Exploring the Benefits of Deep Breathing Before Sleep
One of the most effective ways to implement deep breathing into your daily routine is the use of breathing techniques for sleep. As discussed in our seventh digital classroom – Deep Breath – breathing exercises can be used during sport, meditation and relaxation. However, deep breathing is also a fantastic tool for people who struggle to fall asleep and can help to address sleep disorders like insomnia.
Benefits of deep breathing before sleep
Thanks to the relaxing nature of breathing exercises, there are numerous benefits of deep breathing before sleep. Research by psychologists in Massachusetts, USA have shown that there are two main benefits of deep breathing before sleep: calming the central nervous system and aiding mindfulness practice.
Calming the central nervous system
When we use deep breathing techniques for sleep, this sends a message to our brain that it is time to unwind and relax. We’re telling our brain to calm down and this has a knock-on effect for the rest of our body. Once our brain starts to relax and feel sleepy, the rest of our body will naturally follow.
As you use your breathing exercises before sleeping, your heart rate slows down and your breathing steadies to a much slower pace. All of this is the body’s natural response to deep breathing, as it embraces relaxation. With increased feelings of relaxation, you’re more likely to fall asleep with ease.
One of the great benefits of deep breathing before sleep is the mindfulness effects. It’s common for our brains to be full and busy after a full day of school or work. We may replay conversations or consider alternative scenarios when we should be trying to sleep. If there’s an ongoing problem that is bothering you or making you anxious – such as an important exam – this can prevent the brain from fully relaxing.
When we use deep breathing techniques for sleep, our brain is forced to focus on controlling our breath rather than the chaos of our thoughts. By quelling the noise in our brain, we are able to reach a state of relaxation far quicker, and drift off to sleep with ease.
Breathing techniques for sleep
There are a variety of breathing techniques that are excellent for improved sleep. Some of the recommended breathing techniques include:
Breathing Technique for Sleep #1: Belly breathing
Belly breathing, or abdominal breathing, encourages deep breathing through the stomach rather than the chest.
You can explore the full intricacies and benefits of this technique in our ‘Why We Should All Try Belly Breathing’ article.
Breathing Technique for Sleep #2: 4-7-8 breathing
The 4-7-8 breathing technique is an excellent breathing exercise to use when you’re struggling to mute your thoughts. By focusing on the count of your breathing, you’re able to let go of other issues that may be preventing you from enjoying a healthy night’s sleep.
Learn how to use this technique along with its benefits in our ‘Discover the 4-7-8 Breathing Method’ blog.
Box breathing is commonly used during meditation practices, making it a perfect breathing technique to use for improved sleep. The use of counting makes it an excellent method for finding mental focus and relaxation.
Learn how to use box breathing, along with the accompanying benefits, in our ‘What is Box Breathing?’ article.
Breathing exercises are an excellent way to improve your sleeping patterns and reap the benefits of deep breathing before sleep. Head to our Deep Breath Hub to find a selection of additional breathing resources, including more techniques, FAQs and videos from breathing experts.