There’s nothing worse than lying in bed unable to get to sleep. So whenever there’s a technique that promises to help you get to sleep faster, we’re all ears, especially if it’s something as simple as changing the way we breathe. “We know that the body, mind, and breath are all connected,” Peggy Lundquist of Gen X Mindfulness tells The List. “Understanding this can be used to our advantage because if we can bring about change in one of those pieces, change will inevitably come to the other two.”
Lundquist continued, “Often, we can’t get to sleep because our wandering, sometimes even hyper, mind keeps us awake, tossing and turning. But, if we change our breathing pattern in a deliberate way, we will encourage change in our overactive mind, as well.” Sophie Jaffe, a health and wellness expert, as well as founder and CEO of Philosophie, agrees: “Those few moments before you drift off to sleep can be deeply healing,” she tells The List, introducing us to two different breathing techniques: butterfly breath and the 4-7-8 breathing method.
Breathing techniques can work to calm the mind
According to Jaffe, the butterfly breathe technique is super simple and works to calm the mind. “You sit in a comfortable seated position and cross your arms over your chest, then begin to pat your hands on your shoulders and inhale, then look to the left as you exhale,” she explains to The List. “Inhale back at the center and exhale to your right,” she continues, adding that you should continue to repeat as necessary. If you’re a more visual person, Jaffe shared this adorable video of her son Leo demonstrating the technique.
The 4-7-8 breathing method, on the other hand, requires you to follow a few more steps. To begin, breathe out making a “whoosh sound”, then “close your mouth and inhale through your nose, counting to 4,” instructs Jaffe. “Hold your breath for seven seconds then exhale completely out your mouth for a total of 8 counts,” she continues, pointing out that you need to make a “whoosh sound” again before repeat the process four times. While it may seem odd at first, the more you do it, the more you’ll relax into it. Sweet dreams!
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