breathing to fall asleep

As I lie in bed, I breathe in deeply filling my abdomen with air to a count of four or five, then breathe out slowly to the same count. As I am expelling the air, I try to relax any tense muscles. I accomplish this by concentrating on the area around my mouth, jaw, teeth and tongue. The next area I concentrate on is around my eyes. With my eyes shut, I almost feel as though my eyeballs are trying to push out toward my closed eyelid. I alternate between relaxing the areas around my mouth and around my eyes as I exhale. I repeat the process four or five times trying to relax even more with each subsequent breath. Surprisingly, I find that every muscle in my body relaxes when I concentrate on the various muscles in my face, greatly enhancing the ability to fall asleep. Additionally, the sound of my deep breathing further helps me to relax by diverting my attention from other distractions.

—John Wiedman, from Desperately Seeking Snoozin’
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