Unable to sleep well? Try these 7 breathing techniques before hitting the bed

Trouble sleeping can cause a huge impact on physical and mental fitness. However, practicing breathing exercises before going to bed can help you fall asleep.

sleep disorder
Try breathing techniques to ease your sleep routine. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Aayushi Gupta Published on: 2 April 2022, 21:05 pm IST
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Do you toss and turn on your bed before you finally doze off? Well, moving restlessly in bed can indicate that you’ve sleeping disorders. Want to know the trick to falling asleep quickly? If your answer is YES, we’re here to help! The trick is to practicing breathing exercises every night before hitting the bed

Breathing is something that goes on even while we sleep. In fact, labored breathing is one of the most common causes of poor sleep quality. “Normally, while sleeping, we breathe through our nose. However, if there is any obstruction in the nose, people tend to breathe through the mouth. Mouth breathing is associated with dryness, and frequent urination, which may lead to nocturnal awakening. Therefore, at least 1 hour before we go to bed, we should practice breathing in gently through the nose and breathing out from the mouth,” told Dr Ravi Shekhar Jha, director and unit head pulmonology, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad, to HealthShots.

breathing exercises for sleep
Breathing exercises can help to improve sleep cycle. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Remember, if someone has asthma or other respiratory issues, make sure to take their inhalers/medication before bed so that night awakening can be avoided.

Here are 7 breathing exercises to help you fall asleep:

1. Pursed lip breathing

Pursed lip breathing refers to breathing that works by moving the oxygen into the lungs and carbon dioxide out of your lungs.

Here’s how to practice it:

Inhale through the nose and exhale from the mouth. During exhalation, round up your lips in a pursed position. While exhaling, make sure that it is slower than when you are inhaling.

This practice will keep your airways open for longer, relieving shortness of breath.

2. Alternate nostril breathing

Alternate muscle breathing is a yoga technique that involves breathing in and out of one nostril at a time while holding The other nostril closed. It is also known as Nadi Shodhana Pranayama. This is the best breathing exercise if you want to meditate.

Here’s how to practice it:

Sit comfortably with legs crossed. Place one hand on the knee and with right hand fingers close the right nostril and inhale through the left nostril. Hole it for 4-5 seconds and then exhale through the right nostril. Repeat the practice with alternate nostrils. Practice 3-5 times.

breathing exercises for sleep
Physical activity and breathing exercises will benefit you. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Diaphragmatic breathing

One of the best benefits that people have experienced with diaphragmatic breathing exercise is reduced stress and anxiety level. Moreover, it helps to strengthen diaphragm and helps it function well, improving your sleep.

Here’s how to practice it:

Lie on a flat and comfortable surface such as a bed with knees bent. Place one hand on your chest and one on your stomach. Now, breathe deeply through your nose into your belly, feeling your stomach rise and chest stay still. Purse your lips and breathe out as if you’re whistling. Repeat this process 3 to 5 times.

Also, read: Try out these 5 breathing exercises to deal with anxiety

4. Kapal Bhati

Kapal Bhati helps to regularise breathing and makes it easier and smoother. Moreover, it calms and uplifts your mind. Which all together can benefit your sleep cycle.

Here’s how to practice it:

Sit in a meditating position. Inhale deeply through the nostril. Then exhale forcefully, contracting your abdominal muscles. You may keep your right hand on the stomach to feel the abdominal muscle contract. Take 20 such breaths to complete one round of Kapal Bhati.

breathing exercises for sleep
If you’ve been troubled irregular sleep cycle, you should give Kapal Bhati a chance! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Abdominal breathing

Almost the same as diaphragmatic breathing, the only difference is that inhalation is slightly more forceful. When you practice it the diaphragm will tighten and flatten. It happens because it pushes the abdominal content down which forces the abdominal wall out. Regular practice of this breathing exercise can take your mind off your worries and get your head in the mood to relax and fall asleep.

Also, read: These 6 breathing exercises will help your lungs become stronger

6. Bhramari

It helps to de-stress your mind and calm you to get in a mood of sleep. Bhramari should not be practiced by pregnant and menstruating women. Along with them, people who are a patient with high blood pressure, chest pain, and have any kind of ear infection should also avoid it.

Here’s how to practice it:

It’s straight and keep your eyes closed. Place your thumb on your ears to close them and your index finger above your eyebrows and the rest of the fingers over your eyes. Breathe slowly through your nostrils by putting pressure on the sides of your nose with your ring fingers. Remember to breathe in a noun through your nose only. Keep short inhalation for 3-5 seconds through the nose and long exhalation for 12-20 seconds.

breathing exercises for sleep
Centre yourself with Bhramari breathing technique. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

7. 4-7-8 breathing technique

This breathing practice helps to balance your breathing and relax your body. In fact, it is also known as a relaxing breathing method so it will work great for bedtime.

Here’s how to practice it:

Breathe in through your nose for a count of 4. Hold the breed for a count of 7. Exhale completely through the mouth making the whoosh sound for a count of 8. Practice this about 10 times.

These are very simple and effective breathing exercises that you can practice every day before going to bed for better sleep. In fact, you can also use these techniques any time when you are feeling stressed or have high anxiety.

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About the Author
Aayushi Gupta Aayushi Gupta

Aayushi Gupta is a health writer with a special interest in trends related to diet, fitness, beauty and intimate health. With around 2 years of experience in the wellness industry, she is connected to leading experts and doctors to provide our readers with factually correct information.

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