Usually, the number one symptom of stress people complain about is lack of sleep. For them, stress leads to a decrease in sleep, which makes them lethargic and fatigued and this, eventually, results in consequences both deadly and painful.
The problem is, when you sleep less because of stress, this eventually leads to you taking more stress and hence it gives birth to a vicious cycle that affects not only your physical health but makes you mentally and emotionally unstable as well.
Getting appropriate quantity of sleep is essential to our health and well-being. When we sleep, the time comes for our physical, mental and emotional selves to refurbish and heal through important biological and physiologic functions. Believe it or not, it is really vital for all this to happen when you sleep.
However, for those who can’t seem to find their beauty sleep, there is still hope.
Daily breathing exercises are an excellent means for refining your sleep cycle and getting a more uplifting rest. The way we breathe plays a great part in harmonizing our Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) which is involved of two systems regulating our stress or relaxation responses.
Most of us have become habitual to running on our stress response system on a day-to-day basis. We stay involved in activities well into the evening and then find it challenging to shut down. Years of this accustomed configuration gets up to us and results in chronic insomnia. Putting our mind to use the entire day ignites the stress response which discharges activity-based hormones. In this system, breathing patterns alter and another clash ensues. Poor breathing patterns stimulate stress response and stress affects poor breathing or respiratory function.
When we take a new pattern to our breath with yoga breathing to take less breaths per minute and guarantee deep diaphragmatic breathing with each inhale and exhale, we move from breathing that kindles fight or flight (the release of cortisol) to rest and reestablish (the release of serotonin to melatonin) and support the body’s natural state of homeostasis through the relaxation response. Concentrating on the breath also transports our mind into the present moment so we can assess the existing condition more precisely instead of mindless reactivity.
Another bit of a worry can be if you are having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or both. The body charts a natural cycle called the circadian rhythm. When disturbed, we start to experience various hormone imbalances that emerge during these hours. Particular yoga breathing techniques are not only a great instrument to improve endocrine function but many other physiologic purposes involved with proper rest.
Guided breathing is suggested for relaxation, stress management, anxiety, fatigue and a lack of physical energy; all symptoms and consequences of unfitting rest. It’s a wonderful tool to help you either fall asleep or fall back into sleep if you feel angst with anxiety.
Here are some useful hints for which yoga breathing techniques work best and how to incorporate them:
Practice this during the day following a pattern of 12 breaths or less. If the mind is very active in the evening, double the length of your exhale. For instance, inhale for a count of four and exhale for a count of eight.
ALTERNATE NOSTRIL BREATHING
This can be used as a tool for pre-sleep or if you are awoken during sleep. Inhale through the left nostril and exhale out the right for several rounds.
Try these breathing techniques at home. You will see a world of a difference in your sleep patterns.