Learn How To Channel Your Relaxation
If you’ve ever found yourself lying awake in bed, frustrated that you can’t sleep, good news! The answer may be as simple as a few breathing exercises.
Breathing exercises calm your nervous system, staving off insomnia and preparing your body for sleep. Even better, training your breath is just like any sort of exercise. The more you do it, the better you get at it. You’ll fall asleep faster at night. Also, you’ll be able to sleep in a noisy hotel room or plane. You’ll get less stressed during the day.
Armed with these breathing exercises, you’ll breathe better all day long, and peacefully drift off to sleep each night.
Breathing Exercises To Help You Fall Asleep Faster
Add one (or all) of these breathing exercises to your sound sleep routine at night. Except for the first two, all these exercises can be performed lying in bed on your back with your eyes closed.
1. Meditative breath:
Sit directly with your back and tuck your head slightly forward for a brief meditation before you get into your bed.
Lengthen your breaths gradually. Count to one for the first exhale. Then count on 2, then on 3, up to 5 Once you’ve exhaled your fifth, count five, start again with one. You keep your mind concentrated on your breath instead of anxiety by maintaining to this pattern.
For 10 minutes repeat this exercise.
2. Diaphragmatic breath:
Take five deep breaths, inhale for a count of three, then exhale for a count of three with one hand resting on your lower abdomen and the other on your chest. Clear your mind by focusing on how your hand rises and falls in line with your inhalations and exhalations.
3. 4-7-8 Relaxing breath:
First, position your tongue so that the tip rests behind your upper front teeth on that ridge of tissue. Keep it all over the exercise.
Exhale thoroughly through your mouth, sounding like a whoosh. Then close your mouth and inhale a count of four through your nose. Hold the breath for seven counts. Exhale through your mouth, make a whoosh sound again, but do it for eight counts this time. Repeat this three times more. If at first, you can’t hold your breath all the time, that’s all right. The ratio is important, so count more quickly until you can work your way up to slower breaths.
If you practice this for two months twice a day diligently, you will begin to fall asleep within a minute!
4. Lengthened breath:
When your body is stressed, taking in more air breathes faster. By breathing out longer than you breathe in, trick it into a state of relaxation.
Inhale for three counts, then exhale for six counts. Feel free to change the numbers you count, but compared to your inhalation, the idea is to have a prolonged exhalation. Slow, deep breathing like this, called pranayama breathing, resets your autonomous nervous system.
5. Alternating nostril breath:
When we get excited or nervous, there’s a reason we pant. Mouth breathing will stress your body, while nasal breathing will keep your body in a more relaxed and steady state.
Use this yoga breathing control technique known as Nadi Shodhana to adjust your nasal breathing. Sitting up, breathing in through one nostril while pushing your finger against it, gently blocking the other. Release your finger when you exhale and breathe through the other nostril, blocking the nostril opposite.
6. Visualizing breath:
Imagine the air traveling into your nose, through your whole body, and back out again as you inhale. Imagine traveling through all your muscles, all the way to your toes and fingers, before returning to your exhale.
It activates your parasympathetic system by focusing on your breathing, encouraging it to calm down, relax and lower your heart rate in preparation for sleep.
7. Humming bee breath:
You create a buzzing sound during this breathing exercise, known by yogis as “brahmari,” the Sanskrit word for bee.
Inhale through your nose deeply and slowly, then exhale as slowly, using your throat to make a sound of humming as you do. Close your ears with your index fingers as you exhale to actually increase the effect and focus on the buzz.
Try to practice one of the above seven breathing exercises for better sleep the next time you find it difficult to fall asleep. If you are still struggling, consider visiting your doctor to see if your insomnia or poor sleep is the underlying cause.