The Perks of a Rest Sometimes referred to as quiet wakefulness, resting with your eyes closed can calm your mind, give at least some of your neurons a break (since you’re not actively thinking or concentrating on something), and let your muscles and organs relax. It can also reduce stress, improve your mood, and increase alertness, mental…

How to Relax

Stress doesn’t have to rule your life—learn how to let it go. In a hyper-connected world, where you’re always trying to fit in one more thing, slowing down and relaxing can seem like the one thing your smartphone can’t do for you. But it’s important to remember to take some calming “me time” every day. How come? Anxiety fires up your sympathetic nervous system, speeding your breathing and heart rate, increasing your blood pressure, tensing your muscles, and pumping stress hormones into your blood stream. Your brain is sharp and laser-focused. For better or worse, you’re ready for action. At times, this fight-or-flight response is healthy and necessary—for instance, it helps you kick butt on that work…