Dr. Janet Kennedy suggests some sleep meditation and relaxation techniques.
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Hi, I'm Janet Kennedy. I'm a licensed clinical psychologist and sleep specialist in New York City. You can find out more about me and my work on my website, nycsleepdoctor.com. Relaxation is a skill and although it sounds like something we should be able to do easily, sometimes it takes some practice to get the hang of it. The basics of relaxation exercises always start with the breath and that's because slowing down your breathing quiets your body and it quiets your mind. It also gives you something to focus on away from your thought process. One good way to start learning how to do your belly breathing is by putting one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest. When you take a deep breath in, your belly should rise and the hand that is in your chest should not. If you prefer to do a guided relaxation exercise there are plenty of free downloads available on the web. You can put them on your ipod or your phone so that they are available when you need them. But the key to relaxation is practice, practice the breathing and practice the relaxation exercises when you are not stressed so that you can get the hang of it. Once your body learns to respond to the exercises with relaxation, they will be helpful in a pinch. You will be able to use them to relax when you are more stressed. It's important to remember that the goal of a relaxation exercise is not to fall asleep. You are trying to relax your body and quiet your thoughts. If you are doing relaxation exercises in the middle of the night when you can't sleep, don't get frustrated if you don't fall asleep by the end. Just enjoy the relaxation and the quiet you've achieved in your body and mind should help you get to sleep.