and more sleep experts are starting to turn towards new techniques as a
way to treat insomnia and other problems getting to sleep, as more
evidence is starting to show these problems to be purely mental and
related to an inability
to relax or let go of the stress from the
majority of these different techniques all fall under the treatment
method known as cognitive
behavioral therapy, which is a blanket
psychological term that involves getting a person to understand the
thoughts and emotions behind their behaviors.
The reason that this type of treatment is useful for people suffering
from insomnia is that it allows the individual to understand the
reasons behind their inability to fall asleep, and by understanding
these reasons, they can work
to make changes that will hopefully allow
them to fall asleep easier.
However, belly breathing and the many other meditative and relaxation
techniques now being used to treat sleeping problems are not
technically considered to be cognitive behavioral therapy by some
after understanding the reasons for a problem, in this case sleeping
problems caused by an inability to let go of stress, the next step in
cognitive behavioral therapy is to develop
techniques which can be used
to manage or treat the problem, and this is where belly breathing comes
all have the ability to breathe in through our bellies. In fact, it is
actually the most
natural and powerful type of breathing we can do, but
for some reason, most of us simply never do it.
breathing is a technique where you try to breathe in as slowly and as
deeply as possible until the air coming in
completely fills up your lungs.
you concentrate on pushing out your
belly when breathing
this way, you will actually see that it continually expands as you
This type of breathing is also referred to as diaphragmatic breathing
and is often performed by singers when warming up before a performance.
Although this particular type of breathing is known as diaphragmatic,
all types of breathing actually make use of the diaphragm. This type
just makes the most use of it.
The diaphragm is a strong muscle sheet that stretches between the chest
and the abdominal cavities and controls our breathing. When you breathe
in, the diaphragm contracts
downwards to create more room in the chest
so the lungs can fill with air. When you breathe out, the diaphragm
pushes back up and helps to expel air out of the lungs. Belly breathing
is all about getting the diaphragm to go as far
downwards as possible, allowing your lungs to fully fill
up with air.
One of the reasons that
this type of breathing is so helpful for treating sleeping problems is
that it requires you to focus
all of your attention on your breathing, thus clearing
your mind of all other distractions.
Still, the main reason that
abdominal breathing relaxes the body is entirely scientific. When
we breathe normally, only the top two-thirds or so of our lungs
are filled with oxygen. However, the lower part of our lungs contain a
huge number of small
blood vessels that help to carry oxygen to our
cells, but these bottom vessels are seldom utilized.
by using this breathing technique and fully filling the lungs with
oxygen, we can fully make use of all of the oxygen carrying blood
vessels in our lungs.
has the effect of slowing
down the heart
rate and reducing
blood pressure, as it doesn't need to pump as hard or
as much to carry the necessary oxygen to our cells because the
breathing makes our blood richer in oxygen. This means that each pump
carries much more oxygen throughout the body.
Another reason people often feel stressed out, anxious, or short of
breath is because they are breathing too quickly and this causes carbon
dioxide build up in the blood. However, belly breathing
total oxygen exchange, which means replacing all of the bad carbon
dioxide with fresh, clean oxygen.
All of these things have the effect of quickly calming down the body
and the mind, and are very useful in achieving the meditation like
state we experience right before going to sleep, so it's no wonder this
technique is starting to become so highly recommended as a way to
combat sleeping problems.
to Use Belly Breathing to Fall Asleep Easier
this technique to help you fall asleep is actually quite easy and
anyone can do it. Of course, like anything, it will get easier with
time as you get more used to it. The one thing you need to make sure to
do is to focus your mind
entirely on your breathing. Try to clear your
head of any distractions and simply concentrate on each breath in and
The first step is to wait until you are tired to go to bed. There's no
point in trying any relaxation technique if your body simply isn't
tired yet. Once in bed, lie on your back and focus on breathing in as
deeply as possible, making sure to breathe into your abdomen.
Breathe in through your nose until your lungs are totally full, and
then hold the breath for a moment before breathing out slowly,
When breathing out, purse your lips like you're whistling, making sure
you're breathing slowly and steadily, and letting your body relax into
the bed as you do so. Your out
breath should take twice as long as it
did to breathe in. Keep repeating this process of slowly breathing in
and out for at least a few minutes, or until you feel completely
relaxed and ready to sleep.
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