Sleep is super important for overall health and well-being. It’s as important as good food, fresh air, sunshine, exercise, and managing your stress levels. Unfortunately, most of us do not prioritise sleep unless chronically deprived of it.
Quality over quantity
Although sleep might appear as a restful state, it’s actually one of the most dynamic phases. During our entire length of sleep, we go through four different cycles and rhythms. In each cycle, there is a different function happening inside our body. Some of the most important processes like repair, recovery, rejuvenation, detoxification, recycling, muscle growth, hormonal and sugar balance, growth in immunity occur during the deeper stages of sleep.
That’s why sleeping for an adequate number of hours is not the answer… getting a quality and deep sleep is the way to go. There are people who sleep for 5-6 hours but wake up with a spurt of energy.
Deeper cycle of sleep
A calm mind is one of the pre-requisites to go deeper into sleep. Most of us do nothing to break away from the day’s stress and prepare our body to sleep. Forget about getting into a deep sleep cycle; it’s nearly impossible to even take a nap in a stressful state. Breathing and infusing cells with oxygen is one of the most sought-after ways to prepare your body for sleep. A couple of deep breaths help your body enter the parasympathetic mode – a state of relaxation that’s conducive to sleep. Plus, the focus on breathing helps quieten the mind. A good indicator of a restful and restorative sleep is when you wake up feeling energetic the next day, and not when you wake up craving caffeine.
two breathing techniques for good sleep
6-6-12 breathing technique:
Sit comfortably with your back straight. You can even assume a cross-legged seated pose.
Slowly inhale with a count of 6 seconds.
Hold your breath for the next 6 seconds.
Exhale from your mouth slowly with a count of 12 seconds. When you exhale, it’s important to make a “whoosh” sound.
So, in short: 6 secs = inhale, 6 secs = hold, 12 secs = exhale.
Left nostril breathing:
Sit comfortably with your back straight.
Rest your left palm on your left knee, moving your right hand towards the nose.
Using the right thumb, close your right nostril.
Inhale slowly through your left nostril.
After a deep inhalation, hold the breath inside and close your left nostril with right ring finger.
Pause for a few seconds.
Release the right thumb; exhale slowly through right nostril.
After a complete exhalation, again close your right nostril with the right thumb while releasing the right ring finger on the left nostril. Repeat step 4, 5, 6.
Perform 20-25 cycles and then release the right hand to the right knee.
Ease back into normal breathing.