My thoughts on breathing...
A bit more information as it occurs to me about how breathing impacts your health and well-being. If you have questions or want me to address a particular topic, please don't hesitate to contact me!
Last week I talked about how dysfunctional breathing and sleep disturbances are linked and gave you a few exercises that may help with easing tension to facilitate a better night's sleep. Using the breathing exercises as a way to access and then ease muscle tension helps to turn off the ever-active "flight or fight" response we have to our everyday stresses and allows our bodies to spend time in "rest and digest" mode for more restful sleep. But for some, simple breathing exercises aren't enough. This is when we start to introduce behaviour changes to encourage better sleep hygiene. Described by Dr. Peter Hauri, sleep hygiene refers to "the habits, environmental factors, and practices that may influence the length and quality of one's sleep." The concept of sleep hygiene is to allow for a smooth transition between the hectic demands of your day and sleep. If you are dealing with stressors (work, family, etc) right up until the light's go off, it's unlikely you will have smooth transition to sleep. You simply cannot flip a switch and drop into blissful sleep. By establishing a pre-sleep ritual to break the connection between stress and sleep, we may limit the amount of time spent tossing and turning, waiting for sleep to come. We all did this with our kids when they were younger, right? Bath time, story time...everything meant to be done calmly and quietly to get them ready for bed. Why not offer ourselves the same courtesy? Here are a few tips to improve your sleep hygiene for a better night's sleep:
And don't forget to breathe! A nice, relaxed belly breathing pattern with an effortless exhale helps to settle that busy brain as you rattle through your "to-do" list. And if you struggle with finding that pattern, do try to find a physiotherapist with skills in treating dysfunctional breathing to help you find a pattern that works for you!
I'm a physiotherapist who is passionate about educating anyone and everyone about the impact breathing has on our health.