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Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Through PMR, you'll be able to quiet an anxious mind and fall asleep.


Progressive muscle relaxation is a holistic, anti-anxiety technique invented by Dr. Edmund Jacobson in the 1920s to ease his patient's perseverating: that's the brain swirl of worrying thoughts many of us get before bedtime, which can lead to insomnia. Through PMR, you'll be able to quiet an anxious mind and keep your cognitive reserves intact, as it will help you fall asleep.

Here are the steps:

1. Find a quiet place apart, free from distractions.

2. Lie down or recline, wearing comfortable clothing: nothing binding. Take off your glasses or contacts.

3. Take a few steady, deep, diaphragmatic breaths. Put one hand on your belly, the other on your chest. The belly hand should move out and away from your body when your stomach inflates. Your chest hand should not move.

4. Focus on each muscle group in the body, either from head to toe or toe to head, it's your choice.The point is you should squeeze each muscle group tightly for five full seconds before releasing the tension with a nice deep breath.

Muscle groups

1. Feet: curl your toes downward

2. Lower legs and feet: tighten your calf muscles by pulling toes towards you

3. Entire legs: squeeze your thigh muscles while still doing steps 1 and 2 above

4. Hands: clench your fists

5. Arms: tighten your biceps by bending your arm and making a muscle with a clenched fist

6. Buttocks: tighten by pulling your buttocks together

7. Stomach: suck in your stomach

8. Chest: taking a deep breath

9. Neck and shoulders: raise your shoulders up to touch your ears

10. Mouth: open your mouth as wide as it will go

11. Eyes: clench your eyelids shut as tightly as you can

12. Forehead: raise your eyebrows as far as you can


  • Goldman, R. (2017, May 2). What is Jacobson's Relaxation Technique?
  • Neeru, D. C. K., Satapathy, S., & Dey, A. B. (2015). Impact of Jacobson Progressive Muscle Relaxation (JPMR) and Deep Breathing Exercises on Anxiety, Psychological Distress and Quality of Sleep of Hospitalized Older Adults. Journal of Psychosocial Research, 10(2), 211‚Äì223.