If you suffer from insomnia, you'll try almost anything to get that restorative sleep you desperately need. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 40 million people experience chronic, long-term sleep disorders. If you're one of those 40 million, you've likely tried numerous tactics, such as listening to white noise, drinking herbal tea, and wearing ear plugs and a sleep mask to lull you sleep. While these tools can help, there's one technique that can have an even greater effect and doesn't cost you a penny: breathing exercises.
Dr. Andrew Weil, famed holistic health medical physician states on his website, "Breathing strongly influences physiology and thought processes, including moods. By simply focusing your attention on your breathing, and without doing anything to change it, you can move in the direction of relaxation." Relaxation is the key to helping you fall asleep. How many nights has your racing mind kept you awake with worry and stressful thoughts? Stress makes you tense your muscles, clench your teeth and makes your breathing shallow, making it difficult to fall asleep. Luckily, there's an effective breathing technique called "The Relaxing Breath," that you can implement every night.
How's it done?
It's recommended that you do this breathing exercise while in a seated position, with your back straight.
Step 1: Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth just behind your top teeth.
Step 2: Exhale completely through your mouth (keeping your tongue behind your teeth)
Step 3: Close your mouth an inhale deeply through your nose for four seconds.
Step 4: Hold your breath for seven seconds
Step 5: exhale completely through your mouth for eight seconds
Step 6: Repeat the exercise again three more times.
The most beneficial aspect of this breathing exercise occurs when you're holding your breath; during this time, oxygen fills your lungs and circulates throughout your body, helping you to completely relax. The more you try this technique, the easier it'll become and the faster you'll be able to nod off to dream land.