Recall my two posts, Sleep I (June 29, 2015) and Sleep II (July 8, 2015) and the dangers that await those who have not come to grips with getting a good night’s rest.
As we all know and, I’m sure, have experienced, it’s a hell of a job to fall a sleep when your mind is still mulling over things that have bothered you during the day. It is hard to push these thoughts away and relax into a restful sleep.
This is a STRESSFUL situation and results in the body’s release of cortisol (the stress hormone) into the blood stream, which is linked to an inability to fall asleep at night and a poor quality of rest.
According to Harvard educated wellness practitioner Dr. Andrew Weil, studies have shown that meditation and breathing can be used to counter stress. These techniques help to slow down your heart rate and release soothing chemicals in your brain, creating a natural tranquilizer effect. Since most of us are chronically stressed, the likelihood of benefitting from these techniques should not be ignored.
In order to reduce cortisol levels one must reduce one’s stress and relax. One of the best methods to accomplish this is to mediate and use breathing techniques.
Please take another look at the Meditation article I posted on May 28,2015.
OK, so what is this BREATING TECNIQUE we are talking about?
It’s called the “4-7-8 trick” and has been around for a very long time. Although it’s really not a trick, its something many of us might not know about. It’s a berating technique many yogis and monks use in their daily practice.
- Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds
- Hold that breath for 7 seconds
- Breathe out for 8 seconds
Do this a few times.
I was unaware of its sleep promoting properties, and still use this technique while I take my daily walk. No I haven’t fallen asleep on a park bench yet.
You can breathe out through your mouth, but I suggest breathing out through your nose. Look at my article on breathing, June 3, 2015.
When I use this technique while walking I do what’s called a cleansing breath when I breathe out for 8 seconds, where I pucker my lips and slowly but forcefully exhale; just a note in passing.
Since sleep is an incredibly important part of our lives that we must take care of, making sure we take the time to figure out our sleep and de-stress is of utmost importance. Please don’t ignore this. Cumulative sleep debt has been linked to a decrease in the brain and cognitive functions, mood swings, poor muscle and body recovery and more.
I wish you all a calm and restful sleep.