If you find yourself tossing and turning at night in bed, and struggle to sleep even though you feel tired, stress and anxiety may be disrupting your sleep.
Instead of forcing yourself to empty your mind through sheer will to achieve your goal of sleeping, try these breathing techniques to lower your heart rate and blood pressure, and will help you fall asleep too.
These exercises will help you to focus on your breathing so you can fall into a deep sleep.
As with all other habits, these relaxation exercises may take some getting used to.
You are encouraged to explore and find one that suits you the best.
Breathing exercises have been popular in calming one’s mind, helping one to sleep faster and better. If you exercise regularly, you should know that breathing from your diaphragm is more efficient than breathing from your chest.
Diaphragmatic breathing is also great for inducing a good night’s sleep — it engages your diaphragm which reduces stress and helps you to relax.
- Lie down in bed and close your eyes.
- Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach right below your rib cage.
- Breathe in through your nose – the hand on your stomach should rise while the hand on your chest should move as little as possible.
- Exhale through your mouth as you contract your abdominal muscles – the hand on your stomach should move down along with your stomach while the hand on your chest remains still.
This is a timed breathing exercise that is done before you go to bed, and requires you to hold your breath to regulate the speed of your breathing.
- Sit with your back straight.
- Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth right behind your upper teeth. Keep it there throughout the entire exercise.
- Inhale through your nose for four seconds.
- Hold your breath for seven seconds.
- Exhale through your mouth for eight seconds, making a ‘whooshing’ sound.
- Close your mouth and repeat the exercise for three more times.
No, you don’t need a million-dollar MRI machine. This exercise is about bringing awareness to different parts of your body and breathing to relax any tension. When we’ve had a long and stressful day, we may not know that our muscles have become tense, which prevents us from falling asleep. You don’t have to go to a massage parlour every time — try out this body scan technique first!
- Lie down in bed and breathe using either the diaphragmatic breathing or 4-7-8 breathing to relax.
- Focus on how the bed feels underneath you and how it is supporting your body.
- Starting from the top of your head and moving downwards, visualise each part of your body and see if you have any tense spots.
- Upon noticing a tense spot, focus on it as you exhale and relax. Visualise the tension leaving that spot as you exhale.
- Do this for the rest of your body parts and take your time.