Reduce your blood pressure, beat stress and sleep better with this one simple trick

woman wearing white shirt laying on bed
Take 7 minutes a day to reduce stress. Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

This week’s blog post is all about keeping your cool when you’re feeling anxious, stressed or are having trouble sleeping (often all 3 when you’re under pressure!). I wanted to give you a simple trick that you can use every day to help calm the central nervous system. This simple trick can help to reduce your heart rate, reduce your blood pressure and help you to get to sleep.

Did you know that one of the risk factors of heart disease is stress? In our busy modern lives it is difficult to avoid stress. Stress can come from many places, especially work, travelling, families, relationships, queueing etc. It can be very hard to reduce stress as we can’t just quit our jobs or live on holidays forever. More realistic is to try to deal with the stress more effectively, so that it has less impact on your mood and health.

Some people find it very hard to unwind, especially when there is hardly time to fit everything in, let alone time to de-stress! If you can spend just 7 minutes per day ‘unwinding’ – this is an easy way to do it!

  1. Last thing at night (or whenever you have a free 7 minutes of quiet time), lay down in bed, making sure the room is dark.
  2. Put your hands on your chest, just above the heart.
  3. Close your eyes.
  4. Take a deep breath in slowly through your nose, counting to 5 as you breathe in, feeling your chest rise.
  5. Slowly breathe out for a count of 5, breathing out through your mouth if you find it comfortable.
  6. Continue to do this for 7 minutes (longer if you want. You may find that you drift off to sleep before the time is up.
  7. Whilst you are lying there, don’t worry if your mind wanders off, but try to concentrate on thinking about the numbers, saying 1,2,3,4,5 in your head so that you keep coming back to focusing on the breathing. Every time your mind wanders off, go back to counting to 5.
  8. Try to do this every night before you go to bed and see if it helps you to improve your sleep. You can also try this if you wake up in the middle of the night and find it hard to get back to sleep.
tan and black short coat puppy sleeping on the white tiles
Take some time out for yourself to stop, breathe and calm your central nervous system. This guy knows all about chilling! Photo by Phong Nguyen on Pexels.com
If you prefer, you can listen to someone else telling you to breathe (more relaxing than it sounds!). Here’s a free app I found:

https://itunes.apple.com/…/universal-breathing…/id435871685…

It is a simple app that focuses on deep breathing and gives you 7 minutes of time to clear your thoughts for the day.

Anything that helps us sleep better is always good in my book!

Let me know if you have your own tips for beating stress.

I hope you have a great week!

Yours in heart health,

Angela Hartley

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