Sleep expert Dr Nisa Aslam has shared a simple breathing technique which can help you fall asleep in just seven steps. Here's everything you need to know if you're struggling tonight
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Struggle to fall asleep at night? There are few things more frustrating than lying there for hours on end trying to get to sleep while furiously calculating how many hours until you need to wake up.
There is a more productive way you could be spending your time. GP Dr Nisa Aslam from Puressential has shared a simple breathing technique to get you out of the bad habit.
Speaking to The Mirror, Dr Aslam explained how the Covid pandemic has caused many to suffer from “broken sleep, vivid dreams, nightmares, and difficulty nodding off”.
Dr Aslam added: “You may find yourself stuck in a sleep rut, unable to break out of your bad sleep habits. For the vast majority of people, lack of sleep, or poor quality of sleep, has a really corrosive impact on long-term health and wellbeing. Sleep is not a luxury or an indulgence, it’s a fundamental.”
Luckily, Dr Aslam has shared a simple seven step deep breathing technique that will help you get to sleep in minutes.
How to get to sleep using deep breathing technique
Dr Aslam explained: “A minute or two of deep, controlled, breathing - into your abdomen rather than your chest - increases what’s known as ‘tidal volume’ of air going in and out of your lungs.
“Breathing this way will help you unwind by bringing down your heart rate and blood pressure, improve oxygenation throughout your body, and produce beneficial changes in hormone levels to help your body prepare for sleep.”
1. Lie down with your legs straight, slightly apart and toes pointing out.
2. Rest your arms at your side with your palms facing up.
3. Close your eyes.
4. Take deep, slow breaths into your lungs, filling them up. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
5. Put one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Notice which hand rises the most as you inhale.
6. If the hand on your chest rises the most as you inhale, try filling your abdomen (bottom of your lungs) full of air, forcing it to rise.
7. Relax and focus on the sound of your breath. Breathe in the lavender aroma deeply.
Other sleep tips
Essential oils can also help with sleep, “particularly lavender”. Dr Aslam said: “Dim lights and spritz a lavender based essential oil spray near your bed.
“A range of clinical trials and studies have proved its efficacy
“One, which measured brain activity, showed lavender oil increases deep, or slow-wave sleep. Try 100% natural Puressentiel Rest & Relax Air Spray with lavender and 11 other essential oils to aid sleep and soothe everyday stress.
“Clinical trials by the Sleep Centre, Paris showed that it improved sleep scores with an increase in sleep duration by an average of 21 minutes.”
It’s also worth remembering that we need to “breathe good quality, clean air for optimum health and a good night’s sleep”.
Dr Aslam said: “Central heating, air conditioning, pets, drying laundry, chemicals used in household cleaners and flame retardants used in furnishings are among the factors undermining indoor air quality and increasing concentrations of household toxins.”
Dr Aslam recommends cleaning and purifying the air in the bedroom, for example using Puressentiel Purifying Air Spray.
She explained: “It contains a unique combination of 41 anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal essential oils that improve air quality and is proven to combat three common triggers for poor air quality and respiratory symptoms — airborne bacteria, fungal spores, and house-dust mites.”