Relaxation is not a passive activity-it requires a combination of physical and mental techniques, and a determination to focus the entire body and mind.
Most people can, nevertheless, find a method of physical and mental relaxation that works for them. Many people find that taking a warm bath aids relaxation. This is usually most effective about a half-hour before bed. A warm milky drink, a chamomile tea, or a herbal infusion at bedtime can also be helpful. Some people listen to calming music while preparing for bed.
Visualization (or imagery) is another popular method of relaxing for sleep. This process involves conjuring up images that will promote positive feelings in general-a peaceful, restful place, for example-and empty the mind of troubled, distressing, or over-stimulating images. Because of its ability to reduce stress and aid in relaxation, visualization can be an effective aid to sleep.
Gentle muscle relaxation, deep breathing, meditation, or yoga exercises may help prepare you for sleep as well. These methods can require a little practice, but in time they may become a beneficial aid-not just to help you sleep, but also for your general well-being. Be sure to switch off your phone, so that callers do not interfere with the process of relaxation.
If you have little success with sleep-inducing techniques, however, do not remain in bed tossing and turning. It is better to get up and spend some time away from the bedroom, relaxing or listening to music, before trying to get to sleep again.
Watching television, reading a stimulating book, or taking a walk as a means of distraction when you cannot sleep may not be helpful, as such activities activate the mind and body and can inhibit relaxation, and thus sleep.
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