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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Relax Your Muscles

Long ago, I read a cure for insomnia.

Lie on a comfortable surface, and start at your toes: Flex, release. Flex, release. Do this several times until you can feel they've relaxed.

Then move up to the foot and ankle. Bend and flex in various directions, with a brief rest in between bouts. Now the calves: tense, relax. Tense, relax.

Keep moving up the body. (I always think of the old hymn, "Ezekiel and the Dry Bones": "Now the toe bone's connected to the foot bone. The foot bone's connected to the ankle bone..." Of course, we're interested in the muscles here, not the bones. But still.)

Finally, you'll find yourself flexing your jaw and your cheeks, and squeezing your eyelids shut--if you can stay awake that long!

But if you do it mid-day, or on the floor instead of in the bed, you might find it a relaxing alternative to strenuous exercise, or more challenging disciplines like yoga and tai chi.

Precede or follow this exercise by a hot bath and you really will be ready for sleep.

Or, at least, you'll be happier.

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