9 Benefits Of Diaphragmatic Breathing For Insomnia

9 Benefits of diaphragmatic breathing for insomnia.

9 Benefits Of Diaphramatic Breathing For Insomnia And How To Do It

When you are lying in your bed unable to fall asleep, practice diaphragmatic breathing.

You will find 9 benefits of diaphragmatic breathing for insomnia and how to do it in this article.

What is diaphragmatic breathing?

Diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing or abdominal breathing, is a breathing technique that engages the diaphragm instead of the thorax.

It is associated with meditation, ancient eastern religions, such as Buddhism, and martial arts. Also, it is a core component of yoga and Tai Chi1.

Diaphragmatic breathing is a well-known non-pharmacological intervention for improving sleep2.

What are exactly the benefits of diaphragmatic breathing for insomnia?

How to do diaphragmatic breathing

First of all, here is how to do diaphragmatic breathing.

  1. When you breathe in, expand your stomach by loosening up your diaphragm muscle.
  2. Inhale through your nose.
  3. When you breathe out, deflate your stomach by contracting your diaphragm muscle.
  4. Exhale through your mouth.
  5. Try not to rush your breathing, instead, breathe deeply, slowly, and regularly.
  6. When inhaling, take the time to fill your lungs with as much air as possible.
  7. When exhaling, breathe out as much air as possible.
  8. Repeat 10 deep diaphragmatic breathings.

Diaphragmatic breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing versus thoracic breathing

When we are stressed, we initiate our breathing from the thorax shortly and irregularly.

This is known as thoracic breathing or chest breathing.

As a result, our body is not fed with enough oxygen. Also, not enough carbon dioxide is expelled.

In the end, this stresses us more.

Diaphragmatic breathing, on the contrary, allows us to maximize the amount of oxygen that goes to the different parts of our body.

Also, it increases the volume of carbon dioxide expelled.

9 Benefits Of Diaphragmatic Breathing For Insomnia

The 9 benefits of diaphragmatic breathing for insomnia are the following:

1. Cell oxygenation

Cells in your body need oxygen to produce energy from the food you eat.

Diaphragmatic breathing allows you to maximize the amount of oxygen that goes to your cells1.

As such, your cells are more efficient. In turn, it optimizes the different biochemical processes that regulate your sleep.

2. Elimination of toxins

Diaphragmatic breathing lets you eliminate a maximum of carbon dioxide.

Once freed from this toxic waste, your cells are more effective. Similarly, this also improves the regulation of your sleep cycle.

The increase of gas exchange is an important positive effect of diaphragmatic breathing. However, deep breathing has other astonishing benefits for insomnia.

3. Breathing rate reduction

When good sleepers transition from wake to sleep, their respiratory rate slows and becomes more regular2,3.

Belly breathing for falling asleep fast.

Studies report that decreasing your respiratory rate with diaphragmatic breathing can help you fall asleep faster, because it promotes parasympathetic activities and attenuates sympathetic actions2,3.

The parasympathetic nervous system, namely, induces a calming effect, whereas the sympathetic nerves have an excitatory influence4. They activate the “fight-or-flight” response3.

4. Cardiopulmonary synchronization

Deep regular breathing has been shown to synchronize the heartbeat with the respiratory rhythm, resulting in an increase in parasympathetic tone and stronger sympathetic inhibition2,3.

This leads to better sleep, as sympathetic tone decreases, whilst parasympathetic tone increases when humans transition from the waking state into sleep5.

5. Blood pressure reduction

Studies report that diaphragmatic breathing reduces significantly blood pressure, which helps to induce sleep1,6.

Blood pressure, namely, tends to fall during the first few hours of sleep7.

The effect of diaphragmatic breathing on blood pressure is circadian-dependent. To wit, it depends on the time of day and is the largest in the afternoon6.

6. Decrease in cortisol levels

Cortisol is a steroid hormone that is released in response to stress1.

As such, sleep deprivation is related to an increase in cortisol8.

Research shows that diaphragmatic breathing reduces significantly the concentration of salivary cortisol, resulting in better sleep1.

7. Increase in melatonin levels

Melatonin is a hormone that promotes relaxation and is essential for the induction of sleep3.

Slow deep breathing has been shown to stimulate melatonin production by promoting parasympathetic tone and inhibiting sympathetic tone3,9.

8. Oxidative stress reduction

This is one of the astonishing benefits of diaphragmatic breathing for insomnia.

Emotionally and physically stressful situations can induce oxidative stress9.

Oxidative stress appears when an excess of free radicals and oxidants alter cell membranes and other cell structures, such as proteins, lipids, lipoproteins, and DNA10.

Research demonstrates that diaphragmatic breathing reduces the oxidative stress induced by intensive physical exercise9.

Oxidative stress, in particular, induces sleep insufficiency11.

9. Increase in delta brain wave activity

In diaphragmatic breathing, inhalation is done through the nose.

Recent findings suggest that nasal respiration modulates neural oscillations in the brain3.

Furthermore, they indicate that slow respiration increases delta brain wave activity associated with deep sleep3.

In addition to inducing sleep, diaphragmatic breathing also helps to reduce anxiety, depression, and stress2.

Related: 6 Natural Home Remedies For Insomnia

Summary: 9 Benefits of Diaphragmatic Breathing For Insomnia

Diaphragmatic breathing is an easy exercise that you can do in your bed to fall asleep.

The 9 benefits of diaphragmatic breathing for insomnia are the following:

  1. Cell oxygenation
  2. Elimination of toxins
  3. Breathing rate reduction
  4. Cardiopulmonary synchronization
  5. Blood pressure reduction
  6. Decrease in cortisol levels
  7. Increase in melatonin levels
  8. Oxidative stress reduction
  9. Increase in delta wave brain activity.

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