The 4 Best Breathing Exercises for Sleep

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Breathing exercises for sleep are a great way to relax your body and mind. Breathing exercises help control the flow of oxygen into your body, which is an effective way to help your system wind down. You normalise your breathing rate and reduce the stimulation in your brain. Moreover, they are a great way to reduce stress and anxiety, switch off for the day and should definitely be part of your sleeping routine to wind down. So which are the 4 best breathing exercises for sleep that you should try tonight?

The best breathing exercises for sleep:

  1. Belly breathing
  2. Box breathing
  3. 4-7-8 breathing
  4. Alternate nostril breathing

Belly breathing

A simple breathing exercise for sleep which involves deep breathing through your diaphragm. This exercise helps you wind down for the day and reduces the oxygen in your body. As a result, you feel relaxed and sleepy. Here’s how you do it:

  • Lie down on your back, one hand on your stomach and one hand on your chest
  • Take a deep breath in from your stomach and feel it expand and contract as you exhale
  • If you can’t feel it in the first go, that’s okay, breathe a bit deeper
  • Breathe in from your belly from 4 counts and breathe out for 4 counts

Do this breathing exercise 5-6 times and then continue breathing this way for a few minutes once you get into a rhythm! Our guided audio – switch off for the day uses this very breathing exercise to give you the best sleep!

Box breathing

One of the most effective and simplest breathing exercises for sleep is box breathing. It helps you reduce stress and regulates the natural breathing rhythm. Moreover, it restores balance to your body and mind, which is essential for breathing exercises for sleep! Here’s how you do it:

  • Lie down on your back and relax yourself
  • Breathe in and inhale for 4 counts
  • Hold your breath for 4 counts
  • Exhale deeply for 4 counts 
  • Hold again for 4 counts… and repeat with an inhale.

This is one of the best breathing exercises for sleep and to help you reduce any stress or tension in our body. You can listen to our guided audio on box breathing here!


4-7-8 breathing

The 4-7-8 is one of most powerful breathing exercises for sleep. It is a way to restore balance and harmony in your mind and body, particularly during times of stress and anxiety or when you’re struggling to sleep. Get into a comfortable position and then follow these steps:

  • Inhale for 4 seconds
  • Hold your breath for 7 seconds and
  • Exhale for 8 seconds
  • Repeat this for at least a minute or for 4 cycles to experience the effect

This temporarily slows down the amount of oxygen going to your brain and other parts of your body and automatically slows down your heart rate. Since 4-7-8 breathing is also different from your natural breathing rhythm, it helps you to focus completely on your breath. As a result, you can relax, stay in the present and fall asleep faster. Listen to our guided audio on 4-7-8 breathing today!


Alternate nostril breathing

A slightly different but equally effective breathing exercise for sleep is the nostril breathing. It involves breathing from alternate nostrils and reducing the amount of oxygen entering your body so you can switch off for the day and enjoy restful sleep. Here’s how you do it:

  • Put your right thumb on your right nostril and breathe in deeply from the other nostril
  • Then breathe out from the same nostril
  • Switch nostrils by releasing your thumb and placing your index finger on the other nostril and repeat

Breathing exercises for sleep are a great way to switch off for the day, relax your mind and body and allow yourself to fall into a deep restful sleep. It’s a simple way to meditate for sleep and you should definitely consider making it a part of your everyday bedtime routine. All our sleep audios include proven breathing exercises to help you fall asleep faster.

Evolve’s guided audios are joyful and all our sleep audios incorporate breathing exercises for your restful sleep. The Evolve app is now live globally on Android & Apple, click here to try for free!

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