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Calm Breathing

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Welcome back to Day Two of our seven day Sleep Challenge. I hope yesterday went well for you. And if not, we have another opportunity today. In this session, we're going to explore the positive impact of deep breathing to help us fall asleep. Now I'm first going to share why deep breathing can be useful, but then I'll share a particular strategy that we'll be practicing in today's meditation that I find to be the most useful.

So to begin, deep breathing is useful because it engages the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the part of our nervous system that helps us relax, that reminds our mind and body that we're safe, that this is a time for rest, restoration, being at ease. It helps calm down that excited, agitated, stressed out part of us that is activated by the sympathetic nervous system. And if you think about this in the context of deep breathing, it makes logical sense. Think to any time that you've been stressed or agitated or on the edge of your seat, wondering what am I supposed to do.

In those moments is your breathing long, relaxed, deep in your belly, or is it more shallow, tight, constricted, up in your chest? Most likely it's the latter. When we're in a tense or stressed out state, we trigger these shorter, contracted, shallow breaths. Conversely, when you've been calm, relaxed, maybe on a beach or in nature, and you don't feel stressed or tense, what is your breathing like that? Assuming you're not exercising, it's most likely calmer, relaxed, longer, deeper in your belly. And the interesting thing about this is that, yes, a calm state tends to induce these longer, deep breaths, but we can also induce a calm state by dropping into those deep breaths, even if we're agitated. It's sort of a trick for the mind and the nervous system to say, Hey, it's okay.

You can relax. You can be calm. Now, my favorite breathing practice for this is called the four-seven,-eight breath, which involves breathing in for four seconds, holding for seven seconds and exhaling for eight seconds. I'll walk you through that in the meditation. But I do this at the very least for a few minutes before going to bed.

And what I most appreciate about it is that it lowers my heart rate. And the faster we can lower our heart rate before sleep, the sooner we'll be able to get into deep sleep and the more restoration we'll experience. So I'm looking forward to doing this with you in today's meditation. Thank you for your practice and let's settle in.

Cory Muscara

4.4

Calm Breathing

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

Welcome back to Day Two of our seven day Sleep Challenge. I hope yesterday went well for you. And if not, we have another opportunity today. In this session, we're going to explore the positive impact of deep breathing to help us fall asleep. Now I'm first going to share why deep breathing can be useful, but then I'll share a particular strategy that we'll be practicing in today's meditation that I find to be the most useful.

So to begin, deep breathing is useful because it engages the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the part of our nervous system that helps us relax, that reminds our mind and body that we're safe, that this is a time for rest, restoration, being at ease. It helps calm down that excited, agitated, stressed out part of us that is activated by the sympathetic nervous system. And if you think about this in the context of deep breathing, it makes logical sense. Think to any time that you've been stressed or agitated or on the edge of your seat, wondering what am I supposed to do.

In those moments is your breathing long, relaxed, deep in your belly, or is it more shallow, tight, constricted, up in your chest? Most likely it's the latter. When we're in a tense or stressed out state, we trigger these shorter, contracted, shallow breaths. Conversely, when you've been calm, relaxed, maybe on a beach or in nature, and you don't feel stressed or tense, what is your breathing like that? Assuming you're not exercising, it's most likely calmer, relaxed, longer, deeper in your belly. And the interesting thing about this is that, yes, a calm state tends to induce these longer, deep breaths, but we can also induce a calm state by dropping into those deep breaths, even if we're agitated. It's sort of a trick for the mind and the nervous system to say, Hey, it's okay.

You can relax. You can be calm. Now, my favorite breathing practice for this is called the four-seven,-eight breath, which involves breathing in for four seconds, holding for seven seconds and exhaling for eight seconds. I'll walk you through that in the meditation. But I do this at the very least for a few minutes before going to bed.

And what I most appreciate about it is that it lowers my heart rate. And the faster we can lower our heart rate before sleep, the sooner we'll be able to get into deep sleep and the more restoration we'll experience. So I'm looking forward to doing this with you in today's meditation. Thank you for your practice and let's settle in.

Cory Muscara

4.4

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