9 Best Breathing Techniques for Getting to Sleep

9 Best Breathing Techniques for Getting to Sleep
9 Best Breathing Techniques for Getting to Sleep

If you’re having trouble falling asleep, you’re not alone. Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, with 30% to 40% of adults reporting short-term problems and 10% experiencing chronic difficulty falling or staying asleep because of it. a severe form of insomnia.

Our everyday society where everything goes very (too) fast, filled with homework, long working days, financial constraints, parental exhaustion or other emotionally exhausting situations, can make it really difficult to relax, to calm down and get a few hours of restful sleep. When it is difficult to sleep, focusing on your breathing can help. Let’s take a look at some breathing exercises to calm your mind and body so that you can fall asleep easily.

A few things to remember before you start …

While there are a number of breathing exercises that you can try to relax and fall asleep, a few basic principles apply to each of them. It is always a good idea to close eyes, which can help you avoid distractions. Focus on your breathing and think about the healing power of your breath.

These nine different exercises each have slightly different benefits. Take a look to see which one is right for you, and soon you will sleep like a baby.

1. The breathing technique 4-7-8

The 4-7-8 Breathing Technique is a breathing model developed by Dr. Andrew Weil. It is based on an ancient yogic technique called pranayama, which helps practitioners take control of their breathing.

When practiced regularly, it is possible that this technique can help some people fall asleep in a shorter period of time. Here’s how to practice the 4-7-8-8 breathing technique:

  1. Let your lips part gently.
  2. Exhale completely, making a breathing noise.
  3. Press your lips together as you inhale silently through your nose for a count of 4 seconds.
  4. Hold your breath for 7 seconds.
  5. Exhale again for 8 seconds, making a hissing noise.
  6. Repeat 4 times starting from step 1. Optionally do up to 8 repetitions.

This ancient yogic technique that helps people relax by replenishing oxygen in the body.

2. Bhramari pranayama breathing exercise

These steps will help you complete theoriginal breathing exercise Bhramari pranayama :

  1. Close your eyes and inhale and exhale deeply.
  2. Cover your ears with your hands.
  3. Place your index fingers one above each of your eyebrows and the rest of your fingers above your eyes.
  4. Next, exert light pressure on the sides of your nose and focus on the area of ​​your forehead.
  5. Keep your mouth closed and breathe out slowly through your nose, making the whisper “Om”.
  6. Repeat the operation 5 times.

Clinical studies have shown that Bhramari pranayama rapidly reduces breathing and heart rate. It tends to be very calming and can prepare your body for sleep.

3. Three-part breathing exercise

To practice the three-part breathing exercise, follow these three steps:

  1. Take a long, deep breath.
  2. Breathe out fully as you focus intensely on your body and how it feels.
  3. After doing this a few times, slow down your exhale so that it is twice as long as your inhale.

Some people prefer this technique to others because of its unparalleled simplicity.

4. Diaphragmatic breathing exercise

Do these diaphragmatic breathing exercises:

  1. Lie on your back and bend your knees on a pillow or sit on a chair.
  2. Place one hand flat against your chest and the other on your stomach.
  3. Breathe slowly and deeply through your nose, keeping your hand on your chest still as the hand on your stomach rises and falls with your breath.
  4. Then breathe slowly through pursed lips.
  5. Optionally, try to inhale and exhale without your chest moving.

This technique slows down your breathing and decreases your oxygen needs by strengthening your diaphragm.

5. Alternate nasal breathing exercise

Here are the steps of the alternative nasal breathing exercise, also called nadi shodhana pranayama :

  1. Sit cross-legged.
  2. Place your left hand on your knee and your right thumb against your nose.
  3. Exhale completely and then close the right nostril.
  4. Inhale through the left nostril.
  5. Open your right nostril and exhale through it, while closing the left nostril.
  6. Continue this rotation for 5 minutes, finally exhaling through the left nostril.

A 2013 study found that people who tried doing nasal breathing exercises felt less stressed afterward.

6. Buteyko breathing

To practice buteyko breathing for sleeping follow these steps:

  1. Sit in bed with your mouth slightly closed (not pinched) and breathe through your nose at a natural pace, for about 30 seconds.
  2. Breathe a little more intentionally through your nose once.
  3. Gently pinch your nose with your thumb and forefinger, keeping your mouth closed until you feel you need to catch your breath.
  4. With your mouth still closed, inhale and exhale deeply through your nose.

A lot of people don’t realize they are hyperventilating. This exercise helps you restore a normal breathing rhythm.

7. The Papworth Method

In the Papworth Method, you focus on your diaphragm to breathe more naturally:

  1. Sit up straight, maybe in bed if you use it to fall asleep.
  2. Breathe in and out deeply and methodically, counting to four with each inhale – through the mouth or nose – and on each exhale, which must be through the nose.
  3. Focus on your rising and falling abdomen, and listen to the sounds of your breathing coming out of your stomach.

This method of relaxation is useful in reducing the habits of yawning and sighing..

8. Kapalbhati breathing exercise

Also known as pursed-lip breathing, kapalbhati breathing has four stages:

  1. Breathe in deeply through your nose, as if you smell a pleasant scent.
  2. Purse your lips as if you were going to blow on a reel.
  3. Through pursed lips, exhale 3 times slower than you inhaled.
  4. Repeat until you feel calm and sleepy.

Kapalbhati breathing relieves shortness of breath and improves ventilation by removing excess carbon dioxide.

9. Breathing box

During box breathing, you should focus intensely on the oxygen you are providing and exhaling:

  1. Sit with your back straight, inhale, then try to push all the air out of your lungs as you exhale.
  2. Inhale slowly through your nose and count to 4 in your head, filling your lungs with more air with each new number.
  3. Hold your breath and count to 4 in your head.
  4. Slowly breathe out through your mouth, concentrating on extracting all the oxygen from your lungs.

Box breathing is a common technique during meditation, a very popular method of finding mental focus and relaxation. Meditation has a variety of known benefits for your overall health.


Whatever type of breathing exercise you prefer, it’s obvious that breathing exercises can help you relax, sleep, and breathe more naturally and efficiently. With these techniques, you might fall asleep before you even know it.

References :

  • Agarwal D, et al. (2017). Assessment for efficacy of additional breathing exercises over improvement in health impairment due to asthma assessed using St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire. DOI:
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  • Exercise: Correct breathing during sleeping (part I). (2014).
  • Holloway EA, et al. (2007). Integrated breathing and relaxation training (the Papworth method) for adults with asthma in primary care: A randomized controlled trial. DOI:
    1136 / thx.2006.076430
  • Pramanik T, et al. (2010). Immediate effect of a slow pace breathing exercise Bhramari pranayama on blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Relaxation exercises for falling asleep. (2018).
  • Sharma VK, et al. (2013). Effect of fast and slow pranayama on perceived stress and cardiovascular parameters in young health-care students.;year=2013;volume=6;issue=2;spage=104;epage=110;aulast=Sharma
  • Sleep and sleep disorder statistics. (nd).