Harvard Women's Health Watch

Relaxation techniques

You can't fall asleep or get back to sleep if your mind is racing or your muscles are tense. To calm the mind and relax the muscles, learn the relaxation techniques described below, and practice them for 15 or 20 minutes a day. You'll not only enjoy their many health benefits, you'll also establish a routine you can invoke when you wake up in the middle of the night.

Breath focus

The first step to practicing breath focus is to learn to breathe properly. Proper breathing goes by many names. You may have heard it called diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, or belly breathing. When you breathe deeply, the air coming in through your nose fully fills your lungs, and you will notice that your lower belly rises.

Diaphragmatic breathing is the foundation of breath focus, which is quite simple to do. Here's how:

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