Breathwork for Sleep

No matter what you eat, how successful you are, no matter how you are loved and how much you work out, if you don’t sleep you won’t feel good. Changing for many especially as you age seems very difficult to change. 

Why should you use breathwork for sleep?

Breathwork is the most effective tool you can use to help you sleep because it will regulate the nervous system to be calm and stress free. Think about it. The two most important things we do everyday that keep us alive and healthy are breathing and sleeping. Breathwork is the simplest, most effective tool for training your mind and nervous system to be relaxed. The intrinsic connection between your breathing and nervous system is the key to being able to rest when the day is done. How you breathe is literally how you live. In the process of sleep, the mind that has been controlled and harnessed during waking hours becomes free to reveal what you are really thinking and feeling. If there is stress and lack of peace during the day it will be reflected in your dreams and in the quality and ability to sleep.

Sleep has become a major topic in recent years as studies have shown its powerful effects on health. An informative book, ‘Why We Sleep,’ by Matthew Walker, goes into great detail on how sleeping well affects our aging process.

Aging and the disruption of sleep

In Chinese medicine, each organ system is given an optimal time for efficiency. The lung time is 3-5am,which  is associated with processing grief and loss. Why? Because we breathe in and out life all day. The power to breathe correctly is the expression of processing life and death itself . 

If we don’t do this correctly you will notice yourself getting up between 3 and 5 when you get older.  We can override this process of life and death when we are young because our  bodies  won’t immediately let us  know there is a problem, bouncing back quickly from an 18 hour work day or a night of drinking. One tends to think of themselves as invincible. As they say, “youth is wasted on the young”. Once we get into our late thirties there is a gradual change that gets more apparent. By 40, we know what parts of our body are weak.  Since every organ system is affected by how much life-force gets taken in and how that force is catalyzed, our health is completely connected to our breathing. 

Around 40 years old most of us become interested in having more internal meaning in our life. Questions of the life yet to be lived are tied to the many ignored issues. Unprocessed material over the span of your life pushes its way to the forefront and your sleep is the first thing affected. In the book ‘Why We Sleep,’Matthew Walker goes into great detail about the cost of living like this. While he says you cannot repair the damage of your past sleep habits including anything from too much screen time, not sleeping, caffeine and poor circadian rhythms, I am a living example that you can change.

breathwork for sleep

My sleep story

As a person with a lot of passion and desire not endowed with particularly good genes for vitality, accompanied by a penchant for anxiety and insecurity, when I was young, I tended to burn the candle at both ends. By 30, my daughter was born and I stopped sleeping. I was under a lot of pressure including my decision to move my family from Toronto to San Francisco. Iwas under stress with a lot to do and found my children to be very disruptive. (can you believe it?). I would get up at 4am and get a lot done before everyone else was up, constantly up in my head and likely not breathing deeply or relaxed. The only mechanism I had for succeeding was pushing and overriding. 

In my late thirties I was on a trip to Colorado where the altitude was 9000 feet and I felt the absolute worst. I was severely run down, not sleeping, night sweating, my teeth hurt, I had gained 20 pounds, my eyes had circles under them. I was tired in the day and wired at night.  I took myself to the doctor (My last trip was in my twenties) and my test results indicated I was imminently on the verge of a heart attack, with cholesterol through the roof. 

On top of worrying about my life and how I would succeed,  I now had a new worry that I could die anytime. The discoveries I made through my personal work showed that the way I was living was wrong; the ability to rest, relax and sleep would have to come from a sense of being ok with the flow of life as well as learning how to live in correct alignment with my creator. 

It took almost 8 years of my life to begin to sort out this trouble and, miraculously, I began to start sleeping again around 48.

Breathwork for sleep

The medicine for a better sleep is your breath. Breath gives us life itself; you do it all day without giving it a thought. You are never without and it is always there to help; a goldmine for health, relaxation and therefore sleep.

Breathwork practice simply means to take the unconscious automatic mechanism of your breath and use it consciously to retrain your nervous system. It’s as simple as that. No religion, book reading, uniforms or pre-requisite instruction required. 

It is unlikely that your way of breathing during the day is optimal or that your body is catalyzing the energy that the breath gives you. Let’s say you take 15-20 breaths a minute that’s over 20,000 breaths a day. If you can make your breathing deep, even and relaxed there is no question that you will relax and sleep better.

Your breath is also your connection to spirit, your bond with life. It is your ability to take in life, catalyze the energy and then send your energy back out into life. 

Breathwork is also a tremendous and potent tool that can connect you to spirit and give you awareness so you can see the bigger picture. When connected to spirit, you know what is really important and can learn to relax, regulate and rest. 

You probably don’t realize that everytime you worry or think a lot, you are definitely holding your breath. Take a moment the next time you are a little upset about something. Where is your breath? The simple practice of watching one’s breath on its own can help in the short term.You can always  notice your breath and/or take a deep breath; breath is free, and, remember,  you don’t need a class or a teacher to take a deep breath.

When you are ready to clear the deeper patterns that are causing you to have a fuzzy mind, negative thinking, poor health and fear then it’s time to try Effiji Breath. 

The purpose of Effiji Breath is to get to the root of limited breathing. Limited breathing goes with limited thinking and leads to a limited life. All  unprocessed experiences from the past must come to the surface to circulate and give you energy; that’s the purpose of Effiji Breath. 

To be effective, it must be done with a guide because the journey of an Effiji Breath session can be intense;  having the support when during a breathwork session is to remind you that you are safe, and to remind you that you are doing this to free yourself of tension and stress that is causing you not to sleep. 

Breathing and sleep are wedded together. One helps the other. Since sleep is harder to control, consider using the miraculous tool of life itself; your breath. 


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Effiji Breath is a conscious hyperventilation practice, focused on the inhale, done over the course of one hour.

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