The way we lead our daily lives truly impacts our sleep and overall health. In general, people looking to maintain good, regular sleep hygiene should engage in bedtime activities and behaviors that enhance sleep, like following a regular sleep schedule, relaxing before bedtime and participating in aerobic exercise during the day.
According to Dr. Teofilo Lee-Chiong, Chief Medical Liaison at Philips Sleep and Respiratory Care, “we are increasingly more aware of how sleep affects our health. A philosophy of self-care, including a greater sense of responsibility over our lifestyle, will likely highlight sleep habits as an essential component of healthy living. Breathing exercises, meditation, mindfulness and other practices that focus on self-management of sleep offer opportunities for further enriching our lives."
Having trouble relaxing to sleep after a particularly stressful day? Patterned breathing may be worth a try:
- Find a place and body position in which you can truly relax, and potentially drift off to sleep
- With eyes closed, breathe in for about four seconds – whatever feels comfortable
- Hold that breath for about seven seconds – slightly longer than the breath in
- Exhale continuously for about eight seconds – ever so slightly longer than you held it
- Repeat for at least four full breaths, until reaching a state of deep relaxation or fall asleep
The natural act of breathing has been used as a means of relaxation intuitively, and has been traditionally part of different yoga traditions and is now incorporated in many relaxation programs. Many studies have shown the effectiveness of breathing techniques [5-9] in both managing stress and preparing the body for sleep. In some cases, slow-paced breathing techniques have even been shown to help improve sleep quality overnight .
It’s important that people around the world recognize if their sleep is being negatively impacted by increasing levels of stress and anxiety. By recognizing troubles with falling and staying asleep, people can address the issue head-on and move forward towards adopting a healthy lifestyle – starting with practices to improve sleep quality. To better understand these issues, Philips SmartSleep Analyzer online assessment tool offers a clinically validated way to identify and suggest solutions for some of the most common sleep challenges.
 Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Military Nutrition Research; Marriott BM, editor. Food Components to Enhance Performance: An Evaluation of Potential Performance-Enhancing Food Components for Operational Rations. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1994. 10, Endocrine and Immune System Responses to Stress. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK209065/
 Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Sleep Medicine and Research; Colten HR, Altevogt BM, editors. Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2006. 3, Extent and Health Consequences of Chronic Sleep Loss and Sleep Disorders. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK19961/
 Jamie Alan Bell, Josette Bettany Saltikov. Mitchell’s relaxation technique: is it effective? Physiotherapy. 2000, 86, 473-478. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031940605608097
 Liza Varvogli, Christina Darvin. Stress management techniques: evidence-based procedures that reduce stress and promote health. Health Science Journal. 2011, 5, 74-89. http://www.hsj.gr/medicine/stress-management-techniques-evidencebased-procedures-that-reduce-stress-and-promote-health.php?aid=3429
 Brook, R.D. et al. Beyond Medications and Diet: Alternative Approaches to lowering blood pressure. Hypertension, 2013; 61:00-00.
 T.J.W. Tijs, J. Du, M. Krans, O. Ouweltjes, J. Vogt, J.J.G. de Vries. User tests on paced breathing procedures. (2010) Technical note: PR-TN 2010/00256
 J. Du; R.M. Aarts; J.M. Krans; R.J.E.M. Raymann; T.J.W. Tijs; J. Vogt; J.J.G.de Vries; P.H. Pelgrim. User test on paced breathing for sleep: comparing competitor algorithms. (2010). Technical note: PR-TN 2010/00263
 Laborde S, Hosang T, Mosley E, Dosseville F. Influence of a 30-Day Slow-Paced Breathing Intervention Compared to Social Media Use on Subjective Sleep Quality and Cardiac Vagal Activity. J Clin Med. 2019;8(2):193. Published 2019 Feb 6. doi:10.3390/jcm8020193