There are many things we have to do every single day. Some of these things we think about often, like when it’s time to eat, drink or use the bathroom. In fact, now that food was mentioned, you may be thinking it’s time to eat again! On the other hand, there are things we do every single day that we don’t think about at all. For example, when was the last time you stopped and thought about your breathing? Unless the air quality is bad, you have a hard workout, or you have a cold, most often people take breathing for granted and don’t give it any thought. It is interesting how breathing properly is so vital to our health and we hardly ever think about it.
Deep Breathing & Health Benefits
Paying attention to your breathing can bring many benefits. Learning a few simple deep breathing techniques can have the following effects:
- Decrease stress in your body
- Lower your heart rate and breathing rate
- Reduce depression
- Decrease blood pressure
- Reduce stress levels in your body
- Improve symptoms of diabetes
- Reduce muscle tension
These are all essential for your overall well being. Deep breathing sends a message to your brain that calms your body. In addition to breathing deeply, there are a few other things you can do to improve your overall health. First, consider how well you take care of your body and lungs. Here are a few guidelines to follow:
- Avoid exposure to indoor and outdoor pollutants- In other words, stay inside on a bad air quality day and make sure you have a good indoor filter.
- Don’t smoke- Smoking harms almost every organ of the body and will affect a person’s overall health.
- Prevent infection by washing your hands frequently with soap and warm water you can also help further by avoiding crowds during flu season.
- Be sure to exercise regularly to keep your lungs healthy and strong.
If Deep Breathing Is So Beneficial, Why Does It Seem So Difficult?
Why do you think deep breathing seems so unnatural to so many? One possible explanation is our culture often encourages holding in emotions. Men and boys are encouraged not to cry or show weakness. Women and girls are often expected to hold in their anger. When we hold back our emotions without expressing it in a healthy way, we subconsciously hold our breath or start to breathe irregularly. This reaction often creates many more problems including increased stress and anxiety.
Shallow breathing actually impedes the diaphragm’s ability to expand. With shallow breathing, the lower portion of the lungs never gets its full share of oxygenated air- and it is instrumental in carrying oxygen to cells. This will result in you feeling short of breath and anxious. On the other hand, deep breathing promotes full oxygen exchange. This type of breathing can actually slow the heartbeat and stabilize your blood pressure.
How Correct Breathing Is Connected To Your Health
In recent findings by Journalist, James Nestor, he was able to connect breath to one’s health. After battling several spells of pneumonia and breathing problems, James Nestor entered a Stanford University experiment that involved spending 10 days breathing with his nostrils plugged, and another 10 with his mouth taped shut. End results: mouth breathing increases his snoring and sleep apnea, and causes raised blood pressure and other issues.
In addition to an experiment, he also attended a breathing class in a yoga studio in São Paulo, to learn the key elements of breathing. His research also led him to an interview with a dental researcher- who pointed out that the skulls of ancient humans have wider airways and perfect teeth. From this insight, he then learned that our industrialized, softer foods and less vigorous chewing have led to smaller jaws, crooked teeth, and more narrow airways. These changes in our food supply over time have led to breathing problems in the general population.
Importance of Frequency of Breath
Nestor also has discovered that the frequency of breath is crucial. Science has proven that the ideal rate is 5.5 breaths per minute, with 5.5 seconds for both your inhale and exhale. Ideally, it is best to breathe through your nose as it has more filtering properties. When you breathe through your mouth your lungs act as an external organ and they are exposed to everything.
Nestors Conclusion: as a general population not only are we breathing too fast, but most of us are not properly breathing through our noses. Correct breathing may not be a cure-all, but it is an important component of maintaining proper health. The process of breathing may seem like a no-brainer to most, it is easy to get wrong, and crucial to get right. For more information, watch his interview below on CBS News regarding his new book, Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art.
Importance of Breathing Properly- Find Answers from A Sleep Specialist
Breathing problems don’t just surface during the daytime-they also extend into the night. Improper breathing can lead to all kinds of health problems and need to be taken care of as soon as possible. If you feel like you are suffering from any kind of breathing, sleep problems, or are needing an alternative to braces, contact Just Breathe DDS, a Sleep Clinic in Hayden, ID. We can help you start breathing properly. You can reach us by filling out our online form or call (208) 500-3030 today! Start Improving your breathing, sleeping, and overall health and wellness with Just Breathe- we’ll get you on your way to better sleep and a better life!
Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art, by James Nestor. https://www.cbsnews.com/video/author-james-nestor-on-how-breathing-properly-can-improve-overall-health/#app