Relaxation techniques to help you sleep
Having trouble getting to sleep?
Written by spunout
Fact checked by experts and reviewed by young people.
Because of our modern lifestyles, most of us don’t get enough sleep and are in fact, sleep deprived. There are many things we can do to improve our sleep, but some of them are simply small changes of mind that can make a big difference.
How can I improve my sleep?
- Identify how much time you need to sleep at night, and make sure you schedule enough time to get that sleep.
- If there are things that are preventing you from going to bed, consider if those things are really more important than getting sleep and looking after your health. For example, could you skip that last half hour of watching TV or wait until tomorrow to play the next level of that video game?
- Make the most of the feeling you get when you’re well rested when you wake up. Realise how good that feeling is and use it to motivate you to stick to your healthy sleep pattern.
- Work on reducing your stress levels. For more advice on this, check out our article here.
- Park your worries by writing them down and refocus your awareness and attention on soothing activities that make you feel happy and relaxed.
- Focus on your breathing and imagine you’re in a very peaceful and relaxing setting. Begin relaxing every part of your body, starting with your feet and moving up.
Try this relaxation technique to help soothe you:
- Imagine you’re in a very peaceful and relaxing setting.
- Focus on your breathing.
- Tense your muscles as you inhale and relax as you exhale.
- Start with your toes: inhale – tense your feet – hold the tension and exhale slowly – relaxing the feet as you exhale.
- Inhale – tense the feet and lower legs – hold the tension for five seconds – exhaling slowly – relaxing the lower legs and calves as you exhale slowly.
- Continue until you’ve tensed and relaxed the whole body.
- Keep focused and try not to engage in any other thinking while you do the relaxation exercise.
This isn't working – what else can I try?
There are many things you can to do help with your sleep. Check out these 10 great ways to improve your sleep. If these still don't work, you should go to your doctor, who'll be able to discuss your options with you.