When you are stressed, it may be difficult to fall asleep at times. Your mind is racing and worry blankets your body — making it impossible to relax enough to drift off. Having anxiety can cause those sleepless nights of insomnia to be worse. You can purchase sleep aides, but if you want to save a few dollars, you can also try breathing exercises. For example, you could do one of the techniques developed by Dr. Andrew Weil, founder of the Arizona Centre for Integrative Medicine. He has coined a few breathing methods that may help with relaxation. However, you can find many others by searching online — like the one in this article.
The instructions below will guide you through a mindfulness breathing process, which should — if done correctly — help you not only put an end to your insomnia but also help release yourself from the grips of anxiety.
Get comfortable. You can lay down or sit in a chair. Then, close your eyes.
Focus on your breathing. With your mouth closed, allow air to flow in and out your nostrils. If you are congested, it is okay to breathe through your mouth. Pay attention to how the air feels cooler on the inhale than on the warm exhale. Breathe in and out for a total of 10 cycles. Slow your breathing down as you do another 10 cycles.
Take notice to the air as it moves at the back of your throat and passes your tongue’s base. Concentrate on the feeling and alternating temperature. The breath may even tickle your tongue and throat in passing.
Deepen your inhales and do another set of 10. This time concentrate on the feeling of the air going into your lungs and out each time.
Focus on your lungs. Pay attention to the feeling of the lungs expanding as they fill up with air. Take notice of the rise of your rib cage or your stomach pushing out as you inhale. Then, as you exhale, notice how your diaphragm relaxes when the air pushes out. The movement of air going in and then out is called a tidal volume because the air rolls in and rushes out like a wave crashing on the beach. Stay focused on this movement of air for a final 10 times.
Once you finish the last set, you should feel relaxed. Your thoughts should have shifted down to first gear. It should be much easier to fall asleep after completing the exercise. If you find that it works for you, continue using it, or you could try to find others that can deliver the same results.