Belly breathing is a super easy and effective
way to help you relax.
Even a little bit of stress, fatigue or worrying, easily results in a
tight belly, often unnoticed.
By concentrating on breathing through your belly, it will soften,
relieving the stress. The deep breathing also enhances oxygen supply,
making it a healthy breathing too.
Lie down comfortably and check your
breathing: notice how you are breathing for a few moments. Then start
breathing slowly and deeply
Take a slow deep inhale and
: actively send the air through your belly
(think of pushing your navel upward).
Make your exhaling long, letting all the air escape and your
belly sinking down
(for many this is a very nice sensation, relaxing your whole lower
Double check on your shoulder and neck muscles to make sure you're not
Deep Relaxation Body Scan
This is a personal favorite because it is
very effective and like many
report that it actually
the quality of your sleep
It is often taught in mindfulness meditation as a
warm-up exercise, preparing the body for
But, since it relaxes your whole body very gently and comfortably, it
is a perfect sleep aid. It can even be
challenge to not drift off
the whole scan ...
Deep Relaxation Body Scan
Lie down comfortably
on your back and take a few slow, deep breaths. Place your
arms alongside your body, stretch out your legs, wiggle your toes a few
times, flex one foot, then the other.
will take you through all parts of your body: one by one
you'll let them
into the bed.
Whenever your mind drifts off, gently return to where you were and
continue the scan. Or re-start if you lost track. There's no rush,
must get it
Start at your feet: imagine them heavy and gently let them melt down.
Move upwards, let your lower legs weigh down, your knees,Â then
your thighs. By weighing them down, release any tightened muscle you
Upwards, your hips sink down and then you reach your belly. Send your
breath to expand your belly and then soften it when exhaling. Stick
around your belly with belly breathing for a while, also when moving
towards your stomach area.
Then you reach your chest. Lift and sink your chest with breathing here
and also let your neck and shoulders sink down comfortably.
From here you move along your arms, becoming heaving and reaching your
Then finish at your head: let it sink down and enjoy releasing the
tension from your face.
If you feel you've tightened up some parts of your body again, go back
and release them.
Experience how your body is all soft and sunk down. But you may well be
off to sleep long before getting here ...
Try one or two of the suggested relaxation techniques a couple of times. One will
probably suit you better than
another or you may want to vary between them.
Heidi Holvoet, PhD, is the founder of the Baby Sleep Advice website and movement, an award-winning author, baby & toddler sleep consultant with 15+ years experience as well as a certified lactation counselor.
Over the years, Heidi has received several awards inluding a Mom's Choice Award (MCA) and National Parenting Awards (NAPPA) for her Baby Sleep Advice website, programs and books. Also, Baby Sleep Advice was awarded "Most Trusted Infant's Sleep Solutions Company 2023" in the Benelux Enterprise Awards 2023.
Heidi continually conducts personal research and participates in continued education and in that way stays up to date with current scientific and pyschosocial infant care.
She is also a member of the Association of Professional Sleep Consultants of which she was one of the earliest contributors. She obtained her PhD degree in physics at the University of Ghent in Belgium.
Heidi is passionate about helping babies and their parents sleep more and better, with her trademark approach that has been proven and praised time and again by parents worldwide to be effective and truly no-tears. Respect for you as a parent and your baby, is at the heart of Heidi's warm and kind support. Her approach always keeps in mind a baby's needs and abilities at any given age, is based on pediatric science and the most up to date knowledge in infant care and sleep science.