A Breathing Practice to Help You Fall Asleep

Try this tonight!

Do you ever lay there at night unable to fall asleep? There are PLENTY of reasons that could cause or contribute to poor quality sleep, including our schedules, stress levels, the ambiance of our bedroom, what we eat and when we eat it, complex medical conditions, a combination of these things… the list is practically endless. Or sometimes we simply have creative ideas flowing, racing thoughts, or just generally feel activated and unable to relax and actually get some rest! Getting enough QUALITY sleep is so important for the health of our bodies and minds, and while I can’t tackle all sleep issues in one post, I want to leave you with one strategy to try that has worked wonders for me on nights where monkey mind takes over!

The video has full details, and here is a brief description as well:

  1. 1. Find your comfortable sleeping position and take a few full breaths as you check in on where you might be holding unnecessary tension. If you do notice places that are holding, let them relax as you breathe out fully. Let your exhales become long and smooth as you let go of any gripping in your body.
  2. 2. Next, you’ll progressively lengthen your exhales (keep inhales full and smooth, but don’t worry about pacing them with counts)
  • - Start with a comfortably full inhale and a 4-count exhale - do this for a few breaths
  • - Continue inhaling fully, and bring your exhales to a 5-count - do this for a few breaths
  • - Keep inhale the same as you bring your exhales to a 6-count - do this for a few breaths
  • - And so on! (Inhale will always stay the same - just take comfortably full breaths in) Continue gently and progressively lengthening exhale until you get to about an 8 or 10-count exhale, or whatever you feel is your comfortable maximum exhale, remembering to not ever force the breath. Once you’ve gotten to a place that feels like your maximum, continue at that pace until you are able to relax and fall asleep.

The intention here is two-fold. By counting the length of our exhale, we give our mind a place to rest (so that we aren’t so focused on our racing thoughts), and by lengthening exhale progressively and gently, we send signals to our nervous system that promote parasympathetic function, leading us toward “rest and digest” mode.

This is just ONE strategy of many that can be useful, and we can go into other sleep strategies in the future if you are interested. But I hope you will try this on nights where you have some mental activity - let me know if you are able to get to sleep using this technique!

The video is below, and feel free to leave questions or comments! I always love to hear from you :)

Please share this with your friends and family that might benefit from it!

And as always, you are welcome to join me for an online yoga class any time!

You can get your first class FREE by clicking here!

Big hugs,