Get better sleep with these breathing techniques

In order to have a productive day, we all need a good night’s sleep obviously. Sometimes it is so easy to fall asleep and stay asleep all night until the alarm clock goes off. When that happens, ideally every night, we get up as a rested person, with a more positive outlook for the coming day. But if we did not have a good sleep, tossed and turned all night, we start our day feeling tired, cranky, like a mad dog ready to bite any hand extended to us. Don’t we?

As you know very well, sleep is very important for a healthy body and a healthy life, and there is an abundance of tools and techniques presented to sleep deprived people to help them overcome this problem.

One of the easiest tools that could be tried to fix this problem is breathing… Using multiple breathing techniques, it is possible to improve the quality of your sleep. In this blog post, I would like to introduce to you two of those techniques.

The first one is; “Symmetrical Breathing”. As counting while breathing keeps unwanted thoughts from interfering with your sleep, this technique which is always helpful to calm us down in any situation is especially useful when practiced right before going to sleep while lying down on your back.

To practice Symmetrical Breathing; you place one hand on your chest and one hand on your abdomen. Inhale through your nose for a count of four, making sure that it is your belly that swells, not your chest. Then you exhale again through your nose for a count of four. If you feel the need, the inhalation and exhalation routines could be shortened to a count of three or extended to a count of five too. Following this, perform two or three normal breaths and return to the 4 x 4 breathing pattern. You can repeat five or six cycles before falling asleep.

The other breathing technique that I would like to mention today is; “Fractional breathing”. It is quite similar to the Symmetrical Breathing technique but this time, you will hold your breath. To practice it; inhale through your nose for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of four, and then exhale through your mouth for a count of four. Take two or three normal breaths and then start again to this 4 x 4 x 4 breathing pattern, until you fall asleep.

One last suggestion for the ones that wake up in the middle of the night and have difficulty going back to sleep; start counting backward from one thousand one by one, which also prevents the unwanted thoughts that keep you awake. I got this one from a dear friend of mine who is a medical doctor and I use it from time to time… All three options I have mentioned worked for me, I hope they help improve your sleep too. Night night 🙂

2 thoughts on “Get better sleep with these breathing techniques

  1. I installed the Pillow app on my Apple Watch at the weekend and my sleep quality (based on app settings, was around 40%). I knew I slept poorly but those stats surprised me (if they are accurate). Mostly it’s waking up and taking an age to drift back off. Will try these methods tonight and see what happens tomorrow. Thanks for the tips!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much for your feedback. I have mentioned another breathing technique which helps with sleep (in addition to anxiety) in my “Breath, just breath” blog post from December 19 if you would like to take a look…

      Like

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