Approximately 10% to 15% of adults suffer from chronic insomnia. Both central and autonomic nervous system hyperarousal have been strongly implicated in the pathophysiology of insomnia, and, as such, relaxation techniques have been explored as treatment for insomnia for several decades. Relaxation training comprises a diverse group of practices (e.g., progressive muscle relaxation, diaphragmatic breathing) to reduce “somatic tension” or “intrusive thoughts.” When employed during pre-sleep periods, these therapies are thought to counteract the cognitive and physiologic mechanisms that initiate and perpetuate insomnia, and are recommended as “standard” treatment for insomnia by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).
Here are few breathing exercises for insomnia that you can try :
- 4-7-8 Breathing Technique – Inhale quietly through your nose for 4 seconds. Hole your breath for a count of 7. Exhale completely through the mouth for a count of 8.
- Alternate Nostril Breathing – Close the right nostril with your right thumb, and inhale through the left nostril for 4 seconds. Hold your breath for 4 seconds. Close the left nostril, and exhale through your right for 6 seconds.
- The Bellows Breath – Breathe in by inhaling deeply, filling your lungs with air. Once you inhale fully, exhale with great force making hissing sounds. One round of Bellows Breathing consists of 30 exhalations.