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Deep Breathing May Lead to Better Sleep - ZZZ's... - Article



 
Deep Breathing May Lead to Better Sleep - ZZZ's... - Article
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Deep Breathing May be Key to Getting Good Zzzzz

LifeSource Vitamins



Republished with permission from Dr. Patrick B. Massey, Alternative Approach, Daily Herald, August 30, 2004

Good quality sleep is a lost art in America. Sleep seems to be one problem that plagues many Americans. In my medical practice, although few patients complain about sleep deprivation as a primary complaint, it seems to be an almost universal secondary medical problem.

The average American get about 6.5 hours of sleep a night. I suspect that it is not a straight 6.5 hours but is broken up throughout the night. As a result, we have turned to medications to induce and promote sleep. Some of these, as advertised on TV, sound like a real solution.until the numerous side effects are mentioned. So, how does one actually get a good night's sleep without side effects? The answer is two fold. We need to find the cause of the sleep disturbance and then to find ways to address it.

If you take all of the people who do not sleep well, factor out the medically serious causes like sleep apnea, a lot of people waking up tired. I, and others, feel that stress plays a major role. When the mind is racing, it is difficult to let go and slip into that most pleasant of conditions.deep sleep.

The American lifestyle is built on stress. We define ourselves by our stress. It is with us every day. It also the most common risk factor for most illness and disease. A good night's sleep may combat the effects of stress.

I believe that significant stress begins in school. Some may believe, (not me), that our children need college level workloads, constant testing and harder courses. As a result, children are working harder and getting less than 6 hours of sleep each night. At the ripe old age of 15, they often have stress levels so high that some are on medications and many sleep only 4-5 hours a night.

It continues into college and beyond. My own career, medicine, is probably the best example of sleep deprivation, stress and illness. Take a good look; physicians are not exactly the "poster children" for a good night's sleep, reduced stress or optimal health.

So what can be done to improve the chances for a good night's sleep? It may be as simple as deep, rhythmic breathing. Medical research has demonstrated that deep breathing exercises, diaphragmatic breathing, qigong breathing, yoga breathing, can induce a profound state of relaxation and are beneficial.even simple yawning forces one to take a deep breath.

A recent study, in the medical journal Cancer, looked at the effect of Tibetan breathing (deep, rhythmic breathing) on the use of sleep medications in patients with lymphoma (stress and illness). According to the researchers, Tibetan breathing significantly improved sleep quality; they fell asleep faster and longer and used less sleep medications than controls...and all without side effects.

Deep, rhythmic breathing works because it supports a state of relaxation.. Relaxation supports good sleep (without drugs). Good sleep is what most Americans need (especially physicians!). Try this.before going to sleep, take 20 deep, slow breaths in and out.then lie down and see how you sleep.

About the Author: Patrick B. Massey MD, PhD, is Medical Director of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Alexian Brothers Hospital Network Dr.. Massey is also President of the ALT-MED Medical and Physical Therapy Program, Elk Grove Village IL 60007

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