Breathing exercises can reduce stress and anxiety and aid in bedtime relaxation. All the following breathing techniques may be performed on your own to help calm your body and mind and facilitate sleep.
1. Diaphragmatic Respiration
The diaphragm is the huge muscle at the base of your lungs that is responsible for breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing causes a negative pressure in the pleural cavity, which is the area between the lungs’ linings. When this pressure is negative, it improves blood flow to the heart, slowing the heart rate and promoting a sense of peace and relaxation.
Here are the steps:
Focus on your stomach. To begin diaphragmatic breathing, concentrate on breathing into the abdomen instead of the chest. It may be useful to place your palm on your stomach so that you can feel its rising and falling. This may be performed by laying down or sitting up.
Before releasing, please take a deep breath and hold it for a few seconds. Imagine the air continually entering your belly and exiting your airways.
Slowly iterate. Continue this pattern for five to ten minutes, or as long as it takes to feel sleepy.
This exercise also reduces somatic tension, the bodily manifestations of worry that may disrupt sleep. This might include a rapid heart rate, heavy breathing, and stress sensations, which are signs of an anxiety or panic attack. You can use a sleep inhaler to ease these effects.
2. Imagery of Breathing
Visualization of breathing is extremely effective for calming the mind. This practice does not need you to alter your breathing actively; rather, you will alter your thinking in connection to your breathing:
Lie down on your back and concentrate only on the calming sensation of exhaling.
Each time you exhale, be conscious of your body weight pushing on your mattress and the sensation of your mattress supporting you.
Become more conscious of the feelings in your body and the mental slowdown that occurs with each exhalation.
Next, see your exhales as different colors. What hues would you observe?
This is a very efficient approach to using the breath to redirect your thoughts away from their regular catastrophizing and onto your steady breathing.
3. 4-7-8 Respiration
According to some medical professionals, the 4-7-8 breathing method includes inhaling for 4 seconds, holding your breath for 7 seconds, and expelling for 8 seconds.
Here are the steps:
Inhale through your nose as you count to four. Weil recommends placing the tongue on the roof of the mouth, right below the upper front teeth.
Then, hold your breath for seven counts. If you believe seven seconds is too lengthy, you may reduce it in half while maintaining the 4:7:8 ratio. You may inhale for two seconds, hold your breath for three and a half, then exhale for four.
Finally, exhale via the lips for eight counts. Make a whooshing sound as you exhale.
4-7-8 breathing is a kind of pranayama, the slow, controlled, deep breathing used in yoga and other eastern traditions. Pranayama breathing may reduce blood pressure and heart rate, promoting relaxation and facilitating falling asleep.
4. Visualization for Energy Release
When attempting to fall asleep, it is beneficial to do movements that calm both the mind and body. This is a method for releasing energy and preparing for sleep. You may add additional visualization to the breathing imagery we’ve just explored to help you relax. 4 To use this approach, please follow the procedures listed below.
Imagine that the worry, tension, or anxiety inside you is a colorful gas filling your whole body.
As you exhale, this colorful gas is evacuated from every region of your body, and as it departs, you begin to feel relaxed. Imagine it going from your lower body to your torso and forming a ball in preparation for expulsion.
Imagine that the same energy is now being sucked from your brain into the energy ball. Feel that peace has permeated all locations where the energy has departed.
Imagine that the energy ball includes all your bad emotions, such as worry and dread. Imagine it blasting out of your mind and into the atmosphere as if it were a shooting star.
Slow, deep breaths quiet the mind and body, making it easier to go asleep and remain asleep. These breathing exercises are an excellent starting point. You may do these just before bed or when you awaken throughout the night. You may also do these daily exercises to relax and calm yourself. In addition, you may like to experiment with one of the several styles of meditation to create even more relaxation throughout the day. Daily stress with breathing exercises or meditation can reduce your cortisol levels, facilitating sleep.