How to practice ‘lengthened breathing’ exercises to sleep better

The next time you feel like you can’t get any sleep because of anxious thoughts or any other reason, try the lengthened-breath technique to see if it does the trick for you. Photo: Pexels

(Natalie Arroyo Camacho/ Well and Good) — It’s probable that you’ve looked for and found at least some tricks to help you fall asleep in record time. But it never hurts to add more tools to your sleep-habits arsenal. After all, when we’re not getting enough sleep, we put ourselves at risk for various health concerns, like disrupted concentration and a weakened immune system.

To avoid those sleep deprivation effects, three sleep experts say it’s a good idea to become familiar with and practice lengthened breathing exercises for sleep, which is essentially inhaling through your nose for a few seconds and then exhaling through your mouth for twice as long. Practicing it, they say, can help you drift off to sleep effortlessly by facilitating a state of calm.

Breathing in deeply and calmly through the nose and out through the mouth signals to your parasympathetic system, which helps you calm down, that “it’s time to transition into sleep,” says Raj Dasgupta, MD, FAASM, sleep expert and spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.