A breathing-retraining procedure in treatment of sleep-onset insomnia: theoretical basis and experimental findings

Percept Mot Skills. 1995 Apr;80(2):507-13. doi: 10.2466/pms.1995.80.2.507.


Increase in CO2 has a sedative effect upon the central nervous system, and the beginning of sleep coincides with modifications in breathing, decrease in ventilation, and in pCO2 increase. In this paper is described a technique of breathing that is useful in producing drowsiness in a very short time. 46 insomniacs were randomly allocated to either a treatment or control condition. In the former, patients were trained in the breathing process. The control group was taught no breathing process. Latencies to sleep for the insomniacs confirmed that the breathing process was useful in producing drowsiness. Theoretical bases are discussed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arousal / physiology
  • Breathing Exercises*
  • Carbon Dioxide / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / physiopathology
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / therapy*
  • Sleep Stages / physiology


  • Carbon Dioxide