Breathing Exercises for Better Sleep

Woman on Yoga Mat doing breathing exercise
Written by Ron Martin
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3 minutes

With everything going on in the world today, it can be tough to get a good night’s sleep, especially if you already have difficulty drifting off to bed. While Ubiquinol helps promote energy production, it should not affect your ability to sleep. Still, it’s a good idea to know about some simple ways to help you sleep. One method for addressing difficulty sleeping is self-regulating your breathing. Breathing deeply, when done correctly, can help create melatonin in the body, a natural hormone that helps cue your body to sleep. Having breathing exercises on hand for nights when you can’t get some shut-eye is a good idea.

Read more: Stress and Sleep

Breathing Exercises To Calm Down & Promote Sleep

Here are some basic breathing exercises that you can try if you’re having a tough time falling asleep.

Box Breathing

One of the easiest methods of regulated breathing to learn is called “box breathing.” This is a breathing exercise that Navy SEALs are trained to use in stressful situations. In box breathing, you envision the shape of a box, and you breathe in for a four count, as though you are moving up one side of a box. Then, following along the top of the box, you hold your breath for four counts, after which you breathe out for the next count of four as you imagine moving down the other side of the box. Then you hold your breath for a four count as you imagine moving across the bottom of the box. Repeat this process until you’ve traced the box as many times as necessary. In this breathing method, focusing on a visual aid helps provide a distraction from your stress and your sleeplessness.

Triangle Breathing

Similar to box breathing, “triangle breathing” asks you to focus on the visual image of a triangle. But unlike in box breathing, instead of breathing in and then out for a specific count per side of the box, triangle breathing asks you to perform a different breathing process per side of the triangle. You’ll spend three seconds on each side. For the first side, you’ll breathe in for three counts. On the second side, you’ll hold your breath for three counts. Then on the final side, you’ll breathe slowly out for three counts. Breathing in this way can help physically slow your heart rate, so you can relax more easily.

4-7-8 Breathing

In 4-7-8 breathing, the goal is mental as much as it is physical. Each move in the breathing sequence is meant to help you breathe out the negative energy of the day and breathe in the calmness of night. First, part your lips, then forcefully exhale with an audible whooshing sound. You’ll want to make sure all of your lungs are empty of air. Then, inhale through your nose for four seconds. Follow that by exhaling slowly and steadily for seven seconds. Then you’ll want to hold your breath for a full eight seconds. Repeat, if you can. This breathing exercise can also help you build up lung capacity and stamina over time.

Related: Building a Nighttime Routine

These are just a few ways that deep breathing exercises can help you relax as part of your nighttime routine. Make a goal to practice one each weeknight for the next week, and then on Friday, choose the exercise that worked best for you. There are plenty of other breathing exercises out there to learn, too.

Written by:

Ron Martin

Vice President of the Nutrients Division

Ron Martin is the Vice President of the Nutrients Division at Kaneka North America. Ron’s dedication to lifelong learning and belief that “one cannot know too much” inspired a decades-long career centered around educating the public about health.

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