Time for a good night’s sleep? Try this…

By: Bel Marra Health | Sleep | Thursday, February 18, 2016 - 08:00 AM

Breathing technique helps improve sleep

If tossing and turning is part of your nighttime routine and waking up tired is your reality, we have a simple solution for your sleep troubles. But before we reveal a quick and easy tip to get you making more “zzz’s” and less yawns, let’s talk a little bit about sleep.

Sleep is an integral part of our overall health. Sleep is a restorative state that recharges our body, reducing stress, forming memories, and allowing a temporary shutdown in order for our bodies to continue working their best.

There are numerous reasons as to why we have trouble sleeping, from stress to medical conditions like diabetes, to even sleep-specific conditions like sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome. Uncovering the underlying cause of your sleep troubles is wise, as you can really get to the root of the problem and work on improving it.

There are also many different ways to fix sleep problems. If you think you’ve tried them all, well, we may have one more for you to give a go.

Breathing technique helps improve sleep

Inhale your breath for a count of four second. Now hold it for a count of seven and release for a count of eight. This technique, known as the 4-7-8 breathing exercise, is commonly practiced in yoga as a means to promote relaxation. It was pioneered by Dr. Andrew Weil.

The breathing exercise is an effective means to promote sleep because it relaxes our body and our mind. Many of us harbor plenty of stress, and that is a common culprit to sleep deprivation. Furthermore, it is a simple technique that can be practiced anywhere in any position. Even if you’re watching television you can practice your 4-7-8 breathing exercise to begin promoting relaxation prior to bed.

Dr. Weil suggests performing the exercise at least twice daily for maximum relaxation, but feel free to use it whenever you get stressed or just need a short time out.

Not only will combating stress help you sleep better, but you will find that your overall health may improve as well. For example, your blood pressure numbers may go down, and maybe those daily nagging headaches will begin to subside, too. You have much to gain in reducing stress and little to lose. So once again, all together now, inhale and count to four in your head, hold for a count of seven, and exhale for eight. Starting to feel better yet?

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