Insomnia or sleep deprivation is a problem suffered by many people around the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 40 million people suffer from long-term sleep-related problems for their whole life.
Things like bright lights, alarm clock, energy drinks, and caffeine are some of the culprits to act as a catalyst to disrupt our normal sleep cycle.
National Sleep Foundation has suggested that an adult should take at least eight hours of sleep a day to function effectively physically and mentally. People get so much frustrated because of insomnia. It can lead to a lot of psychological diseases and increased tantrum.
They sometimes are fed-up from the normal routine of constant medical treatment and psychiatric consultation. The answer to these problems is to try a few breathing exercises.
Breathing exercises works with your nervous system to get rid of restlessness by preparing your body to sleep. If you do these exercises regularly, your mind will be tuned to asleep faster at night. These exercises give you a way to take your stress out and drift into the valley of sleep peacefully.
You can leave your burdens of long work hours, emotionally exhausting situation, financial constraints and parenting burnout and can unwind the magic of peaceful sleep with the help of these breathing exercises.
Types of breathing exercise techniques that will help your sleep
So, without keeping you waiting for the fun part, let’s dive into practicing different types of breathing exercise techniques for sleep which are more effective than any sleep-inducing medicines and therapies.
1. Abdominal Breathing
As the name suggests, this type of breathing is done from your abdomen. Some of the below steps will make your understanding clear with the mechanism of this type of breathing:
- You have a lie down by keeping your legs straight and slightly separate from each other. Your arms should be at your side gently, your palms facing up and eyes closed.
- Put one hand on your stomach and the other on the chest.
- When you inhale, notice which hand is rising.
- Focus on filling your stomach instead of your lungs. You have to try to force your abdomen to rise.
- Make sure you focus on the sound of breath and relax slowly. Exhale from your mouth
- Continue the procedure for 5 to 10 minutes. It is recommended to be done once in a day. It is also useful when you are tense or anxious. The deep breath slows your heart rate and lets you drift into sleep.
2. Diaphragmatic Breathing Technique
This breathing exercise assists you to slow down your breathing and regulates your oxygen needs by adequately using it.
The essentials of diaphragmatic breathing techniques are:
- You can start by sitting comfortably on a chair. It can also be done by bending your knees over a pillow or lie on your back. Place your one hand on your stomach and the other on the chest.
- Take deep and slow breaths by making your stomach rise and fall with the flow of your breath. Breathe with squeezed lips
- You will gradually learn to breathe without moving your chest in and out.
3. Alternating nostril Breath
This yoga breathing technique focuses on transforming the mouth breathing to the nose. If you breathe from the mouth you will stress out yourself whereas the nasal breathing is a more natural and relaxed condition.
This breathing style is known as Nadi Shodhana. You have to sit up straight, block one of your nostrils and breathe from the other one. You can release your finger once you have exhaled. Repeat the same process with the other nostril.
It is a great way of preserving oxygen in your body. Studies have also concluded that the participants of this exercise were more relaxed and felt less stress after doing this breathing exercise.
4. 478 Exercise
478 Exercise technique is also called Weil’s Exercise and is considered extremely simple. You can learn it with just five steps. You are advised to sit with your back when you are doing this exercise but you can choose any position which comforts you.
It can be followed with the below simple steps:
- First, exhale all the air out entirely
- You have to inhale gently through your nose by counting four in your mind while keeping your mouth shut
- The next step is to count till seven by holding your breath
- Now you can exhale by counting to eight mentally
- This is one cycle of the exercise. You have to reprise it for four times at least to make it workable.
It is encouraged to hold your breath for a minimum of eight seconds which is a time where oxygen will fill your lungs and combine with the blood cells of the body. The result is a soothing effect on the body.
5. Figure Scan Technique
This technique allows you to fall asleep by scanning different organs of your body. You have to search for stress and tension points within yourself.
It can be achieved by doing the following simple steps:
- Comfortably lie down in your bed and exhale all the carbon dioxide from your body
- The main focus is on feeling everything. Start with the bed you are using. Imagine it in your mind while exhaling.
- Now, envision each part of your body starting from your head, shoulder, knees, and toes. As you are scanning through your body, concentrate on relaxing your muscles.
- As you finished releasing stress from your body, focus on inducing sleep by imagining yourself sleeping in your favorite settings.
- You will slowly drift away from the real world. The main concern is that you emphasize on your thoughts during the exercise and not falling in the trap of daily routine strains.
If you are suffering from insomnia, the key is to release the tension and stresses which makes you restless. You keep on thinking about silly things and negative thoughts which increases the strain on your mind.
These easy exercises will help relax your brain and soul. They might not work for the first couple of days as you will be distracted quite easily. With the passage of time, you will drift away in your fairy tales of dreams and not even know what’s happening around you.