Many of us experience the frustration of turning around and turning around in the middle of the night.
Now, a lifestyle guru has shared a technique she swears by to relieve anxiety and calm the “absurd” thoughts that keep you awake.
Lunar breathing, also known as Chandra Bhedana in Sanskrit, involves blocking the right nostril and breathing only from the left. This can calm the nervous system, which in turn helps you fall asleep, experts believe.
The technique is popular with yogis, who claim it improves the sleep cycle, and it is more commonly used as a calming and relaxation technique in parts of Asia, including Japan.
Lunar breathing is a Japanese technique very popular with yogis, which consists only of breathing through the left nostril. Woman sleeping soundly, stock image
Sarah Harvey (photo) took a look at the Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement through small changes in your habits
Writing in her book Kaizen: The Japanese Method for Transforming Habits, One Small Step at a Time, author Sarah Harvey explains how she used the technique to overcome insomnia.
‘I find [it] help me when it’s 3 am and my mind is racing with absurd thoughts, ”she says.
The three-step moon breathing method
- Find the most comfortable position for you.
- Block your right nostril with your right finger.
- Breathe in deeply from the left nostril for just a few minutes
It comes after a recent statistics have shown 31% of Britons have trouble sleeping, with the NHS dispensing 87,990 prescriptions for sleeping pills in a single month this year.
Another method, called alternate breathing, can also help relieve overwhelming feelings of anxiety, Sarah says, by alternating the nostrils you breathe through.
This is called ‘Nadi Shodhana’ or alternate nasal breathing and it is a very simple way to quickly calm the mind and regulate your emotions, so it is a useful exercise to have up your sleeve during times of anxiety or stress, ”she says.
Moon breathing can help fight insomnia by calming the nervous system. Another technique called “alternative breathing” can help with anxiety attacks. Woman meditating, stock image
“It really helps focus the mind and hit the reset button on your nervous system,” she adds.
Being one of the most important components of yoga and meditation, breathing has a proven effect on the nervous system.
Different breathing techniques have also been shown to have different effects on the body and the nervous system.
A 1994 study by the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology found that alternating breathing between the two nostrils could alter human metabolism.
He showed that men breathing only through the left nostrils, for 27 breathing cycles four times a day, were more relaxed because the activity of their sympathetic nervous system, responsible for the stress response, was reduced.
The Kaizen Method, which Sarah discusses at length in her book, is the continuous improvement of Japanese through small daily changes in your habits.
Kaizen: The Japanese Method for Transforming Habits, One Small Step at a Time, by Sarah Harvey, published by Blue Bird, is available for purchase.