This action not only requires more effort than belly breathing, it results in a more shallow breath.
Diaphragmatic breathing, on the other hand, fully utilizes the capacity of the lungs. But how does this relate to posture?
Belly Breathing vs. Chest Breathing for Posture
It’s strange to think that our breathing might play a role in our posture (until you understand the difference between postural and phasic muscles, that is).
Phasic muscles are designed for fast movement and usually come in pairs. Think biceps and triceps, here. These muscles consist of fast-twitch fibers that provide a significant, powerful force for a short duration.
Although phasic muscles are powerful, they fatigue rather quickly and are more anaerobic when compared to postural muscles.
Postural muscles lie deep within the abdomen, back, and pelvis. They act as the trunk of the body, keeping everything held together and stable.
Postural muscles aren’t activated as often as they used to be thanks to modern activities like slouching in an office chair or hunching over a desk.
As a result, these muscles begin to weaken over time just like any other muscle does when not utilized regularly.
The sensation of shortness of breath follows, followed by poor posture, which in turn worsens shortness of breath. It’s a tough pattern to correct.
Learning to breathe appropriately not only improves our breathing and posture, but our state of mind.
So how do you begin making the switch to correct this problem?
Making the Switch From Chest Breathing to Belly Breathing
Belly breathing requires you to think of breathing as a 360-degree movement rather than something that only happens from the front of the body outward.
Your back muscles are involved in diaphragmatic breathing, too. Think of everything moving outward all around the body like an expanding ball.
When you first try belly breathing, you may want to lie on your back rather than standing.
Place one hand on your chest with the other just below the ribcage where the diaphragm is located.
You can also place an object over the diaphragm instead (like a pillow) to visually see the correct movement as you breathe.
From here, breathe in slowly through the nose. Your stomach should move outward, causing the bottom hand (or object) to rise. Your top hand should remain still.
Tighten the stomach muscles as you exhale, causing the bottom hand to lower. Again, the hand placed on your chest should remain as still as possible.
We were designed to use both nasal breathing and diaphragmatic breathing together as the default breathing method, but many of us are chest and mouth breathers.
If you aren’t used to nasal breathing or can’t breathe in and out of the nose due to congestion, try Buteyko breathing exercisesto decongest.
Once you begin to put nasal breathing into practice during waking hours, ensure that you’re nasal breathing at night to prevent snoring and fragmented sleep.
Practice Belly Breathing At Night
Many sleep disorders are tied to airway blockages caused by dysfunctional breathing.
Mouth breathing not only causes chest breathing and heightened stress, it leads to snoring that interferes with quality sleep and leaves you fatigued in the morning.
Activate your parasympathetic nervous system before bed by practicing the belly breathing technique we covered above.
From here, keep your mouth from falling open by placing mouth tape over your lips before you fall asleep.
Mouth tape is proven to promote nightly nasal breathing, helping you maintain diaphragmatic breathing while you sleep.
SomniFix was created for every skin type under the sun (and moon!) Our Mouth Strips are hypoallergenic and feature a gel-like adhesive for premium comfort. Furthermore, our trips are free from latex and gluten, unlike many tapes on the market.
With SomniFix, you’ll achieve non-irritating, restorative sleepall while strengthening your diaphragm and posture for reduced pain.
Belly breathe your way to your best sleep yet with SomniFix!
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