My 9-year-old stepson, Quin, was having a few difficult nights of sleeping. I asked him if maybe a crystal or something might help him sleep better.

“No,” he replied.

“How about a dream catcher? I could help you make your own.”

“No.”

“Well, what do you think would work, buddy?”

“A hundred dollar bill.”

Ha! Smart kid. So, I indulged him that night to see if it would work.

And, as no surprise, he slept great.

Of course, there was no magic sleeping aid in that hundred dollar bill. The magic was in Quin’s mind.

And hey, why not try sleeping with a hundred dollar bill under your pillow once in a while? Maybe Quin’s Magic Sleeping Tip will work for you, too.

But maybe it won’t.

Or maybe there are times when you’re traveling and the hotel is noisy, the bed is uncomfortable and you don’t happen to have a hundred dollar bill.

In the middle of the night, in a strange bed far from home, what will you have?

Your breath.

And utilizing a breathing exercise like Extended Exhalation Breathing can come in handy. Just like the name suggests, this breathing exercise consists of exhaling longer than you inhale. For example, you breathe in for four seconds and out for eight seconds. It’s an exercise used in some guided relaxation scripts and some types of hypnosis. I used it to help me be more relaxed prior to childbirth and it put me to sleep every single time.

I’ve been teaching this breathing exercise to Quin and it’s been helping him sleep better (maybe even better than the hundred dollar bill, but he probably would never admit that). Focusing on your breathing can bring you back to a central spot, like your nose or your belly, and it can help to anchor you there rather than letting the mind jump all over the place and letting the sleepless hours add up.

You won’t need any gimmicks or gizmos. Just let the rhythm of your own breath guide you to sleep.

Simple.
Peaceful.
Free.

Give it a try the next time you’re struggling to fall asleep.

Huffington Post
By Deanna Reiter

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