Sleep. It’s the sweet serenity you can always rely on at the end of the day. It’s the place you go to rejuvenate your mind and your body. It’s supposed to be a relaxing experience. However, for some people, sleep doesn’t always come that easy. Some toss, and some turn. Others just lie awake in their bed for hours upon hours. If you’ve ever felt like you can’t fall asleep, you’re not alone.
More than one-third of Americans don’t get enough sleep. That number is way too high. So how can you avoid staying awake all night? One potential solution is testing out some breathing techniques.
Not sure what those might be? Here are five sleep-inducing breathing techniques that can help you relax.
1. The 4-7-8 Technique
This requires about five steps, but it is well worth learning. It’s got science to back it up, and it’s easy to do once you’ve learned the steps. First, you need to place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth. Make sure it’s just above your teeth. Next, exhale completely. Do it until you hear yourself make a “whoosh” sound. Now, you want to close your mouth and inhale for a count of four. This may sound like a lot, but this breathing technique is completely worth a try.
After you’ve done this, you’ll want to count to seven. Then, make sure to exhale through your mouth (again, making the “whoosh” sound”) for a count of eight. Finally, inhale once more and repeat the cycle three more times. That’s it! If you memorize those steps, you’ll be falling asleep in no time!
2. Slow Your Breathing Down
It’s a fast-paced world you live in — but that doesn’t mean you should take this fast-paced activity and energy to bed. Your bed is your sacred space. Don’t let anyone or anything mess with the positive energy you create when you’re in your bed and trying to sleep. It’s your duty to slow down in your sacred space.
Slow breathing is something you can control. It’s the way you can relax. When you’re attempting to fall asleep, take long and deep breaths. It’ll relax your body and muscles. In turn, this will help your drift off to the Land of Nod.
3. Breath Counting
Have you ever counted sheep? This is a tad similar to that, but leave your inhibitions with this idea at the door. While counting sheep doesn’t seem to work all that well for falling asleep, breath counting is a fantastic way to center yourself and relax. The breathing itself is simple enough. First, you take a few deep breaths.
After a few of these deep breaths, let the breathing come to you naturally. Don’t think of controlling it. Instead, just let your body react in its own way. Once you’re breathing in a natural way, count one through five every time you exhale. When you reach five, begin the process all over again. It’s a technique that is meant to get you into a relaxed state of mind.
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4. Alternate Nostrils While Breathing
Yes, it sounds weird, but it’s a technique that is bound to help you drift off to sleep. The technique is easy to follow, too. You place a finger over one nostril and take a breath. Then, you take the finger and place it over your other nostril. Take a breath.
It’s one of the only techniques on this list that requires some movement — which you may think would hinder your sleep — but it’s worth trying out.
5. Meditative Breathing
This is like deep breathing — it just requires a little more mental energy when you’re practicing it. First, you want to start taking some deep, slow breaths. Once you begin these, try and feel the breath moving through your body.
In this concentration, you’ll feel your muscles begin to relax. Following the breath into the diaphragm and repeating the process should lead to a successful and restful sleep.
Sleeping is important if you intend to live a healthy life. It can also be one of the most enjoyable activities of the day. Make sure you’re treating your body and mind with respect, and try these techniques if you’re having trouble sleeping.
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