If you’re struggling to get a good 8 hours of sleep every night, but don’t want to resort to over-the-counter medicines, breathing exercises could be the perfect solution. These exercises require only a couple minutes of you time before heading to bed and you can try out multiple variations in a single night to find the one(s) that work the best. Lion Sourced have picked our top 5 breathing exercises which can all be seen below:
1. Exhale Twice
Our first breathing exercise is pretty straight forward, just exhale twice as much as you inhale for a few minutes, or as long as you can comfortably maintain this for. This will naturally slow down your breathing, loosen the muscles in your body and help you to relax, says Dr. Michael Gervais. The science behind this technique involves your brain understanding there is no immediate dangers around you, as it is essentially the opposite of what your body would do while in the fight or flight stage.
2. Intense Breathing
Take deep breaths that expand your diaphragm, hold for 4 seconds and then slowly exhale – Repeating this for 3-5 minutes offers hugely relaxing benefits that will help you to drift off. To get the most out of this breathing technique, try to remove all thoughts from your mind and focus on the inhaling and exhaling pattern.
3. Bee Breathing
While I would love to say this breathing technique isn’t QUITE as crazy as it sounds, I can’t. To start, close your mouth completely and take a deep inhale through your nose – Hold for a couple seconds and then whilst exhaling (Again, through your nose), hum deeply as if you were trying to imitate a bee. This does sound incredibly weird, but it is by far my favourite exercise on this list and really makes me feel sleepy.
4. Nostril Alternation
This one is pretty self-explanatory – Close your mouth and one nostril, inhale through the open nostril, then breathe out through the opposite one. If you can comfortably do this, continue for 4-5 minutes right before bed. There are some huge names from around the world using this breathing technique, including Hillary Clinton, who talks about this in great detail in her latest book release – She states this method helped her to combat anxiety that plagued her life.
5. Single Nostril Breathing
Similar to the exercise above, but without alternating after each inhale/exhale. As long as you haven’t got a stuffy nose, you can do this for a couple minutes per nostril. This will help to slow your heart rate, greatly aid your lungs and improve the overall cardiovascular functions within your body.
If none of the above techniques work for you, there are a handful of other ways you can drift off without the need to purchase medicine, such as lavender essential oils, calming music or even something as simple as an eye mask. Experiment with various products as long as it is safe to do so and allow yourself to get a good night’s sleep!