Regardless of whether you belong to the night owls or early birds, a lack of deep and restful sleep on a regular basis is bound to leave you exhausted. Aside from the whole walking zombie aspect of poor sleep, inadequate sleep hygiene also affects memory, concentration, and your body's ability to fight off illness, according to the Sleep Foundation. The key to improved sleep involves stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), commonly referred to as the body's "rest and digest" mode. As opposed to the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which activates the "fight or flight" mode, the PNS encourages a state of relaxation which makes it easier for you to fall asleep while slowing your heart rate and promoting digestion, per the Cleveland Clinic.

As it turns out, stimulating your PNS is as easy as breathing. Learning to breathe into your belly tricks your brain into entering a rested state. This type of breathing is referred to as diaphragmatic or belly breathing. While lying in bed, begin by placing a hand on your stomach and taking a deep breath through your nose. Focus on expanding your stomach with each inhale, feeling your hand rise with your stomach. Hold your breath for two seconds, then slowly exhale through your mouth without forcing the air out. Repeat this cycle at least ten to 15 times per night.

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