Shut Your Mouth

Photo by Nomadsoul1/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by Nomadsoul1/iStock / Getty Images

Shut your mouth, and you'll fall asleep. 

I'm just as guilty as everyone else. I've been breathing improperly for years - especially as I'm trying to fall asleep - and the only advantage I had was that I generally exercised enough throughout the week that I was tired enough to fall asleep every night despite my breathing.

But now that my workout schedule has changed, I can see the profound benefit that proper breathing has had on my ability to fall asleep.

The simplest adjustments can have the most profound impact. In addition to closing my mouth and breathing deeply through my nose and into my abdomen, I repeat this mantra in my head, "I will fall asleep, I always fall asleep, falling asleep is easy". 

Many people suffer from anxiety brought on by a stressful and overly complex lifestyle, and have a hard time falling asleep because their mind is racing. Breathing through your mouth exacerbates this issue as it activates panic receptors in your upper chest. Obviously, you're not going to fall asleep if you're in panic mode. 

I've been paying close attention to "what it feels like to fall asleep" for a few months now. If you try to remain conscious to what's happening in your head as you begin to enter the first stage of your sleep cycle, you might notice it's really quite fascinating.

It's almost as if you begin to dream while you're still conscious.  

Your mind will wander off in the background as it begins to create vortices of disparate situations experienced throughout your day. Like a chef prepping a ten course meal, your brain begins dicing and re-contextualizing images and emotions as if they were paint launched toward a canvas by a five year old operating a railway howitzer. 

Seriously weird stuff, but really fascinating if you can manage to pay attention. 

Fix your breathing, and it will help fix your sleep.