6. Invoke the relaxation response
One study after another has demonstrated that progressive muscle relaxation and meditation will block the chemical effects of stress, anxiety, and 24/7 living on your brain—even rebalance your neurochemistry. And practiced right before bed, that often means a night of deep, restorative sleep. Here’s the four-step method pioneered by Herbert Benson, MD, a cardiologist who heads the Mind/Body Medical Institute in Boston.
Choose a word that has deep personal meaning for you such as “peace.”
Close your eyes and focus your attention on the word. Repeat it silently to yourself. When your attention wanders, as it will, gently bring it back to the word.
Take a deep breath and exhale. Begin to consciously relax each of your muscles from your face to your toes.
When you’re finished, continue to focus on your chosen word for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Then allow yourself to gently move into sleep.