Left Nostril Breathing for Insomnia and to Ease Anxiety and Cravings

Here is the technique for left nostril breathing for insomnia and to ease anxiety.

This method of breathing helps calm the nervous system and has been found to reduce stress and anxiety scores in day to day life. It is also helpful in preparing the body for sleep and to sooth restlessness and sleeplessness.  When you breathe only through the left nostril, it also helps curb compulsive eating habits. This technique activates the parasympathetic nervous system by breathing through the left nostril, including digestion, elimination, sleep cycles, dilates blood vessels, decreases pupil size, and other metabolic processes.

If your mind is racing or you just can’t fall asleep, left nostril breathing is a great non-pharmaceutical remedy. In addition, I find it very helpful to sit for 11 minutes every evening just before bed and use this breathing technique to settle down at the end of the day, giving my body the signal that it’s time to sleep.

Please note that in this breathing technique, one inhales through the left nostril. You can exhale out of either the left or right side, but to get the calming benefit of this practice, you must inhale in through the left nostril. Yoga students reported that their sleep improved after one week of this breathing practice, or pranayama.

The Steps to Left Nostril Breathing:

Block off the right nostril with your thumb or finger and breathe in through your left nostril only. Exhale through the right nostril. Use slow, even, deep breaths in and out, inhaling fully before exhaling and exhaling fully before inhaling again.

Repeat this breathing practice for 3 to 11 minutes.

I encourage you try to incorporate this breathing technique into your daily life. Observe any changes in your general level of anxiety and in your sleeping pattern.

Let me know in the comments below how this practice works for you.

For more helpful breathing methods to help manage stress and chronic pain, go here.

Left nostril breathing

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6 Responses

    1. Yes, Mark, they sure are. I’m glad the hypnosis tapes are working for you, too. Thank you for reading and commenting.

    1. Thank you for the question, Jon. This pranayama is taught both ways — either exhaling through the left or exhaling through the right. The inhale on the left side is what stimulates the calming center in the brain.

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