If you – like many people – struggle to get the correct amount of sleep at night, you might think you’ve tried everything.
If you’re keeping yourself free of blue light in the evening, stopping drinking caffeinated drinks after lunch, perhaps even meditating and still failing to get off to the land of nod, how about giving ‘moon breathing’ a go.
Strange as it might sound, moon breathing – also known as Chandra Bhedana in Sanskrit – is a sleep method that one ‘lifestyle guru’ claims can ease ‘nonsense’ thoughts keeping you awake and chase away anxiety.
The technique is simple, there’s no balancing of chakras and standing on one leg, you just cover over your right nostril and focus on breathing exclusively through the left one.
Experts reckon this technique calms down your nervous system, and helps one settle down for a night’s kip.
It’s popular among practitioners of yoga, as well as in Asia – especially Japan – where it is considered a calming and relaxation technique.
Sarah Harvey – the aforementioned lifestyle guru – even includes the method in her book, entitled Kaizen: The Japanese Method for Transforming Habits, One Small Step at a Time.
In that book, she explains how she conquered her insomnia through this simple technique.
She says: “I find [it] helps me when it is 3am and my mind is racing with nonsense thoughts.”
So, here it is in full.
Lie somewhere comfortable, block your right nostril with a finger, breathe deeply through just the left nostril for a few minutes.
The final step, hopefully, is a nice peaceful sleep
It’s not the only method she espouses the virtues of, either.
Another nostril technique called alternative nostril breathing could be used in moments of anxiety and stress.
In short, you just breath deeply and calmly through alternating nostrils.
Ms Harvey explains: “This is called ‘Nadi Shodhana’ or alternate nostril breathing and is a really simple way to quickly quieten the mind and settle your emotions, so is a useful exercise to have up your sleeve during moments of anxiety or stress.
“It really helps to focus the mind and press the reset button on your nervous system.”
There is, believe it or not, a whole heap of scientific weight behind the theory about nostrils and nervous systems.
Obviously, it’s big in yoga and meditation, but a 1994 study by the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology also discovered that alternate nostril breathing can alter the metabolic system.
They tested a group of men and found that breathing through left nostrils only for 27 breathing cycles four times per day left them more relaxed.
That’s because their sympathetic nervous system activity – which causes a response to stress – had reduced.
Hey, perhaps this isn’t something to turn your nose up at.