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5 Best Breathing Techniques to Get Sound Sleep

Sleep is necessary for your health and well-being. An average adult needs around seven or more hours of sleep every day to maintain good health and well-being.1 Lack of adequate sleep or having less than seven hours of sleep can result in loss of concentration, memory, and performance issues and can increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and depression.1

Managing insomnia has been a major concern and many experts advise breathing exercises to improve your sleep. Here, we will look at some of the best breathing techniques to get sound sleep.

5 Best Breathing Techniques To Get Sound Sleep

Experts advise slow breathing techniques to get sound sleep along with a healthy sleep routine as it is low cost, low risk, and considered to be highly effective.1

Sleep hygiene practices advised by experts include breathing exercises, diet, and lifestyle factors, altering light exposure, and stress management with relaxation techniques. Breathing techniques help to get sound sleep as they help to calm the mind along with cognitive and muscular relaxation.

A 2021 study concluded that techniques like mindful breathing and sleep-inducing exercises significantly improved sleep quality and duration while reducing anxiety and negative emotions and the severity of insomnia. The study results confirmed that these breathing techniques can greatly help in improving the long effectiveness of insomnia treatment.2

Some of the best breathing techniques to get sound sleep are:

  1. Deep Breathing Exercise

    This is one of the simplest and best breathing techniques to get sound sleep. You can sit in a relaxed state once you are ready to sleep. Close your eyes and place your hands over your knees. Slowly continue to breathe deeply while focusing on your breath as you inhale deeply and exhale deeply. Continue this for 5 to 10 minutes.

    A 2018 study report suggested that with regular practice of deep and slow breathing before bedtime, you may be able to reduce the aroused state and feel more relaxed when it is time to sleep.1 It also reported that practicing slow, deep breathing can promote melatonin production, which helps relaxation and is also a sleep-inducing hormone.

  2. Alternate Nostril Breathing

    This exercise, also called Nadi Shodhana Pranayama is one of the most effective breathing techniques to get sound sleep. Sit in a relaxed position, if possible, with your legs crossed and place your hands on the knees. Now begin to inhale and exhale smoothly and deeply. Then, place the thumb of the left hand against your left nostril to gently close it. Exhale fully and then breathe deeply through the right nostril. Now, close the right nostril while you exhale fully through the left nostril. Again, close the left nostril and breathe through the right nostril, and then fully exhale. Continue this cycle for 5 to 10 minutes.

  3. Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercise

    To perform the diaphragmatic breathing exercise, lie on your back and bend your knees. Place your hands over your chest. Gently begin breathing through your nose and take slow and deep breaths. Allow your stomach to move up and down as you breathe in and out while keeping your hand placed on the chest still. Practice this one of the best breathing techniques to get sound sleep regularly to see improvement in your sleep quality.

    A 2021 study reported that the use of diaphragmatic breathing relaxation training was a useful non-drug treatment for improving sleep quality and reducing anxiety among first-line nurses during the COVID-19 outbreak. It helped reduce sleep problems and anxiety with no adverse effects.3

  4. Bhramari Pranayama Breathing (Humming Bee Breath)

    This is the most popular Pranayama practice and one of the best breathing techniques to get sound sleep. In this, you need to sit down in a relaxed state. Cover your ears and eyes by placing your thumbs over your ears, index fingers over the eyebrows, and the remaining fingers over your closed eyes. Now, inhale deeply through the nose and slowly begin to exhale while making a humming sound with your mouth closed. Focus on your breath and the area between the eyebrows while doing this.

    This technique is helpful for general well-being and has proved beneficial for various health conditions as well.

    A 2018 study reported that the Bhramari Pranayama technique was effective in correcting the hormonal imbalance, hypertension, anxiety, and depression. The study results have shown that the effect of its regular practice could result in reduced heart rate, blood pressure, irritability, and stress levels while showing improvement in cognition.4

    A 2019 study reported that practicing the Bhramari Pranayama breathing technique helped in relieving symptoms of chronic rhinosinusitis. Thus, the use of this technique along with conventional treatment can be more effective than treatment alone.5 This can be particularly useful for people experiencing blocked noses due to chronic sinusitis or nasal congestion that may be adding to their sleep problems. Practicing this technique regularly can not only help relieve a blocked nose but also improve your breathing and help you get sound sleep.

  5. 4-7-8 Breathing

    This is one of the mindful breathing exercises based on Pranayama and is one of the best breathing techniques to get sound sleep. Experts recommend this practice considering it a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system.6

    To practice this breathing exercise, sit in a comfortable position. Place your tongue behind your top teeth and begin exhaling through the mouth, making a whoosh sound. Begin counting as you exhale. Now, on the count of four, close your mouth and inhale through the nose. Then, for the count of seven, hold your breath, and at the count of eight, again exhale through the mouth making a whoosh sound. Repeat this cycle three more times and complete a set of four such breaths.

    A recent study reported that the 4-7-8 breathing technique was beneficial in reducing anxiety in patients after bariatric surgery. Deep breathing exercises were also noted to be effective in improving the quality of life.7

    Another recent study concluded that 4-7-8 breathing techniques can help control heart rate, and blood pressure, particularly in healthy individuals. This is one of the best breathing techniques to get sound sleep and can be greatly beneficial for people having cardiac and pulmonary disorders. The 4-7-8 breathing technique is based on yogic practice and aims at reducing anxiety and promoting easier and better sleep.8

    The above-given exercises are some of the best breathing techniques to get sound sleep and usually show great benefits when practiced regularly. These can be performed under the guidance of an expert or after learning the correct technique from an expert. For individual health concerns or persistent sleep issues, it is advisable to seek medical advice.


Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 4, 2023

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