Using Breathwork for Relaxing Sleep

Feeling a bit jacked up before bed? Try breathwork-the simplest yet most powerful tool for instantly hitting the reset button on a frazzled mind and body.

As someone who’s struggled with insomnia and anxiety, I’ve found breathwork to be a total lifesaver over the years. Whether it’s quieting my racing thoughts at bedtime or calming myself during a stressful day, these simple breathing techniques have become my go-to relaxation ritual. 

In fact, I keep a sticky note on my car dashboard that simply says “Breathe” as a reminder to take a beat and re-center whenever I’m feeling frazzled in traffic or overwhelmed in general. A few conscious inhales and exhales are like giving my brain an emergency chill pill!

I’ve experimented with all sorts of breathwork practices, but here are some of my favorites for managing stress and priming myself for quality sleep:

Box Breathing (4-4-4-4): Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4, exhale for 4, hold for 4 – repeat. This technique used by military and first responders helps quiet a busy mind.

4-7-8 Breathing: Inhale for 4, hold for 7, exhale for 8. This “relaxing breath” naturally lowers anxiety by activating the parasympathetic nervous system.

Belly/Diaphragmatic Breathing: Focus your inhales into your belly instead of chest for full oxygen exchange. The goal is slow, deep breaths to trigger relaxation.

Alternate Nostril Breathing: Use your thumb and fingers to inhale through one nostril and exhale the other, alternating sides. This balancing breath helps promote mental clarity.

The best part about breathwork is that you can do it anywhere, anytime – no equipment or flat ab photos required! At home, at work, at the gym, at a stoplight (safely) – just a few controlled breaths can reboot your calm.

For best results with sleep, practice for 5-10 minutes either during your evening wind-down or right in bed if your mind is racing. The repetitive inhales and exhales lull your body into its natural rest and digest mode. 

I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve averted an insomnia episode by simply tuning into my breath instead of my anxious mental chatter. With commitment, it becomes a powerful coping tool.

So next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, instead of reaching for unhealthy crutches – try accessing that free, natural relaxation resource inside your body. A few conscious inhales and exhales might just be the super(deep) breath of fresh air you need!

Share the Post: