Forest Breathing for a Good Sleep

 

Many of you had this experience of calmness when entering a forest. Our DNA remembers the time when we lived close to nature. Japanese researchers are studying the effects of being in the forest on our brain and heart activities. This is called forest bathing. No doubts they found that is has a calming effect lowering down our brain hyper-activity, reducing our tensions and improves our immune system function [1]. We as human beings have evolved thousands of years in co-evolution with nature and in particular trees. It is only in the last 100 years or so that we have migrated our main occupational time surrounded by concrete and artificial lights. So our body had no time to adapt so quickly to this new environment and is therefore perceived and felt as a stress for our body and mind. Forest walking has also been shown to reduce the stress hormone level (cortisol) more efficiently than performing an indoor activity of the same duration [2].

Many of you have experienced difficulties to fall asleep at some time or an other. Sleep is the best time and the longest time for our body to recover and stress-out. A way to fall asleep more quickly is to perform Forest Breathing as follows:

  • When you are in bed ready to sleep, imagine that you are in a familiar forest
  • Take one minute to breathe naturally and avoid clinging to thoughts
  • Then gently breathe in the freshness or warmth from this forest to your heart
  • Breathe out this vital energy to every parts of your body and feel its rejuvenating and calming effect
  • Repeat the breathing cycle until you feel completely relaxed and stay in that state until sleep takes you

 

References

  1. Li, Q., et al. “Effect of phytoncide from trees on human natural killer cell function.” International journal of immunopathology and pharmacology 22.4 (2009): 951-959.
  2. Hansen, Margaret M., Reo Jones, and Kirsten Tocchini. “Shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) and nature therapy: A state-of-the-art review.” International journal of environmental research and public health 14.8 (2017): 851.

 

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