With the pandemic into its second year, months of social distancing have shaken our daily routines, obliterated work-life boundaries, and brought ongoing uncertainty into our lives – with disastrous consequences for sleep. Recent studies worldwide prove that more people are losing their sleep due to the trauma and anxiety contributed to COVID-19. Some even have a term for it, such as “coronasomnia.” With new challenges thwarting our good night’s rest, we need new tools. Let’s take a close look at 3 easy breathing exercises for better sleep.
The consequences of sleep may seem insignificant at first. Still, over time our sleep deficit grows, and we find ourselves with mental, emotional, and physical afflictions that can compromise almost every other aspect of our lives. What can we do to restore some much-needed rest and give us back our daytime energy and vitality?
We’ve chronicled three easy breathing exercises that you can use anytime to calm yourself down and sleep better in no time.
4-7-8 Breathing Technique
The 4-7-8 breathing method is a natural and straightforward breathing exercise that helps people relax while replenishing oxygen.
To begin, position your tongue to rest behind your upper front teeth. Your tongue should stay that way the entire exercise. Now let your lips part and blow completely, making a breathy whooshing sound. With a pursed lip, inhale through your nose silently for four seconds. Hold your breath for seven seconds, making no sound and keeping the lips pursed. Exhale for eight seconds, making the same whooshing sound. Now, repeat 4-8 times.
Counting Your Breaths
Counting your breath is a very grounding practice that works wonders.
Begin with deep breathing in and out through your nose to establish a slow pattern of breath. Now, count every exhale from one to five. When you get to five, count back down to one. Keep repeating to count on each exhale. Don’t go past five, and if you get lost, start back at one. Continue until you are slumbering away.
The body scan technique prioritizes breathing and relaxes your muscles together.
To begin, lie down and take slow, deep breaths, scanning your body from head to toe in search of points of tension. If you find yourself tense in any spots, inhale deeply. Exhale slowly and visualize the stress leaving your body with each breath. Notice your body relaxing as you breathe. Repeat this process for any other tense muscles in your body.
Did any of these breathing exercises help you? Was there something I missed? I’d love to hear your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if you’d like to learn more sleep tips, check out 5 Sleep Harmful Foods That Cause Insomnia. Please be sure to also subscribe to the Heart & Soul Newsletter to receive more great tips straight to your inbox each Friday.