Did you know that your body takes an average of 20,000 breaths a day? While it doesn't take much thought to remember to breathe, there are some surprising benefits when you take the time to intentionally practice deep breathing - especially when you are getting ready to sleep.
What is deep breathing?
Belly breathing, abdominal breathing, diaphragmatic breathing are all fancy words for deep breathing. Most commonly explained by deeply inhaling through the nose, filling your lungs, and then slowly releasing through your mouth.”
Taking deep breaths helps your body to exchange fresh oxygen with outgoing carbon dioxide in a more efficient manner. Becoming mindful of deep breathing
Benefits of deep breathing
Since breathing is so natural, requiring little to no thought from you, it can feel a little unnatural to practice deep breathing exercises. Putting even a little effort into deep breathing practices into your daily and nightly routine can bring some great benefits to your body and mind.
Shallow breathing, or chest breathing, can cause tension, anxiety, and an increase in heart rates/blood pressure. This, in part, is because the lungs do not get a full share of the oxygenated air that it needs to function properly. If you notice yourself getting short of breath, take a moment to just stop your activities and just breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, fully filling your lungs. Over a minute or so, you should start to get immediate relief, with a lower heart rate and more stabilized blood pressure.
Sleep is often a common reason people practice deep breathing when they climb into bed. This in part, helps to disengage your brain from distractions and help you relax.
Add deep breathing to your routine
Step 1: Start Small. Take 1-2 minutes when you climb into a bead to breathe deeply. Turn off all cellphones and lights and lay down. Beathe. Carefully listen to your body's motions and use the exhale to release all stress and negative thoughts.
Pro tip: Don’t try too hard. Silly as it seems, it may be making you tenser.
Step 2: Be consistent. If your current routine does not include deep breathing practices before bed, it can take 30-90 days to master Step 1.
Step 3: Make breath focus a daily and nightly practice
There are many different techniques and practices that you can incorporate into your daily routine to help you become more aware and intentional about your thoughts and breaths.
A few of our favorite ways to elicit relaxation and sleep:
- Mindful Meditation
- Tai Chi
- Guided imagery
No content on this site should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians. If you struggle to catch your breath, seek medical attention right away.