Do you have trouble getting sleep despite the fact that you are tired? Sleeping well is an art. It needs a perfect blend of healthy habits and control of mind. A clean body and mind, relaxed mood, physical exercises, and perfect dietary control are some of the basic sleep-inducing methods. However, one of the best ways to bring the body into its relaxed state is – BREATHING! How do breathing techniques for better sleep work? Let’s find out!
Breathing Techniques For Better Sleep
Breathing deeply has been proven to affect the heart, the brain, digestion, the immune system and even the expression of genes. Research has shown that breathing exercises like Pranayama can have immediate effects by altering the pH of the blood, or changing blood pressure. But, more importantly, they can be used as a method to train the body’s reaction to stressful situations and dampen the production of harmful stress hormones and help induce sleep.
Here are 2 important breathing methods to calm the mind and induce sleep naturally.
1. The 4-7-8 Technique
How To Do It?
This process is recommended by Dr. Andrew Weil, a practitioner and teacher of integrative medicine for the last thirty years. To do this exercise, sit up in bed with your back straight or lie down on a straight back and press the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth right behind your front teeth. Maintaining that position, close your mouth and inhale through your nose for four counts, hold that breath for seven counts, and then exhale through your mouth around your tongue for eight counts. Repeat this pattern until you have completed four full breaths.
How It Works?
The 4-7-8 breathing technique is effective because it encourages the fast removal of carbon dioxide. Doing so equates into a better preservation of the bicarbonate pool; our reservoirs for helping maintain an appropriate pH balance. Also, it allows the lungs to become fully charged with air, allowing more oxygen into the body, which promotes a state of calm.
2. Left Nostril Breathing
How To Do It?
Simply take your right hand and with your fingers outstretched, block off your right nostril by putting gentle pressure on it with your right thumb. Be sure to keep the rest of your fingers straight and pointing up. With a long, slow, deep breath, gently inhale through your left nostril. Then, just as gently, exhale long, slowly and completely, again through the left nostril. Do this for at least 3 minutes; chances are you might doze of even before that!
How It Works?
When we’re under stress or feeling anxious, we tend to breathe mostly out of our right nostril, which is connected to our left brain. This activates our sympathetic nervous system, the channel responsible for the classic stress response – dilated pupils, increased core temperature, sweating, and increased heart rate and blood pressure. And when we start breathing through the left nostril the parasympathetic system gets activated which slows us down and helps our body automatically run its day to day jobs of digestion, elimination, sleep cycles and more.
Apart from these 2 breathing techniques for better sleep, you can also try meditation or mindfulness by just observing your breath as it goes in and as it comes out. Connecting with this rise and fall of the breath, and noticing where you feel that breath move within the body can help you begin the process of relaxing tense muscles and create a coherent heart pattern which brings an instant state of tranquil and helps you drift off to peaceful deep sleep.
We hope this article helps you sleep better! Do you meditate before you go to bed? What helps you sleep better? Leave your thoughts in the comments below! For more articles on sleep, check out Healthy Reads or you can get tips directly from a GOQii Coach by subscribing for Personalised Health Coaching here.