Some people find it hard to fall asleep. Those people are not alone in that insomnia is a common sleep disorder affecting nearly one third of American adults. A smaller percentage of those experience chronic, frequent, sleeping problems. Lives are getting busier, more fast-paced and filled with stresses people are not even noticing until they are so exhausted they break down. Breathing better can help people feel better. Learn some tips to get started on feeling better and sleeping more.
Things to Remember
There are many breathing exercises to learn when it comes to relaxation and falling asleep. It is a good idea to close your eyes to help shut out distractions. Some of the following exercises are a great way to incorporate some breathing exercises to help you sleep.
- Bhramari pranayama breathing exercise: if you practice this, it can help you find sleep easier. Start by closing your eyes and breathing deeply in and out. Cover your ears with your hands, then place your index fingers one above each eyebrow and rest your fingers over your eyes. Put pressure on the sides of your nose and focus on the brow area. Keep your mouth closed and breathe out slowly through your nose, making the humming ‘Om’ sound. Repeat five times.
- Alternate nasal breathing exercise: this alternate nasal breathing exercise can reduce stress, enhance a feeling of calm, and support sleep. Start by sitting cross-legged in a quiet space. Place your left hand on your knee and right thumb against the nose. Exhale and close the right nostril. Inhale through the left nostril, open the right nostril, and exhale, while closing the left. Continue this for 5 minutes, finishing with exhalation through the left nostril.
- Kapalbhati breathing: pursed lip breathing involves four main steps. Start with breathing in deeply through your nose, pucker your lips, exhale 3 times slowly, then repeat until you feel calm and sleepy. Doing deep breathing work can support a restful posture that makes you aligned for better sleep.
The overall takeaway from doing breathing exercises is that you have to slow down, nay stop, to do them. You cannot breathe slowly while running. No matter which type of breathing you practice, the evidence suggests it can help relax the body and mind enough to support better sleep. It is always good to discuss sleep or anxiety or worry issues with a treating physician who can support your health challenges if you find it hard to sleep. They may be able to address other underlying causes that relate to sleep issues and insomnia.
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