Recently I have had an overwhelming number of clients complaining of erratic sleep patterns, insomnia, stress, and anxiety, which is not surprising these days. Although my blogs usually focus on spiritual and energetic aspects of our lives, for this blog I want to share a way you can minimize your daily stress and drift off to a great night’s sleep.
Overall, we have become a race of shallow breathers. So many automated and technological advances in recent years have eliminated much of the physical work we used to do. This reduced physical activity has also minimized the deep breathing that went along with it. Many of us have substituted this reduction with alternatives such as walking, jogging, yoga, sports, or going to the gym to name a few. These activities briefly increase our oxygen intake, but what of those sedentary hours we spend working at our desks, watching tv, or even sleeping?
Take a minute and evaluate how many hours or minutes daily you spend exercising and breathing deeply. Now measure how many hours and minutes of the day you just breathe normally. Lastly, focus for a minute on how you breathe. Do you take a lung-filling breath each time, or just a cursory shallow inhale and exhale?
Most of us take an average of 12 to 20 breaths per minute. Periodically throughout the day, even while working at your desk or watching TV, take a few minutes to inhale very slowly and deeply through your nose for a count of 4, then exhale through your mouth for a count of 6. If your nose is stuffy, inhaling through your mouth is fine. This effortless process oxygenates and recharges your body, releases physical, mental, and emotional stress, slows your heartbeat, lowers or stabilizes blood pressure, and increases cognitive clarity.
This easy breathing technique coupled with the position outlined below can also reduce that ‘can’t get comfortable,’ ‘can’t turn the brain off’ insomnia, and need a good night’s sleep syndrome we all struggle with sometimes. Unless you have medical reasons not to, try the following technique without a pillow (the sleep-inducing inhale/exhale count is slightly greater than that used in the daily ‘at your desk’ breathing method):
- Like you did as a baby, lie flat on your back with your arms to the sides, as shown in the picture above. If it feels more comfortable, you can bend one leg to the side (like the tree pose in yoga) and turn your head slightly to the side – like that cute sleeping baby in the picture.
- Close your eyes and breath in slowly and deeply while you mentally count to 8. You should feel your lungs filling to capacity and your diaphragm lifting. Slowly exhale for a count of 10.
- Continue breathing deeply and focus only on your counting and the sensation of your lungs expanding and contracting. As long as you’re in a comfortable position and you don’t allow your mind to wander, you should drift off to sleep within minutes.
- You will automatically revert to your normal breathing pattern once you fall asleep.
If you need to modify the position slightly from what I have recommended, feel free to do so. For optimum oxygen intake though, you still want to initially be positioned on your back, just like you slept as an infant.
Enjoy your great night’s sleep!
P.S. For an additional quick tension release throughout the day, and especially when you first get up and before bedtime, put your arms up over your head and really stretch your body to the max, like you’re reaching for the stars, hold for ten seconds, then lower your arms. Repeat two more times.
Clairvoyant, Medium, Author, Speaker
Disclaimer: This is not to be used in place of a medical professional’s opinion. If you have any ongoing health concerns please consult your healthcare provider prior to trying.