Once in a Blue Moon I sometimes like to talk about the importance of rest and sleep.
But what if you have difficulties falling asleep?
Like I sometimes do, although I find that usually only happens if I am either too excited or too stressed and my brain is working overtime. (I also find that such times is a great time to get out a notepad and work on poetry - like my 2015 book "Dreaming of Zen Archery", available on Kobo, Chapters and Indigo.)
Anywho, back to the matter of sleeping there is a breathing technique which can help you to fall asleep. Some people claim to have tried it and that it helped them to fall asleep in less than 60 seconds.
Side benefits of being able to sleep more often is that is slows down aging, improves your odds at weight loss, is positive for mental health, reduces health, improves cognitive reasoning and a slew of other benefits.
To test this theory I am going to have an afternoon nap and see if it works. Scroll below to see if it worked.
So what do you do?
Step #1 - Breathe in through your nose for four seconds.
Step #2 - Hold for seven seconds.
Step #3 - Breathe out slowly through your mouth for eight seconds.
Step #4 - Repeat steps 1 to 3 until you fall asleep.
This breathing method of falling asleep was pioneered by Harvard-educated Doctor Andrew Weil who studies meditation, breathing and relaxation exercises and it supposedly works because it lets oxygen better fill your lungs, calms your mind and relaxes muscles. The process releases certain hormonal chemicals that soothes your brain and induces sleep. When we are stressed our endocrine system releases adrenaline, which makes people feel excited and unable to sleep. The breathing technique supposedly counteracts the adrenaline and forces your heart rate to relax so you can sleep.
So does it work???
Well, I have a mixed review. I did fall asleep and have a nap (and was wise enough to set my alarm on my cellphone to wake my up at 3:30), however by the time I fell asleep I had given up doing the whole 4 seconds, 7 seconds, 8 seconds counting thing. The breathing / counting was too distracting in my opinion and I opted for breathe in - hold breath, and breathe out slowly. That did work for me even if the counting did not.
I was even having a nice little dream when I was rudely woken up by my cellphone's alarm.
So it does work, kind of. I may have to try it again in the future to see if the counting actually helps or if I am better off just working on the deep breath - hold - slowly release thing that I was eventually doing.
We can't all sleep like kittens and babies, but with practice maybe we can learn how to fall asleep using a deep breathing cycle.
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