Sleep is essential for the relaxation of the body and mind. It helps us repair damaged cells and tissues. Sleep is a naturally recurring state. According to a survey, an adult should sleep at least 7-9 hours in a day. But this natural and easy process can become a tough task to achieve for some people. Our sedentary, imbalanced, and stress-bound life can be blamed for disturbing the normal functioning of a human body.
Are you unable to sleep?
Facing trouble in sleeping can be very frustrating and can lead to issues like low energy level, body ache, daytime fatigue, and irritability. Sleep deprivation is the result of a busy and stressed mind. Our thoughts, over-thinking, worries, and stress can make our mind frantic and the body tensed. These issues can lead to major sleep disorders like Insomnia and Obstructive Sleep Apnea. However, yoga can help resolve sleep issues and prepare you for a restful and restorative night.
Pranayama or breathing exercises for better sleep
Breathing practice can have an amazing impact our sleeping pattern and quality. With the help of Pranayama–a yogic practice of controlling the breath–you can start breathing consciously. Prana means breath, and yama means control. With the correct breathing technique, Pranayama relaxes the body, calms the mind, and regulates heart rate.
Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
This pranayama technique works by stimulating the brain waves, beta and alpha, that lead to a more balanced state. The process improves concentration, focus, and attention.
• Sit straight in a relaxed position and focus on your natural breathing process for a while.
• Now place the right thumb on the right nostril and forefinger and middle finger in between the eyebrows.
• Now close the right nostril and inhale from the left nostril. Before exhaling, hold the breath for a while. Then use the ring finger to close the left nostril and exhale from the right nostril.
• Then inhale from the right nostril, hold, and then exhale from the left. Do this process for 5-10 minutes.
Yogic Pranayama (Diaphragmatic Breathing)
This diaphragmatic and synchronized breathing exercise is a great way to boost physical performance, increase lung capacity, and improve circulation.
• Sit in a relaxing position keeping your shoulders slightly back and spine straight.
• Now put your left hand on the chest, and right hand on the belly.
• Take a few deep breaths and make sure to expand your belly.
• Now breathe slowly through your mouth and empty your lungs. Do it as long as you want.
Bhramari Pranayama (The Humming-Bee Breath Technique)
Another amazing breathing exercise, Bhramari Pranayama works well when you feel stressed, nervous, and anxious. This breathing technique calms the mind, relieves stress and anxiety, and relaxes the body.
• Sit straight at a quiet place, and start with the natural breathing process.
• Now close your mouth and seal your lips shut.
• Breathe in through the nostrils. As you breathe out, make a humming or “mmm” sound.
• The process should be slow and steady. Do it for 5 minutes.
Surya/Chandra Bhedana Pranayama (Left Nostril Breathing)
One of the easiest and most effective breathing techniques for inducing sleep as it stimulates parasympathetic nervous system and puts a calming and soothing effect on the body.
• Sit down in a comfortable position and close the right nostril with the right thumb.
• Now do both inhalation and exhalation through the left nostril.
• Practice slowly with closed eyes. Focus on the breath and continue for as long as you feel relaxed.
Perform these exercises just before bedtime for instant results. You can also try 4-7-8 Breathing Technique or 7-2-11 Meditative breathing technique, and Anulom Vilom.
Breath is the source of life, so breathe well to live well and of course, to sleep well.
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