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Americans are far behind other countries when it comes to our average sleep duration. With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, prioritizing sleep is a challenge. Luckily, many other countries around the globe have passed down unique sleep habits for generations…and they’ve been passed down because they work! A night-time foot soak is popular in China, while Scandinavians swear by bedding essentials like sleeping with two different duvets rather than one if you have a sleeping partner. Swedish bedtime snacks are proven to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, while Salvadorans have made hammock naps a daily practice within their culture for years. Chamomile tea has been passed down from ancient times for the improvement of health and sleep – and so have certain breathing patterns! Implement these global lifestyle hacks for your most restorative sleep yet.
Stress is an everyday part of modern life. That said, the stress levels of today’s adults are swiftly on the rise. We’re seemingly feeling more anxiety and stress than ever before. Emerging research suggests that sighing helps to lower stress levels quickly. Cyclic sighing, also called the physiological sigh, has shown the most promise as an effective practice for reducing stress. A physiological sigh consists of an inhale followed by a second short inhale. A lengthy sigh exhaling all of the breath concludes one physiological sigh. Practicing three of these cyclic sighs may be all that’s standing between you and significant stress relief. Andrew Huberman recently put cyclic sighing to the test by comparing it to other breathwork and mindfulness techniques. The physiological sigh came out on top as providing the largest benefit for relieving stress – even beating out traditional mindfulness meditation.
Ever feel a lift in your mood after humming along to a song in the car? It’s not just in your head. If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Is humming good for you?” the answer is yes! Science shows that humming activates our vagus nerve, taking us out of a state of stress and into a state of relaxation. It lowers blood pressure and improves heart rate variability all while improving lymph flow. In fact, the vibrations created during humming may help the lymphatic system to pump out waste from the body just as well as cold plunge therapy or a lymphatic massage. Moreover, humming reduces happy hormones like oxytocin while surging the body with feel-good endorphins, meaning it’s just as beneficial for the brain and body as a consistent exercise routine. It even causes increased melatonin production which leads to the onset of quality sleep. Bee breathing offers a quick, easy-to-follow humming exercise that you can practice anywhere, anytime. All in all, humming provides a shortcut to calm in any situation, whether practiced before a stressful meeting or before you drift off to bed.
Non-sleep deep rest, also known as NSDR, was coined by Stanford neuroscientist Andrew Huberman as a quick reset that can help add focus to your day or prepare your brain and body for sleep in the evening. It’s less intimidating than traditional meditation and includes a guided script and body scanning. All you have to do is follow along with the instructions, making it a simple practice for people who are new to the world of mindfulness and meditation. What’s more, it stimulates brain waves similar to that of slow-wave sleep, which is vital for the rejuvenation and healing of the body and mind. Including this practice in your daily routine helps to promote the onset of quality sleep. Many NSDR sleep protocols can be found online, including traditional Yoga Nidra (which NSDR was derived from) and NSDR meditations led by Andrew Huberman himself.
Approximately 25 percent of Americans suffer from some form of mental illness. Moreover, 40 million Americans report that they consistently suffer from anxiety. Mindfulness techniques like breathwork and meditation serve as proven methods to combat anxiety, improve mental well-being, and regulate our nervous system. SKY breath meditation harnesses the power of both meditation and breathing exercises to center our bodies and minds toward a state of calm. SKY breath meditation was first discovered by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and involves cyclical breathing patterns that range from slow, controlled deep breaths to rapid inhalations and exhalations. What’s more, this method is proven to effectively treat stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, insomnia, and more. SKY breath meditation works by decreasing the stress hormone cortisol and boosting nitric oxide production. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator known to take the body out of fight or flight and into a state of relaxation. It’s recommended to practice SKY breath meditation with a certified instructor, as it’s a bit more complicated than simple breathing exercises.
Breathing exercises have gained popularity in recent years, but they’re actually rooted in ancient cultural practices centered around deep, controlled breathing. When we use our abdomen, or diaphragm, to breathe instead of our chest, our breathing transforms from shallow, fast breaths to slow, deep inhalations and exhalations. As a result, our bodies and brains shift out of a state of stress and into a state of relaxation. Countless abdominal breathing benefits follow, including improved mood, lessened pain, and even better digestion. Moreover, the more often you practice abdominal breathing, the stronger your lungs become. As the lungs strengthen, oxygenation improves, and boosted productivity and performance follow. If that wasn’t already exciting enough, deep breathing is linked to improved immunity and better sleep. Long story short, abdominal breathing is the quickest, most effective way to shift your mindset and physical body into a state of greater well-being.
It’s no surprise that we’re all chronically stressed. Our world is faster-paced than ever before, and it only seems to be moving quicker and quicker by the day. The majority of adults report that chronic stress impacts their physical and mental health. High stress is proven to cause depression, anxiety, heart problems, and more. Therefore, learning to manage our stress is key to managing our health. It may be as easy as breathing, according to recent research. Certain breathwork patterns are known to shift our mental states and invoke calming emotions. When we’re happy, we breathe slowly and deeply. Therefore, breathing slowly and deeply during periods of stress can shift the body and mind from overdrive into a relaxed state. Using breathing techniques to de-stress is not only simple to implement into your daily routine; it’s backed by scientific research as an effective tool for stress reduction.
We take more than 8 million breaths each year. That said, most of us are dysfunctional breathers. What if there was a way to breathe efficiently and improve your health in the process? Controlled breathing exercises offer a moment of mindfulness that provides numerous health benefits, such as emotional regulation, improved posture, and a quick metabolism boost. The practice of mindful breathing dates back to ancient times and was appreciated by Eastern cultures. However, scientists are just now beginning to break down the details that explain why breathwork has such a profound effect on the human body. The benefits of practicing controlled breathing are seemingly endless. By just taking a moment to breathe each day, you’ll feel better, think better, and perform better; no matter the task at hand.
The phrase “take a deep breath” may hold more power than most of us understand.  In the battle between belly breathing vs. chest breathing, belly breathing is the clear champion. But why? Slow, deep breathing lowers cortisol and blood pressure levels, helping us relax. Deep breathing also helps improve our posture, which is known to reduce the back pain so many of us suffer from. By understanding what the diaphragm is and where it’s located, we can harness the power of diaphragmatic breathing to strengthen our posture, improve our breathing, and destress from the daily grind. But how do you make the switch from chest breathing to belly breathing? If you’re a mouth breather, it may be more challenging for you than necessary. That’s why nasal breathing is the hidden key to achieving proper belly breathing as part of your daily routine.
The dreaded afternoon slump gets in the way of productivity for most of us. Whether it’s work that needs completing, chores that need tackling, or moments that you need to be alert while watching your kids, fatigue can get the better of us and zap our energy. Thankfully, breathing exercises have been shown to help beat fatigue and increase energy, giving us the “pick me up” we need to tackle whatever the day throws our way. Most of us don’t breathe efficiently throughout the day. In fact, most people breathe through the mouth, which zaps our energy and forces our bodies to work harder than they need to. Breathing exercises, which focus on optimal breathing and slowing down our breath rate, correct our oxygen exchange and bring the body back to its peak operating state.
The Oxygen Advantage, created by Patrick McKeown, is largely recognized and followed in the breathwork community. But what is it and how can it help to boost our health?
We all breathe to live, and none of us give much thought to the way we do it. But did you know that improper breathing can worsen symptoms of anxiety, while proper breathing can reduce anxiety altogether? Panic attacks and stress worsen our breathing patterns.