Many people find it difficult to fall asleep - tossing and turning and mind-circling are some of the causes. Then autogenic training can help to calm the body and mind in order to fall asleep faster. We explain what it is and how you can easily try it yourself.
How autogenic training helps you fall asleep
Autogenic training is a relaxation technique developed by the German psychiatrist Johannes H. Schultz. It is based on autosuggestion, i.e. self-influencing, and is also considered a form of passive meditation or self-hypnosis. For this purpose, the subconscious is trained with certain so-called affirmations. These self-statements can have a real effect on our body if repeated several times. In this way, autogenic training helps to relax the muscles, regulate the respiratory rate and pulse, and calm the mind. By concentrating on one's own body, the focus also shifts to the present. For this reason, the method can reduce stress.
The effectiveness of autogenic training can not only be proven on the basis of many positive experiences, but also with the help of scientific studies. For example, a 2011 study by Primary Health Care Research and Development documented that such relaxation techniques can reduce sleep disorders, anxiety, and depression.
Because deep relaxation is aimed at, the method should not only ensure that we fall asleep quickly, but also that we sleep more restfully through the night. Furthermore, autogenic training potentially helps with headaches, high blood pressure, (psychosomatic) pain, irritable bowel syndrome and much more.
If you suffer from such a disease, always discuss with your doctor whether autogenic training is an option for you. In this case, it is also advisable to consult a professional coach - but you can also test autogenic training against problems falling asleep yourself.
This is how you can learn autogenic training to fall asleep
First of all, it is important to know that not everyone can learn autogenic training. On the one hand, the method does not seem to work equally well for everyone, and on the other hand you should only try it if you are mentally and physically stable. Otherwise, please consult your therapist or doctor for advice. Incidentally, there are also side effects: palpitations, tremors or slight nausea can occur, but usually disappear again quickly. If these conditions persist, it is better to stop the training - after all, it should improve your life and not impair it.
Autogenic training can be learned in special courses. The offer ranges from individual coaching to group sessions, sometimes even online, that teach relaxation exercises. Many health insurance companies contribute to the costs of such a course.
The first basics can also be easily learned at home. We will introduce you to the heavy and heat exercise - but you will also find further help in many guides, videos and books. When you start our exercises, please keep in mind that they are not intended as immediate help for sleeping problems. Instead, the complex method must be practiced and consolidated until it works properly.
These three exercises will help you relax
If you want to use autogenic training to help you fall asleep, it is best to prepare for it. For example, put your cell phone on silent and eliminate any distractions. If possible, create an atmosphere of relaxation and calm in your bedroom. Wear comfortable clothing and lie comfortably on your back in bed. Position your legs hip-width apart and place your hands next to you, palms up. If you want to fall asleep immediately afterwards, cover yourself with your climate-regulating duvet so that you are comfortably warm.
Autogenic training can help you let go of worries, stress and problems. Regular practice is necessary to master the relaxation exercises - so don't give up right away if the method doesn't work on the first try. However, the exercises do not last long and can easily be integrated into everyday life. During the application, repeat the relevant affirmations at least four times. That means you say them in your head or out loud with your voice.
Take a deep breath and close your eyes. Concentrate on breathing slowly and evenly. It can help to imagine a beautiful place. Then repeat the phrase “I am completely calm, calm and relaxed” a few times.
Notice how your body sinks into your mattress and is heavy. Focus on your dominant arm and think or say, "My right/left arm is getting heavy." Repeat this a few times. You can also visualize in your mind a weight pressing down on each limb. Then continue on the other arm, legs and whole body. The aim of this is to relax the muscles and bring you into a pleasant state of relaxation.
Similar to the weight exercise, walk along your body starting with your right or left arm - depending on whether you're right- or left-handed. This time the affirmation is: “My right/left arm is very warm.” As you repeat this, imagine the warm rays of the sun warming your body. The exercise gives you a feeling of warmth that can help you fall asleep.
With the help of autogenic training, you can reduce your stress level, do something good for your general health and fall asleep better. If you try these methods regularly, you can see a long-term improvement in your sleeping habits. Especially if the reason for your insomnia is circling thoughts, autogenic training will do you good to fall asleep. This allows you to relax - without any sleeping pills.