You may already know that yoga can help reduce stress and anxiety, but did you know it can also help alleviate sleep problems? For people who snore or struggle with sleep apnea, incorporating a few key yoga breathing exercises can help you sleep better.
If you struggle with sleep, you already know how detrimental a poor night’s sleep can be to your mental, emotional and physical health. Incorporating these yoga breathing techniques is a safe, natural way to help you get a better night’s sleep and all of the restorative benefits a solid night of sleep provide.
These simple yoga breathing techniques will help you sleep and strengthen your diaphragm. A stronger diaphragm will help improve the oxygen flow throughout your body so you can sleep better. These breathing exercises will also help decrease your stress levels and calm your mind so you can fall asleep faster.
As an added bonus, proper, deep breathing helps your body release toxins and rid your body of substances that can cause imbalances within your system and rob you of the deep, restorative sleep you need for optimal health and wellbeing. By learning how to do these breathing exercises, you can gain greater control over your mind and your body so you can gain better control over your sleep.
These yoga breathing exercises are known as Pranayamas and here’s what they are and how to do them. Incorporate these three techniques into your daily routine and start on the journey to better sleep, a more balanced body and mind. You will enjoy the feeling of waking well rested and ready to face your ready. Here are the techniques and how to do them.
The name of this technique is taken from the words “kapal” which translates into skull and “bhati” which translates into shining or illuminating and is also known as the shining skull technique. Used to help cleanse the cranial sinus, lungs and organs contained within the skull, this technique utilizes forceful inhalations and exhalations to help improve the functioning of the cranial sinus and systems.
Here's how to perform Kapalbhati:
- Sit comfortably with your spine fully erect. Place your hands on your knees with your palms open and facing the sky.
- Take a long, deep inhalation.
- As you begin begin to exhale, focus on pulling your navel back toward your spine. Pull in as far as you can. As you begin are beginning your breathing practice, you can place you run right hand on your abdominal muscles to feel them contract and help you focus on controlling your muscles. The exhalation should be forceful, as if you are trying to push all the breath out of your body.
- When you begin to relax your abdomen and release your navel, the breath will automatically flow into the lungs.
- Perform 20 repetitions of the exercise to complete one round.
- After a round of 20 repetitions, sit quietly with your eyes closed and notice the way you feel and the sensations you experience.
- Repeat 2 more rounds of the exercise.
And here is a quick video you can follow to perform this exercise:
Not only will kapalbhati help improve your sleep, it will provide other benefits as well. This practice can:
- tone your abdomen
- calm your mind
- energize your central nervous system and brain.
This technique, also known as bellow’s breath, focuses on controlling the breath and making both your inhalations and exhalations equal in length. As you gain greater control over your breathing, you will not only learn to sync your inhalations and exhalations, you will start to take deeper and longer breaths that lead to deeper relaxation and greater benefits.
This technique helps energize the body and clear the mind and can help you sleep more peacefully.
Here's what you need to do to properly perform bhastrika:
- Sit tall and relax your shoulders. Take a few breaths in and out through your nose. With each inhale, expand your stomach as fully as you can.
- Using force, exhale through your nose for one second. Next, inhale forcefully for a full second.
- Continue to breathe in and out, using force, counting one second for each inhalation and each exhalation. Maintain an erect posture, keep your shoulders relaxed and focus on keeping your body still except for your belly which is rising and expanding fully with each breath.
- For the first cycle, repeat this breathing technique 10 times. After the first round, pause for a few seconds to take note of how you feel. Now, move on to the second cycle performing the technique 20 times. Again, pause to note the sensations you experience. Finally, perform 30 repetitions of the technique to complete the set. After the excise rounds are complete, notice how you feel and the way the experience calms and centers you.
While completely safe, some people feel a little light headed when first beginning their breathing practice. Should this happen to you, simply pause for a few moments and resume normal breathing. Once the discomfort subsides, you can resume the bellow’s breathing. As you progress and master your technique, begin to lengthen the time of your inhalations and exhalations to five to ten seconds each.
The following video will shows you how to perform Bhastrika Pranayama:
Also known as alternative nostril breathing, the technique is a powerful ally in the battle for better sleep. Literally translated, the term means clearing the channels of circulation and relaxes both the body and the mind.
Here's how to do perform Nadi Shodhana:
- Sit comfortably with your spine tall and your chest up and open.
- Place your left hand in your lap and your right hand in front of your face.
- Now, place the first and second fingers of the right hand between your eyebrows.
- Close your eyes and take a deep breath in and out.
- Using the right thumb, close off the right nostril and inhale and exhale through the left nostril, steadily and slowly.
- Now, use your right ring finger to close your left nostril so both nostrils are closed. Hold the inhale breath for a few beats.
- Next, release the right nostril and release the breath. Pause and inhale thought the right nostril.
- Now, close both nostrils and hold the inhale breath for a few beats.
- Open the left nostril, release the breath and pause at the end of the exhalation.
- Repeat steps 5-9 to complete 5-10 cycles. Each says one should take 30-40 seconds to complete. As you progress in your practice, lengthen the breaths and the pauses to five to ten beats per inhale and exhale.
And here is the video that will explain it in more detail:
These 3 exercises will help you calm and control your body and lead to a more restful sleep. Practice them daily and in the evening before bed to get more and better quality sleep safely and naturally.
In addition to these exercises, using a mouth guard during the sleep can help as well and there are lots of options to choose from today. If you do decide to try one out, make sure you have a look at this snoring mouth guard comparison. It can help you find the mouth guard that’s best for you.
What ever you do, begin incorporating these breathing techniques today for a better night’s sleep tonight.