Breathing exercises to help you fall asleep

Breathe in, breathe out – fall asleep! Calming breathing techniques can help with relaxation and help you fall asleep in the evening. We will show you various breathing exercises that are particularly suitable for finding sleep without stress.

Table of Contents

  1. Relaxation and calming before bed
  2. The best breathing exercises for falling asleep
    1. Deep, conscious breathing
    2. Alternative breathing
    3. The box breathing
    4. The 4-7-8 technique
  3. Conclusion

1. Relaxation and calming before bed

Stress and tension are often responsible for the fact that we can't really switch off and fall asleep in the evening. That's why it's important that we can relax sufficiently, especially in the last few hours before going to bed - for example with certain breathing exercises.

Calming breathing techniques are among the most effective methods against stress, because our breathing is not only fundamental to our physical function, but also closely connected to our mind. Controlled deep breathing ensures a sufficient supply of oxygen in our body and brain, regulates blood pressure and the cardiovascular system and has a positive effect on the areas of our nervous system that are responsible for relaxation. This can help you calm down better and fall asleep more quickly after a stressful day.

Breathing exercises can also be easily integrated into everyday life or the evening routine and can also be easily used in acute stressful situations if necessary. We'll show you a few simple exercises that have proven to be effective against stress and trouble falling asleep. However, you have to try out for yourself which method will ultimately help you best and lead to fatigue.

2. The best breathing exercises for falling asleep

#1 Deep, conscious breathing

Fundamental to the success of all breathing techniques is learning to concentrate on your own breathing and to breathe in and out really deeply without losing attention to what is inside. Basically, you should try to breathe through your nose and not your mouth. When breathing through the nose, the incoming air is warmed, cleaned and humidified and up to 20% more oxygen can be absorbed than when breathing through the mouth.

#2 Alternate breathing (Nadi Shodana Pranayama)

smartsleep Schlafmagazin: Atemübungen zum Einschlafen, Wechselatmung

Alternative breathing is also known in yoga as Nadi Shodana Pranayama and is used to calm and balance the internal energetic currents. The relaxing effect of the breathing technique has been proven in various studies and is an easy way to relieve nervousness or tension before sleeping.

Here's how it works: In alternate breathing, you breathe alternately through the left and right nostrils. Hold your right nostril closed with your thumb and slowly breathe in deeply through your left nostril. Hold your breath for about 4 seconds, then release your thumb and exhale through your right nostril. Then hold the left side of your nose, inhale on the right side and let the air flow out through the left nostril. So simply put: inhale on the left, hold, exhale on the right. Inhale on the right, hold, exhale on the left and repeat again. You should repeat this switching process for a few minutes.

smartsleep Schlafmagazin: Atemübungen zum Einschlafen, Wechselatmung aus dem Yoga Nadi Shodana Pranayama

#3 The Box Breathing

Box breathing is particularly suitable in acute moments of fear and stress, as it works quickly and easily against built-up stress and tension. But this breathing technique can also be very helpful before going to bed and can lead to more relaxation and better sleep. Because of its consistent four-part rhythm, it is also known as “square breathing”.

Here's how to do it: Control your breath flow using a simple four-way rhythm: Take a deep breath for four seconds, hold your breath for four seconds, exhale deeply for four seconds, and take a small breath for four seconds Take a break. Repeat this process as often as you like or until you feel enough relaxation in your body and mind.

smartsleep Schlafmagazin: Atemübungen zum Einschlafen, Box Breathing, Square Breathing

#4 The 4-7-8 breathing

The 4-7-8 technique is a well-known breathing technique that is said to help combat anxiety and panic attacks and also make it easier to fall asleep. The exercise consists of focusing on the rhythm of breathing to allow more oxygen into the body and more carbon dioxide out of the body. It can be used while sitting, lying down or standing, for example immediately before sleeping or immediately after waking up.

Here's how to do it: Breathe in deeply through your nose for about 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds and then breathe for 8 out through your mouth for seconds. You should repeat this sequence at least four times and ideally complete the entire exercise regularly.

smartsleep Schlafmagazin: Atemübungen zum Einschlafen, 4-7-8-Methode Atemtechnik

3. Conclusion

  • Healthy, controlled breathing has a positive effect on physical and mental well-being, promotes relaxation and makes it easier to fall asleep.
  • Special breathing techniques such as alternate breathing (Nadi Shodana Pranayama), box breathing or the 4-7-8 technique help to relieve stress and tension and thus enable a good night's sleep.

Greetings and relax!

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