A good night’s sleep is essential to your physical, mental and emotional wellness. For most people, it’s difficult to live a full and happy life if you are not fully rejuvenated and rested each and every day. Unfortunately, a lot of people struggle to fall asleep at night. A lot of the sleeplessness we experience is due to anxiety, stress, and mental over stimulation.
That is why these five simple breathing techniques could change your life.
Five Simple breathing exercises to help you fall asleep
This is a zen breathing technique which you may have heard of before. In its basic form it is often prescribed for helping people calm themselves in times of anger. This is a slightly more advanced method than just “counting to ten”.
As with the technique above, you will use it before you climb into bed. Sit comfortably on the floor on your towel or mat. Straighten your spine and gently lean your head forwards. Closed your eyes and take a few deep breaths to connect yourself with your breath. Now allow your breath to come naturally without trying to force it in any way. It should be comfortable and natural.
To start, breath in normally through your nose. Then in your head count “one” as you exhale.
On the next breath, do the same, but count “two”. Continue until you reach “five” on your exhalation. The start again at “one”. Don’t be tempted to count higher than five, as your concentration will start to wander.
Repeat this a few times until you feel completely calm.
Because you are not going further than five, you start to lose track of how long you have been sitting calmly. This helps you to disconnect from stress because there is just enough focus (the counting) to occupy your mind which may otherwise try to wander. However, you are also not fixated on how far you have counted. Focusing on your breathing helps you to breath more fully and this is essential for relaxing your mind and feeding your body with the oxygen it needs.
The four-seven-eight breathing method
This popular breathing method is one that you can use when you are already lying in bed comfortably, preparing for sleep. However, it can also be useful during the day to calm youwhen you feel stressed. It is particularly helpful for those who suffer from mild panic attacks.
Start by exhaling fully through your mouth. You should make a whooshing sound.
Next place your tongue just behind your top teeth and inhale through your nose to the (mental) count of four.
Now hold your breath for a mental count of seven.
Then exhale through your mouth, to the count of eight.
That makes one complete breathing set. Repeat the process four times.
This is a calming and relaxing breathing method which has an effect on both your mental processes and your body. By physically slowing your body and optimising your breathing you are sending a signal to your brain that all is well. Your brain then produces less fight or flight hormones and allows you to shift into a “safe” and calm mode, which is optimum for sleep.
As with the method above, you are calming yourself and your mind by giving it several things it needs at once. The first is deep breathing and the oxygen supply that gives you. Often we forget to breathe deeply when we are under stress.
It also gives your mind a focus – the counting. This particular counting method helps you to feel more I control of yourself, because it requires more concentration. If you can control yourself and your breathing it makes it easier to control your reactions to the circumstances around you. Lastly it gives your mind an alternative thought process to focus on which is calming and non-threatening.
Left Nostril Breathing
This may sound like a strange method, but it is surprisingly effective for many people.
It works by activating the parasympathetic nervous system. The effect is calming and soothing.
While you are lying comfortably in bed, hold your right nostril closed with your right thumb. This will force you to breathe through your left nostril only. After a few short minutes your whole body will relax and your mind will calm. Keep it up for as long as you comfortably can, or until you fall asleep.
This method may seem strange, and yet it is unusually calming and effective for most people. It forces your body and mind to focus on the breath entering and leaving your body.
Belly Breathing (Yoga Breaths)
This is a breathing technique which you can use anywhere. Use it lying in bed to help you fall asleep, or use it during the day if you feel anxious. It will calm you down.
Find a quiet space where you can lie on your back. Take a deep breath in and out. Now take a deep breath and feel it filling your lungs. Place your hands on your belly and feel it “round” as you fill up with air. Breath out and feel your belly soften as the air empties out.
Breath slowly and allow the breath to fill your whole torso, not just your chest.
Take at least ten full breaths in and out. More if you feel you need them.
This method, also, focuses your attention on your breathing and helps to mobilize more oxygen to all parts of your body, including your brain.
I’m saving the best for the last. Go to the next page to read about the 5th technique to calm your brain down and fall asleep in a matter of minutes –
About the Author:
Emma Deangela is the best selling author of The Alkaline Diet Program and 80/20 Fat Loss. She has helped over tens of thousands of men and women to lose weight and transform their health with sound nutrition advice. Learn how you can lose weight fast – How to lose weight by adding these alkaline foods.
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