Sleep: The 10-second exercise before bed that gets you to sleep in ‘5 minutes or less’

Numerous obstacles often get in the way of a good night’s sleep. Perhaps you are having a hard time calming down a busy mind. Fortunately, it’s easier than it sounds to reset your biological clock—you just need to be equipped with the right tools.

In fact, simple facial exercises can help you fall asleep in “five minutes or less,” said Leva Kubiliute, a wellness psychologist at oliolusso.com.

Ms. Kubiliute turned to progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) techniques to ease the sleep process.

“PMR focuses on relaxing the body by relaxing deep muscles and relieving all the tension that prevents peaceful sleep,” explained the wellness psychologist.

To begin the exercise, you need to tense the muscles in your face by raising your eyebrows for about five to 10 seconds while breathing slowly and shallowly, Ms. Kubiliute said.

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Then you:

  • Release the tension in your face and relax all your muscles while you smile.
  • Drop your shoulders, hands, and neck into a comfortable position to relieve all tension.
  • Relax your lower body in a downward motion as you go through long, deep strokes.
  • breathe in and out slowly.
  • Visualize yourself in a calm or relaxed state with your eyes closed and after clearing all disturbing thoughts.

How specifically does PMR help?

“Progressive muscle relaxation is a relaxation exercise in which you systematically tense and then systematically relax every muscle group in your body,” explained Phil Gehrman, PhD, assistant professor of clinical psychology at Penn Medicine and clinical director of the Behavioral Medicine Program of Penn Medicine Sleep at the Penn Sleep Center in Philadelphia.

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“It helps promote general physical relaxation, which has a number of benefits on its own.”

speaking to daily healthProfessor Gehrman said that progressive muscle relaxation can help relieve insomnia in two ways.

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Ms. Kubiliute also touted the “military method” to address her sleep problems.

“This is one of the most effective sleep methods anyone can try,” said the wellness expert.

She continued, “It’s widely used by the military and others in tight schedules or noisy places to get a quick rest.”

First, get into a comfortable position and relax all your muscles, including those in your face, Ms. Kubiliute said.

“Calm down your inner self by letting your shoulders and hands drop; this relieves unnecessary tension,” she explained.

You then relax your chest, legs, calves and stomach, the wellness expert said.

“Try to avoid thinking about anything or clear all thoughts from your brain; phrases like don’t think can help you stop thinking.”

Finally, “close your eyes and enjoy your restful sleep,” added Ms. Kubiliute.

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