Last week I had a patient in my chair whom I hadn’t seen in several years. She had been going through a lot of health issues- both physically and mentally- and just seemed on edge during her whole visit with me.
We got to talking about some of the personal things she has been dealing with, such as having a hard time sleeping and just relaxing because she couldn’t shut her mind “off”. I asked if she tried any meditative/conscientious breathing- she said she did, but it was too hard for her to sit still for an hour.
So I said- “What about 5 minutes? Can you sit for 5 minutes and just practice taking deep breaths in and out?”
She got quiet for a second and said, “No, I have never tried that. But I think I could do that.”
I asked her to try focused breathing with intention for 5 minutes each night- and no more than that. If she succeeded- to then increase the increment by 5 minutes the following week. Consistency is what is key here – not quantity; and the patient understood that.
I am amazed at how many of our illnesses stem from improper breathing- something we take for granted, because we think we are doing it right. Proper breathing technique is through the nose- both inhaling and exhaling; this allows the air we breathe to be filtrated properly, and also allows us to expel the toxins from our body.
By breathing correctly, we decrease inflammation in our body- which allow for better sleep.
Better sleep equals a healthier you.
The importance of diagnosing sleep apnea can not be underestimated; if you are a poor sleeper -or think you sleep, but still wake up tired- know if you snore, or breathe more through your mouth- contemplate talking to your dentist. As you start off this week, consider evaluating how you feel on a day to day basis- and set your intentions for this week to begin by taking care of yourself.