Many people face problems in sleeping at night. It is usually due to stress and anxiety from an excess amount of work or any personal issues. Consuming coffee post 7 PM can cause loss of sleep at night which in turn makes one feel sluggish during the day.
The main problem people face nowadays is even if they are fatigued it becomes impossible to get sleep. The question that comes to mind is there any way to fall asleep at such times? Of course, there is! Breathing Exercises for sleep.
At times like these, we should never undermine the lasting effects of some simple breathing exercises for sleep. Not only do the breathing exercises for sleep induce good quality and deep sleep, but it also makes us mentally alert, and it, in turn, makes us feel energetic and happy.
How does breathing exercises for sleep help?
Our brain uses approximately 20 percent of our oxygen intake. It uses three times as much oxygen as our muscles do. Voluntary breathing helps the brain to calm down as we concentrate on our breathing pattern.
The long and deep breaths help in oxygen supply to the brain. These help to stave off the unwanted negative effects and let our brains fall into a state of deep sleep.
Deep breathing exercises have been proven to increase the efficiency of attention and sensory processing. Regular practice of these exercises will help you attain clarity in your everyday life.
Relaxation techniques to fall asleep
- Diaphragmatic Breathing: This breathing is basically to strengthen the diaphragm and muscles. It is also known as belly breathing. It reduces the stress level and anxiety and helps to calm the racing mind and keeps all negative thoughts at bay.
- Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.
- Breathe in through your nose, pushing the air downwards, so that the stomach rises while your chest stays still.
- Purse your lips and hold your breath for a few seconds.
- Breathe out through your mouth and let your stomach sink in while your chest remains still. Do this every day to see the changes.
- Repeat this for 5 times at least, when you are about to sleep.
2. Meditative Breathing: It is the progressive lengthening of breaths. This exercise helps to bring control over your breath. Concentrating on your breath will divert you from any worries or frustrations and make you feel at ease.
- Take the first breath and count to one.
- For the next breath, count to two while breathing in. Progressively, count to five on your fifth breath and hold the breath for 5 seconds.
- Then, slowly breathe out. Repeat from one once again. Do it for a minute at least.
This will help your brain to focus on the breaths, and not on anxiety.
3. Visualizing Breathing: This breathing technique uses the power of visualization to attain peace of mind. While breathing, visualize how the breath is reaching to the different parts of your body- to your muscles, toes, fingertips. While breathing out, imagine that the breath is taking all your negative energy and emotions from all the parts and you are delivering it out of your system.
Doing this helps to calm down the parasympathetic nervous system.
4. 4-7-8 Breathing Technique: This helps to focus the mind on the regulation of breathing and helps to give attention to the present moment. It keeps all the worries away which come in mind while sleeping at night.
- Hold your breath and let out the air from your mouth making a whoosh sound.
- Breathe in while counting till four. Hold your breath to a count of seven.
- Breathe out from your mouth for a count of eight. Repeat this for 2 minutes.
5. Length and Breathing: Our exciting mind takes in fast and short breaths to compensate for energy loss. Relax your mind by taking long breaths. Breathe in and then breathe out for a longer time. You breathe in till a count to three, breathe out till a count to six.
This relaxation technique for sleep helps to calm down the autonomic nervous system.
6. Alternating Nostril Breath- This yoga exercise is known as kapalaBharti. This helps to relieve the stress and helps to improve cardiovascular function. It lowers the heart rate and promotes well-being.
- For this technique, sit down cross-legged with your back straight.
- Breathe in from one nostril while blocking the other nostril by your finger.
- Now, block this nostril and breathe out from the other nostril.
- Use your thumb and middle fingers of any of your preferred hands to do the actions. The idea is to use alternate nostrils to breathe in and breathe out as well.
Sleep Exercises for better mental health:
When we take deep breaths, the rise and fall movement of the diaphragm improves blood flow in the body. This increased blood flow results in higher energy levels. Sleep exercises also improve posture, as it brings attention to our physical self. This helps in a deep sleep. Due to shallow breathing, our lungs retain some of that carbon dioxide.
To get rid of it, the detoxification system starts working harder. Sleep exercises mostly stress on detoxifying the body by breathing out carbon dioxide. This form of purification improves the quality of sleep.
In today’s busy life, stress has become an important component. You must have noticed that many times you tend to clench your jaw unconsciously or tighten your shoulders. When we are stressed, our muscles tend to clench together. Sleep exercises or deep breathing exercises for sleep help to relax our muscles.
Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, you will notice that your muscles are relaxing bit by bit. Such a simple action as this for a few seconds makes a difference in our body. Imagine if we tried at least one breathing exercise for sleep daily, how much of a noticeable difference it would make in our overall mental and physical health?
We will start having clarity of thoughts and actions. We will be more patient than ever. This will improve our relationships. In short, we will lead a happier life.