Breathe Your Way to a Better Sleep

Deep breathing exercises have been shown scientifically to calm your nervous system. This is why people who engage in yoga, tai chi, or any other discipline that teaches proper breathing techniques feel so much more relaxed.

If you don't have time or the funds to take classes on a regular basis, make it a point to take 4-5 slow deep breaths every 1-2 hours, especially when you're transitioning from one activity to another, or if you're feeling stressed. You can also make it a habit to meditate on your deep breathing anytime you're waiting on the phone, standing in line, walking somewhere.

Here are three breathing exercises for better sleep

Box breathing

Box breathing was developed by the Navy SEALS as a relaxation technique.

In box breathing, give your full attention to the oxygen you’re breathing in and breathing out.

  1. Sit with a straight back > Breath in > When exhaling push all the air out of your lungs
  1. Count to 4 (in your head) while slowly inhaling through your nose > With each number, fill your lungs with more air
  1. Count to 4 (in your head) while holding your breath
  1. Slowly exhale through your mouth > get all the oxygen out of your lungs
  1. Repeat steps 1-4 as many times as you want

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

Breathing Imagery

Focus on the rhythm of your breathing until you fall asleep

  1. Lie down in bed > focus on the relaxation you feel as you exhale
  1. Feel your bed supporting you as you step down into a relaxed state while you exhale.
  1. Notice how you feel when you do your exhales
  1. Imagine your breath is made up of colors. Watch as you breathe in and out and see those colors. Do NOT force anything, let it flow
  1. Focus only on your breath until you fall asleep.

Sounds simple, but it’s one of the most efficient ways to relax and fall asleep.

Bhramari pranayama breathing exercise

  1. Close your eyes and breathe deeply in and out

  2. Cover your ears with your hands

  3. Place your index fingers one each above your eyebrows and the rest of your fingers over your eyes

  4. Put gentle pressure to the sides of your nose and focus on your brow area

  5. Keep your mouth closed and breathe out slowly through your nose, making the humming “Om” sound

  6. Repeat 5 times

These 3 techniques are some of the most effective ways to fall asleep in the least time possible. To make them effective faster, make sure you stick to one technique for at least a week before you move on to another one.