Breathing Exercises


Daily routines for sleep, dreams, and mindfulness.

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Breathing Exercises

DreamWell offers a number breathing exercises to help you calm the body and mind as a way to sleep.

We can not make the conscious decision to fall asleep. Rather, we can only create the conditions for sleep to arise. Generally, if we have a healthy relationship with sleep, sleep can come easily and naturally. We shut off the lights, we lay down, we may think about the day, and then sleep comes. We wake up 7-9 hours later feeling refreshed.

However, sleep difficulties are common. People can have trouble falling asleep. People can have trouble staying asleep. Have difficulties sleeping makes it clear that we can never consciously decide to sleep. We simply do not decide to sleep.

Rather, we can only create the conditions for falling asleep. We shut off the lights. We make sure there isn’t loud music playing. We lay in bed.

But, if the body is tense and stress, it will be difficult to sleep. If the mind is tense and stressed it will be diffcult to sleep.

And it is so easy to get wrapped in stress thoughts or things that make us angry. These type of thoughts seems to take over the mind. The more I think about something that stresses me out, the more I want to think about it. I will feel angrier the more I think about something that makes me angry.

So, breathing exercises are design to interrupt these thoughts. They are intended to calm the body. They are intended to calm and occupy the mind so that sleep can come.

Types of breathing techniques

There are a number of different breathing techniques that can help you fall asleep. Find the one that works best for you.

There is no way to do these wrong. There is no right way to do these techniques. The point is to follow the instructions and let your breathing calm your body and mind.

Almost all breathing techniques will operate on the three apsects of the breath:

  • inhalation
  • holding
  • exhalation

We offer 478 breathing, in which the inhalation lasts for 4 seconds, holding lasts for 7 seconds, and exhalation lasts for 8 seconds. Likewise in 234 breathing, the inhalation lasts for 2 seconds, holding lasts for 3 seconds, and exhalation lasts for 4 seconds. Additionally there is 444 breathing (or boxed breathing) in which the inhalation, holding, and exhalation last for equal durations of 4 seconds.

There are additional ways to work with the breath in order to create the conditions for sleep. In Counting the Breath, we simply breath at a natural rhythm, but we count each exhale starting at 1 and ending at 5. Once we’ve counting to 5 breaths, we simply start over at 1. Again, this slowed natural breathing will calm the body. Counting will occupy the mind as sleep comes.

The breath is also used as a part of mindfulness. Using the breath as a mindful practices is introduced in the practice Basic Mindfulness.

What to expect

Most breathing techniques practices in DreamWell are between 8 and 15 minutes. They will contain a short introduction to introduce the technique and allow you to get settled. After that, the technique begins.

You can listen to these practices as part of your bed time routine or immediately before sleep. You can listen to these during the day for a moment of rest.

The point is to sleep well, so find the technique that works for you.

Why will this help

Breathing techniques are helpful because we cannot force sleep to come. Rather we can just create the conditions for sleep to come. Sleep generally won’t come if we are in a bright room, standing up, and listening to loud music. Rather, we turn off the lights, turn the music down or off, and lay down in bed.

Likewise sleep generally won’t come if we are bodies are tense and stressed. It will be difficult to sleep if our minds are fixated on stress or we’re engaged in thinking about things that make us angry. Breathing techniques will help because slower breathing will calm the body. Focusing on the technique will occupy and relax the mind.

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