9 Breathing Exercises for Sleep

9 Breathing Exercises for Sleep

Written by Dreamcloud Editorial Team

Last Updated on Jul 22, 2022

In this article:

    You come home after a long tiring day at work. All you want to do is eat a fulfilling meal and hit the sheets. But when the time comes to go to bed, you lie wide awake unable to fall asleep! Does this sound familiar? If you are sailing in the same boat, breathing exercises for sleep can help you. 

    When you start practicing specific breathing exercises for sleep, you tend to relax your mind and body, which will aid a good night’s sleep. So, this article brings you the best breathing exercises for sleep that will help you overcome sleepless nights. Each of the ten exercises we have mentioned offers slightly different advantages. Therefore, try them and see which one suits your needs the best. Read ahead!  

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    4-7-8 breathing technique

    The steps for 4-7-8 breathing exercises for sleep are;

    • Get into a comfortable sleep position 
    • Take a deep breath where your lips remain closed
    • Breathe through your nose and make sure you inhale for 4 seconds
    • Next, hold your breath for 7 seconds 
    • Now, make sure your lips are slightly parted 
    • Exhale through your mouth, making a whooshing sound

    Do this four times when you start, and you can take it eight times. 

    This technique was developed by Dr. Andrew Thomas Weil, an American celebrity doctor. It is a variation of the Pranayama breathing technique and can be used to combat stress and anxiety. This is one of the breathing exercises before bed that you must try. 

    Bhramari pranayama breathing exercise

    Below-mentioned are the steps for the Bhramari Pranayama Breathing Exercise. This is one of the best exercises to fall asleep and can help you calm yourself. 

    • Take a comfortable position and close your eyes
    • Now, inhale and exhale deeply 
    • While you are taking deep breaths, cover your ears with your hands 
    • The first step will help you calm down 
    • Observe the sensations throughout your body and take in the quietness within 
    • Next, remove your hand from the ear and place one index finger on the eyebrows and the remaining fingers on your eyes
    • Slowly put some pressure on the side of the nose but keep the focus on your brow area 
    • Only breathe through your nose
    • Hum ‘om’ as you breathe out 

    Do this five times. Bhramari Pranayama is a yoga breathing for sleep that soothes the nerves around your brain and forehead while the humming vibrations will aid an overall relaxing effect.

    Three-part breathing exercise

    A three-part breathing exercise is extremely simple and is one of the first exercises yoga beginners learn. To practice this;

    • Take a deep breath and exhale 
    • While you are deep breathing, the focus must be on your body
    • With every deep breath, you take, see how your body starts to feel
    • After a few times, make sure you further take time with each inhale and exhale

    Three-part breathing to fall asleep can be easily conducted once you have switched off for the night and are lying or sitting on your bed.

    Diaphragmatic breathing exercise

    To practice diaphragmatic breathing exercises for sleep;

    • You can either sit on the chair or lie down, bending your knees and keeping them on a pillow 
    • Now, move one hand towards the chest and the other towards the stomach
    • Take deep and slow breaths 
    • Next, use your lips for breathing in and out
    • Finally, you must breathe in and out without moving your chest a lot 


    This breathing exercise for sleep will strengthen your diaphragm and ensure you use less energy when breathing. The diaphragmatic breathing exercise will also make sure that your lungs are utilized to their full capacity.

    Alternate nasal breathing exercise

    Also known as Nadi Shodhana Pranayama, this yoga breathing for sleep is known as the art of breath control. This technique not only helps you sleep but also regulates your nervous system. Take a look at how to follow this breathing exercise for sleep. 

    • Sit cross-legged on your bed
    • Now, first, keep your left hand on your left knee and your right thumb on one side of the nostril
    • You must inhale through your left nostril and exhale through the right
    • Before you exhale, move your thumb from the right nostril and close the left one 
    • Do this for 5 minutes 


    Performing Nadi Shodhana Pranayama can make you feel less stressed and relaxed.

    Buteyko breathing

    Ukrainian doctor, Konstantin Buteyko invented Buteyko breathing technique or BBT. Some of the benefits of BBT include enhanced breath control and relaxation. This is one of the breathing exercises before bed. 

    • Sit on your bed comfortably 
    • Breathe normally through the nose for 30 seconds 
    • After 30 seconds, breathe more deeply through the nose 
    • Now, slightly pinch your nose close with the help of your thumb and forefinger and keep your mouth closed
    • Take a breath until you feel like you must, but use your nose to breathe

    The Papworth method

    The Papworth breathing to help sleep is an easy method you can practice on your bed. For this;

    • Sit straight on your bed 
    • Take a deep breath through the nose or mouth, counting up to 4, and then exhale through the nose 
    • Make sure you listen to your breathing and keep a focus on your stomach’s rise and fall

    This breathing exercise for sleep will help you relax and reduce the habit of continuously yawning.

    Kapalbhati breathing exercise

    You can practice this pranayama for sleep. Kapalbhati also fetches many advantages like weight loss, strengthening your lungs, improving blood circulation, and more. Take a look at how to practice kapalbhati. 

    • Sit comfortably on your bed with your back straight and then place your hands on your knees 
    • Take a deep breath and when you exhale, contract your belly, almost force your breath out 
    • Do this 20 times to complete one round 
    • You can do up to three rounds at a time

    Box breathing

    This breathwork for sleep is easy to practice and also a technique used during meditation.

    • Sit straight and breathe in 
    • Now, push all the breath you have taken out of your lungs with a deep exhale 
    • For each inhale, count up to 4 and then hold your breath and count up to 4 
    • When you exhale, do it through your mouth

    These were the nine breathing exercises for sleep. Make use of them whenever you cannot fall asleep or bouts of insomnia hit you.

    This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.
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