A yoga instructor recommends doing these three breathing exercises before bed to help you fall asleep faster

Taking the time to do breathwork before bed could help you drift off quickly and sleep more peacefully

Woman in white tank top and black leggings sat meditating on yoga mat in living room
(Image credit: Getty Images)

At the end of a long day, we all want to fall asleep quickly, but it can be impossible to drift off when your mind is spinning. Breathwork can be a powerful tool if you’re struggling to doze, as it helps you unwind and relax into sleep. 

We spoke to yoga and meditation teacher, Bhavini Vyas, who gave us some tips on how to prepare for sleep with conscious breathing. She outlined three exercises to try if you're struggling to snooze. So slip into your pyjamas, adopt a comfortable, upright position, then follow the instructions below. 

Gaiam premium 5mm printed yoga mat: was $29.99, now $19.99

Gaiam premium 5mm printed yoga mat: was $29.99, now $19.99

Save $10 Black Friday is a month away but there are already some good deals on yoga mats. We like this ultra-cheap option from Gaiam yoga, which comes in at less than $20. At 5mm, it's a thick mat which provides plenty of support— ideal for beginners. 

1. Alternate nostril breathing

Woman in black vest and trousers, wearing a beaded necklace, sitting on a yoga mat and practicing alternate nostril breathing

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Sit comfortably on the floor and position your left hand in a ‘chin mudra’, gently touching your thumb and forefinger together and allowing the rest of your fingers to relax on your lap. 
  • Take your right hand and gently place your thumb on the outside of your right nostril. Your forefinger and middle finger should rest lightly on your forehead, while your ring and little finger should rest gently on the outside of your left nostril. 
  • Keep your eyes closed. Inhale through both nostrils. Close the right nostril with your right thumb and exhale through the left.
  • Inhale through the left nostril, then close this nostril using your ring finger. Open the right nostril and exhale through this nostril. This completes one round.

Repeat for six to nine rounds, allowing your breath to become long, deep, and silent as you alternate it between each nostril.

2. Brahmari Pranayama

  • Gently place your fingers on the outside of your ears. Take a deep breath in, and exhale making a soft humming sound. 
  • As you hum and exhale, gently open and close your ears with your fingers. You should hear a rhythmic buzzing noise. 

This exercise is also known as the humming bee breathing technique. Complete it at least three times in this pre-bed routine. 

3. Brahmari Part two

Yoga teacher Bhavini Vyas performs Brahmari breathing exercise next to a potted plant

(Image credit: Bhavini Vyas)
  • Close your eyes and place your thumbs on the outside of each ear. Your forefingers should rest over each eyelid, your middle fingers on the outside of your nose, your ring fingers above your top lip, and your little fingers towards your chin. 
  • Take a long, deep breath in. Exhale and make a humming sound. 
  • Gently open and close your ears again, so that you hear a rhythmic buzzing sound. 

Repeat this last exercise at least three times, then lie down and rest in your bed. 

Bhavini Vyas
Bhavini Vyas

Bhavini Vyas is a breathwork, yoga & Vedic meditation teacher. She is also a devotional singer. She served as the UK Coordinator for the Sri Sri School of Yoga for 8 years, has her own studio in London’s Marylebone (Kanga Studio), and has contributed to the BreatheSMART & PrisonSMART program in the UK and Europe, as well as refugee activities conducted under the International Association for Human Values (IAHV).  

Need some guidance on what mat to buy? Have a look through our round-up of the best yoga mats

Lou Mudge
Fitness Writer

Lou Mudge is a Health Writer at Future Plc, working across Fit&Well and Coach. She previously worked for Live Science, and regularly writes for Space.com and Pet's Radar. Based in Bath, UK, she has a passion for food, nutrition and health and is eager to demystify diet culture in order to make health and fitness accessible to everybody.

Multiple diagnoses in her early twenties sparked an interest in the gut-brain axis and the impact that diet and exercise can have on both physical and mental health. She was put on the FODMAP elimination diet during this time and learned to adapt recipes to fit these parameters, while retaining core flavors and textures, and now enjoys cooking for gut health.