Are you breathing properly? Melike Hussein, founder of Breathzone, provides tips for insomnia, anxiety and fitness

Insomnia

Insomnia and other sleep issues arise when our nervous system is not in balance and remains in elevated sympathetic ‘fight or flight’ state.

Slow breathing at six breaths per minute is proven to be the most effective breathing technique to sleep well. It works by balancing the autonomic nervous system.

Breathing in through the nose, inhale to the count of five. Breathing out through the nose (or mouth as comfortable), exhale to the count of five. Repeat for ten breaths.

Anxiety

Ruminating about the past or future is shown to be one of the main causes anxiety.

Slow, elongated exhales can immediately calm the mind and focus the attention to the present moment.

Breathing in through the nose, inhale to the count of four. Exhale through the mouth with pursed lips (like you’re blowing out candles) to the count of eight. Repeat at least three times.

Fitness

Diaphragmatic breathing is the most anatomically correct and efficient way to breathe – enabling maximum oxygen intake with the least effort. Therefore, it is the one to be mastered to boost your fitness.

Lie on your back on a flat surface with your knees bent and place one hand on your upper chest and the other on your belly. Breathing in through the nose, inhale slowly and deeply towards your lower belly. The hand on your chest should remain still, while the one on your belly should rise Tighten your abdominal muscles and let them fall inward as you exhale through mouth with pursed lips.

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