How Music And Breathing Exercises Help You Relax And Sleep

How Music And Breathing Exercises Help You Relax And SleepIf you’re having trouble relaxing and catching sleep, read this blog for some music and breathing exercises to help you to feel calmer.

There are many reasons you’d want to sleep and relax better. Perhaps you’re worrying about something. Or you simply discovered the massive physical and mental benefits of having a good night’s sleep.

Whatever your reason, one way to achieve it is to listen to music and practice breathing exercises.  You can even combine music with breathing exercises for anxiety and get the benefits of both at the same time.  

As you might know, I am a bestselling wellness author – plus I studied to be a yoga and meditation teacher. I founded a groundbreaking video course called The Anxiety Cure.

I love sharing insights and strategies to help people to live their healthiest live.

With this in mind I put together this quick guide on how music and breathing exercises help you relax and sleep.

Breathing exercises influence the autonomous nervous system

Breathing exercises can help balance your autonomous nervous system. It’s responsible for bodily functions that work automatically, like breathing and blood pumping. 

The autonomous nervous system has two parts:

  • the sympathetic nervous system
  • parasympathetic nervous system

The sympathetic nervous system is primarily responsible for the contraction of smooth muscles—the ones in your blood vessels and arteries. While parasympathetic nervous system for smooth muscle relaxation.

Typically, the two work in balance, but there are times when one takes over from the other. 

For example…

relax sleep music breathingIf you’re stressed or in a fight or flight situation, the sympathetic nervous system will do its thing and prepare your body. It will raise your blood pressure and heart rate to allow you to perform demanding tasks without worrying about circulation and energy.

On the other hand…

The parasympathetic nervous system takes over when your body determines it’s on a rest and digest mode. It will relax your blood vessels and arteries, which then lowers blood pressure and heart rate.

And when this happens, your body can go into a relaxed state and even proceed to sleep.

There are many different breathing exercises, techniques, and methods.

Two of the most popular ones that are commonly used as relaxation methods are…

  • 2-to-1
  • 4-7-8

The 2-to-1 breathing technique is mainly practiced to excite PSNS and douse SNS. It’s effective in allowing people to relax and reduce stress, and it’s easy to perform.

The concept behind 2-to-1 breathing is simple.

You spend twice as much time exhaling than inhaling. Exhalation is said to influence the body to relax, making the idiom “sigh of relief” make more sense.

The 4-7-8 method is often referred to as slow mindful breathing.

It’s based on an ancient yogic practice. To do this technique, you need to spend 4 seconds inhaling, 7 seconds pausing your breath, and 8 seconds exhaling. It’s ideal to do it minutes before you go to sleep while already lying in bed in a comfortable position. Typically, two to four cycles of 4-7-8 are enough to help you relax and sleep better.

Performing breathing exercises, particularly the slow breathing variants, may cause discomfort at first.

There are multiple reasons why this could happen:

  • You may overbreathe. Overbreathing may mess with your body’s oxygen and carbon dioxide balance. So you don’t just exhale carbon dioxide—your body needs some of it to stay around for a while.
  • You may unconsciously breathe through your mouth. Mouth breathing poses a few problems. One, you may push yourself to overbreathe. Two, you may inhale or exhale too fast. Three, the air you’ll breathe will be unfiltered.
  • Your lungs may need some time to be accustomed to the techniques. While the exercises and techniques are simple, your body isn’t used to their effects yet. 

Aside from helping you sleep and relax better, breathing exercises also provide other benefits. Some of them include reduced stress, improved immune system, calmer body and mind, better posture, and improved digestion.

Music reduces levels of cortisol in the body

music is my meditationOne of the reasons it’s difficult to sleep and relax is cortisol, which is one of the body’s stress hormones. Some of its primary roles are to keep you alert and boost your energy levels.

However, when it’s time for you to sleep, cortisol is the last thing you want circulating in your body.

Thankfully, there are multiple ways to reduce the amount of cortisol your body secretes at any given time.

One way to reduce cortisol is to listen to music. 

In a study, surgeons and anesthesiologists tried operating on two groups of people.

  • The first group had music on during the operation.
  • The second group wore headsets and were subjected to complete silence. 

After the operation…

  • The first group didn’t experience any spike in their cortisol and blood glucose levels.
  • The second group, on the other hand, experienced rising cortisol and blood sugar levels.

In the end, the study concluded that music therapy may help reduce anxiety in patients. 

Music may help people get better sleep

music breathing exercises sleep relaxThere are many ways music can affect the body. Other than reducing cortisol levels, music is believed to energize the body, enhance memory, and even improve sleep quality.

In an analysis of online survey reports, many young people who constantly listen to music reported that music helps them get good sleep.

It was also found out after sorting all responses that music aids people to sleep better if listening to music is already a habit and routine before going to bed. 

If you’re not a music lover but want to try music therapy to help you sleep, start building a playlist.

Be sure to include these kinds of songs in your sleep therapy playlist:

  • Music mixed with sounds from nature
  • Pieces with great emphasis on bass or low-frequency sounds
  • Mixes that has a slow tempo
  • Songs with long and sustained notes

It doesn’t matter if the song you pick isn’t classical or a lullaby. The important thing is it has qualities mentioned above. Also, start your playlist 45 minutes before you sleep. Do this for at least a month to experience the positive effects of music therapy.

You can combine music with all the above properties with breathing exercises with Harmonic Breathing.

Below is a short video tutorial on how to do harmonic breathing.

Conclusion on Music, Breathing Exercises & Sleep

A good night’s sleep is critical for making the world a better place—even if only for you. Having better sleep may improve your physical and mental health. It may keep your heart healthy and help you manage anxiety. To achieve these, consider listening to music and practicing some breathing exercises.

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