Breathing exercises to sleep more soundlyBreathing exercises can help to reduce stress and anxiety and help you to relax at bedtime. The following seven breathing exercises can all be done easily on your own to help push the body and mind to relax and make sleeping easier.
- Abdominal breathing
Abdominal breathing refers to deep breathing into the stomach rather than shallow breathing in the chest. The following steps will ensure that you breathe from your diaphragm.
1. Lie with the legs straight and slightly apart. Hover your toes out, place your hand on your side gently, make sure the palms are facing up, and close your eyes.
2. Place one hand on your stomach and the other in your chest.
3. Pay attention to the most increased hands as you inhale.
4. If the hand on your chest rises the most while you inhale, focus on filling your stomach (the bottom of your lungs) full of air before you reach the top. An easy way to do this is to try and force your stomach to rise as you breathe. Over time, this will be easier.
When you breathe, be sure to inhale through your nose and then exhale through your mouth. Keep your face relaxed while you do this. Breathe in and out while counting to make sure that you breathe slowly. Relax and focus on your breath sounds.
Continue breathing like this for a period like 5 or 10 minutes. Practice the type of breathing regularly, such as once a day. Once you get better at getting involved in abdominal breathing in, practice it when you find yourself being anxious or tense.
This type of breathing is useful in that it helps to slow down various functions in your body that can keep you tense and anxious. Letting yourself to breathe deep will slow down your heart rate and make it easier to drift from sleep.
- Repeating spells
Once you master the abdominal respiratory art, you can add in spells that help you to focus on the relaxation aspect of your breath. Follow the steps below to add spells as you breathe.
1. Lie down and feel comfortable or sit in a relaxing position.
2. When you breathe deep into your stomach, say the phrase to yourself in your head like "Relaxation Inhale. "
3. Then, when you breathe out and release the air from your stomach, say "Exhale strain. "
Make sure to pause before you exhale and before you inhale. When you exhale, become aware of any tension in your body and let it go.
You can even use your imagination to picture your body receiving relaxation and releasing tension. Images of this experience as visual events like air moves in and out of your body.
Keep doing this for 5 to 10 minutes until you start feeling sleepy.
- 4-7-8 Respiratory Routine
4-7-8 breathing exercises are another way to relax so you can fall asleep. Follow the steps below to practice this type of breathing.
1. Sit with a straight back.
2. Place the tip of your tongue behind your upper front tooth and keep it there.
3. Exhale through your mouth and make a "whooshing " sound.
4. Shut your mouth and inhale through your nose for a count of four.
5. Hold this breath and count up to seven.
6. Then, exhale through your mouth while making the same "whoosh " sound and count to eight.
7. If you finish this cycle, you have done one breath. Now go back and do this again three times so that you have completed the cycle for four breaths in total.
It is important to note that when you breathe like this, you should inhale calmly but exhale while making the nose. Keep your tongue in the same place throughout the whole workout. Make sure that you maintain the time ratio to inhale/hold/breathed as this is what matters most.
If you want to do everything faster the first few times you do this (if you find to hold your breath to this long tough), feel free to modify your time and work your way as you get used to the exercises.
Breathing exercises like this twice a day (again, just doing four breaths at a time). Do this consistently for a month. As you grow more confident you can extend up to eight breaths. Now, when you find yourself unable to sleep, practice your breath of 4-7-8
- Scan the body
Have you heard of body scan techniques to help you relax and fall asleep? This technique involves scanning your body for a tension sign so you can cope with this and fall asleep. Follow the steps below to practice this technique.
1. Lay in bed and focus on relaxing as you exhale.
2. Feel the bed below you and how it supports you as you continue to exhale and relax.
3. Visualize each part of your body, starting from your head and moving through your entire body to find a place that feels tense. As you move through your body, exhale and focus on your tense muscles relaxed.
4. Once you are done looking for your whole body tension, focus on your exhales. When you exhale, repeat the mantra for yourself that helps to induce sleep as just the word "sleep" or any other gesture that helps you to start drifting off.
Follow this technique and you should find both mind and body start to relax. Before you know it, you'll be drifting asleep!
- Temporarily calculating breathing
Did you know that calculations can help you to fall asleep? Follow the advice below to help you calculate your way to a better night's sleep.
1. Lay in bed, focus on exhale and try your best to relax.
2. Feel the bed that supports you below when you exhale and relax.
3. Count from one to 10 and then rewind from 10 to one, but count the pairs with your exhales.
4. Keep repeating this sequence until you fall asleep.
There are many variations on this breath counting theme. For example, you can count down from 99 to help you fall asleep. See what's best for you and practice until you feel sleepy.
- Follow the rhythm of breathing
Focusing on your breathing rhythm is another way to help you fall asleep. The following step allows you to take advantage of this method of being relaxed at bedtime.
1. Lie on the bed and begin to focus on the relaxation you feel as you exhale your breath.
2. Feel your bed supports you when you step into a relaxing state as you exhale.
3. As you become more relaxed, focus you exhale and notice how you feel when you do it. Examples of sensations may include sinking into a bed, feeling slowing, feeling heavy, or even sometimes feeling like you have more patience.
4. When you become relaxed, start to imagine that your breath is composed of colors. Watch as you breathe in and out and see those colors that fit your breath. Don't force anything or try to put your own box around it just let yourself sneak into the experience and see what comes up in your mind.
- Focus only on your breath until you fall asleep
This may sound simple, but the imagery is a powerful way to relax and should always be considered useful when you engage in breathing exercises to help yourself slow down before bedtime.
- Visualization to release energy
When trying to fall asleep, it is helpful if you can practice exercises that help to relax both your mind and body. It is a way to repel energy and prepare for sleep. Building on the breathing image we've discussed, you can add more visualizations to help you relax. To practice this technique, follow the steps below.
1. Imagine that worries, stress, or anxiety in you are a colored gas and fills every corner of your body.
2. Imagine that when you exhale, this colored gas is being expelled from every part of your body and like the leaves, you start to relax. Imagine it's moving from your bottom body through your body and collecting in balls ready to be expelled.
3. Imagine now that the same energy is pulled from your head into the energy sphere. Feel that calm has entered all the areas where the energy has left.
4. Now, imagine that the energy ball contains all your negative energies like your anxiety and fears. Visualize it to shoot out from the top of your head and climb into the atmosphere like a shooting star.
5. Now, notice how you feel relaxed, calm, and ready to sleep.