hanging how you breathe is essential to relieving insomnia and improving sleep quality once and for all. In many cases, symptoms improve in the first week of changing your breath. Most notice they fall asleep faster and wake more refreshed. As always, let's start with the science of breathing.
The Science of Breathing and Sleep
Most who have insomnia can't fall asleep or stay asleep given their highly active “monkey mind.” The thoughts just keep coming and there's no way to shut them off. Sleep quality may be a function of insomnia, monkey mind, never quite getting into deep sleep or waking frequently during the night.
The Essential Breath™ program for insomnia and improved sleep quality is designed based on the science of breathing. This three step program directly targets the root cause of most sleep problems, which is reduced carbon dioxide levels in the brain. Carbon dioxide is the body's natural sedative. It calms the monkey mind and helps you achieve a deeper sleep.
Let's take a look at each step of the Essential Breath™ program and see how it addresses sleep problems.
Step 1: Breathing Mechanics
Carbon dioxide is a sedative that naturally calms the brain. Mouth breathing is big breathing and big breathing blows off lots of carbon dioxide with every exhale.
The nose is a much smaller opening than the mouth, which results in smaller breaths and less carbon dioxide loss. Learning to breathe through the nose all night long retains carbon dioxide in the body and keeps more in the brain.
At the start of the Essential Breath™ program we address mouth breathing and anything preventing it from happening, such as nasal congestion. There are several breathing techniques employed here. It's not unusual to find a mouth breather breathing through their nose within a few hours to a few days of learning these techniques.
Step 2: Retain Vital Body Gases
Unfortunately over time, the medulla oblongata, the breathing center of the brain, becomes sensitive to high levels of carbon dioxide and tries to get rid of it. Chronic stress and an acidic diet play a huge role in the medulla's CO2 sensitivity. While diet changes help, stress is an unavoidable constant in our society. The good news is there is a way to reduce the medulla's sensitivity to carbon dioxide despite the stress of modern life.
Step 2 of the Essential Breath™ program is designed to reassure the medulla that higher levels of carbon dioxide are OK. Breathing techniques are employed that increase body carbon dioxide levels slowly over several weeks, reducing the medulla's sensitivity to it.
Step 3: Adjust Breathing Volume
For the long term management of insomnia and sleep quality, we must maintain normal levels of carbon dioxide in the brain all the time. If we are breathing large volumes of air, especially during the night, we are blowing off carbon dioxide, never giving it a chance to help our sleep. Once again, the medulla is the problem as it thinks breathing large volumes of air is OK.
In Step 3 of the Essential Breath™ program we work on the medulla, teaching it the correct volume of air to breathe while retaining more and more carbon dioxide. This adjustment period can last several weeks to several months depending on a number of factors.
The 3 step process behind the Essential Breath™ program is designed to employ the science of breathing to address the root cause of insomnia and sleep problems, lowered levels of carbon dioxide in the brain. Normal carbon dioxide levels calm the busy monkey mind and enable deeper sleep. Yes, how you breathe really matters, especially if you have insomnia or poor sleep quality.