On the frenzied quest for getting an acceptable amount of sleep you can actually function on, you can’t deny that people are getting creative.
When counting sheep by the dozen no longer suffices, people have desperately turned to quirkier solutions, from “rubbing out” insomnia with body creams, and donning beanie-like sleeping caps that claim to calm brain activity, to boring themselves to sleep by listening to night-time podcasts.
Well, we have exciting news for the bleary-eyed: a no-nonsense, healthy sleep solution exists. And it’s touted for being incredibly effective.
Introducing: Moon Breathing, a 6-step Japanese breathing exercise that is said to cure insomnia.
In her new book Kaizen: The Japanese Method for Transforming Habits One Small Step at a Time, Sarah Harvey describes how you can start your journey to living your best life through making small ongoing adjustments, one of which is commencing moon breathing. Moon Breathing is all about silencing those thoughts about emails you haven’t replied to; laundry you haven’t done; and how much sleep you aren’t getting, to help you actually get some sleep.
'For the times when you can’t sleep, I am going to share with you a short breathing exercise that I find helps me when it is 3am and my mind is racing with nonsense thoughts,' Harvey explains.
“What yogis refer to as Moon Breath involves breathing in through your left nostril only. The left side of your body is thought to be associated with the nervous system, and so [this technique] has been traditionally used to calm it down and promote sleep.”
Here is a short exercise that you can do anywhere:
1. Sit upright or lie down, whichever is more comfortable.
2. Close your eyes and relax your eye sockets. Imagine your eyeballs are swimming in cooling pools of water.
3. Close your right nostril with your right thumb.
4. Rest the second and third fingers of your right hand in your palm and extend your fourth and fifth fingers.
5. Breathe in through your left nostril and then close it with your fourth finger of your right hand, while releasing your thumb from your left nostril and breathing out through your right nostril.
6. Regulate your breath and keep repeating this action for a couple of minutes until your breathing is really slow and you feel more relaxed.
Still not feeling sleepy? Alternate the nostrils as you perform the exercise.
“This is called Nadi Shodhana or alternate nostril breathing and is a really simple way to quickly quieten the mind and settle your emotions, so is a useful exercise to have up your sleeve during moments of anxiety or stress,” Harvey explains. “It really helps to focus the mind and press the reset button on your nervous system.” – something even the best of us could do with.
Photos: Instagram and Unsplash