The western culture valorises busyness, high performance levels and pressure to achieve unrealistics standards is causing stress in persons of all ages. Stress and anxiety are the main causes of sleep issues.
Moona compiled a few breathing exercises and techniques to help you relieve yourself from your daily stress and improve your sleep quality.
The 4-7-8 exercise
The 4-7-8 breathing exercise is simple, efficient and can be done anywhere. Sit straight or lay on your back. Place the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth and keep it there during the entire exercise.
- Fully exhale through your mouth
- Close your mouth and inhale through your nose to a mental count of four
- Hold your breath for a count of seven
- Exhale completely through your mouth to a count of eight
- Repeat four times to eight times
Equal Time for Breathing in and Breathing Out
This technique is similar to the 4-7-8 exercise. It’s a simpler technique, more suited for beginners, but also involves controlling your breathing pace. To perform it, find a comfortable chair, or lay down on your back.
- Breathe in through your nose, counting to five
- Breathe out through your nose, counting to five
Abdominal Breathing Technique
While it’s preferable to do this exercise seated, it’s preferable to do it layed down on your back. This exercise can be done anywhere and it’s great to reduce anxiety and stress before sleeping or an exam.
- Place one hand in your chest and another in your belly
- Take a slow deep breath ensuring you diaphragm inflates your lungs with air. Try to not move your chest.
- Slowly exhale through your mouth
- Repeat 10 times
This is a complementary technique to the Abdominal Breathing Technique. While you perform the exercise, imagine that the air coming in is filled with a sense of peace and calm. Try to imagine it spreading through your body. When you breath out, imagine that the air leaves with your stress and anxiety.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation is a two-step process involving tensing and relaxing different muscle groups. Regular practice gives you a better body conscientiousness, allowing you to detect and relax a muscular tension as soon as it builds up.
- Take your shoes off and use comfortable clothing
- Breathe in and focus on your feet muscles and slowly tense them. Take a moment to perceive how it feels.
- Breathe out and slowly relax your feet muscles.
- Repeat this process for every muscle group of your body.