Are you suffering from low oxygen to your brain and elsewhere?
Have you ever wondered why your brain feels so foggy at times, you can’t concentrate or you feel dizzy and dopey? Or why you wake up feeling exhausted, like you haven’t slept at all or like you’ve been pushing a truck up hill all night?
If you snore, suffer from sleep apnoea, have asthma, cough or mouth-breathe a lot or have chronic anxiety, chances are you’re breathing enough for 2-3 people. Overbreathing upsets the natural balance between oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) in the blood. Loss of CO2 through overbreathing causes smooth muscle to constrict around airways and blood vessels, reducing the availability of oxygen to the brain and body tissues. Anyone who has experienced dizziness after blowing up balloons or practising deep breathing in a fitness class, will be familiar with how quickly excessive breathing can deprive the brain of oxygen. The MRI scan below shows a 40% reduction in oxygen in the brain after one minute of overbreathing. (Litchfield 1999)
Red, yellow and pale blue areas (right-hand side of the scale ) correspond to higher oxygen saturation.
How much might you be depriving your brain, organs and cells of essential oxygen by snoring all night and puffing, sighing and gasping by day? It is not just stopping breathing (apnoea / apnea) that deprives your body of oxygen.
Getting help for your breathing
First, try to breathe just a little more gently when you think of it, say a 1% smaller breath size than your usual, whether its mouth or nose breathing you are doing. Stay comfortable – even a small change should show you a benefit.
To go further you need to assess your breathing pattern, determine where (rate, rhythm, volume, use of breathing muscles, O2 / CO2 balance….) it differs from normal, and change it step by step. Below are some options to help you.
ONLINE BREATHING COURSE
The Breathe Away online course in Breathing Retraining. Instructor – Tess Graham. Facilitator – Tracey Anderson Askew.
BOOK AND CD / MP3
The books, Relief from Snoring and Sleep Apnoea and, Relief from Anxiety and Panic have a simple, easy to follow explanation and program, and a companion product- Breathing Exercise Instruction Audio (CD and MP3 formats) makes learning even easier.