By Dr. Artour Rakhimov, Alternative Health Educator and Author - Last updated on August 9, 2018
The Table below for breathing parameters and shorter sleep is based on the clinical experience of about two hundred Russian doctors teaching the Buteyko breathing method, as well as yoga data. Lowest sleep duration (maintained for months or years) is about 2 hours naturally. Some of these medical doctors actually had 2 hours of sleep. These MDs have taught thousands of people to increase their body-oxygen levels by breathing slower and less 24/7, during sleep too. This also naturally prevents any signs of being tired.
Body oxygen test result
Duration of sleep
Quality of sleep
Often >10 hours
Often very poor
Often >9 hours
In this video, Dr. Artour Rakhimov explains the origins of this Table: how breathing (measured using the body oxygen test or the morning CP) relates to the duration and quality of sleep: Breathing and sleep duration (hours)
My practical observations
with hundreds of my students agree with these general observations:
slower breathing and higher body-oxygen levels naturally reduce duration of
sleep and improve its quality, while improving daily performance and function.
Sleeping for 4.5 hours only (or even less): practice
Ancient hatha yoga
manuscripts claim that yoga masters (with over 3 min for the body-oxygen test
and about 6-9 minutes for maximum breath holding time)
sleep naturally for 2 hours only. These are ideal results. My students who got up to about 60 s for the morning CP test, commonly slept for about 4-5 hours only. With around 30-40 seconds for the morning body O2 test, sleeping about 6 hours is very common. Now we can suggest a scientific explanation to
this effect since hatha yoga training is based on slowing down or calming the
breath (see Yoga pages).
Hence, in order to sleep less and down to about 4 hours only, naturally, and without any negative effects on
the nervous system, one needs to learn how to breathe in accordance with Dr. Buteyko norms for breathing. See Learning section of this site for this breathing retraining program.
Short-term lifestyle factors for shorter sleeping time
In order to get shorter sleep, one needs to understand a difference between short-term lifestyle factors and long-term goals.
Here are key lifestyle factors for sleeping less and better naturally:
Mouth taping. If your mouth is dry, when you wake up, tape it (see
the link below for instructions).
2. Right sleep positions: ideally, sitting, then prone (on the chest)
or the left side. Try to avoid the right side and always avoid supine sleep
(or on the back) that causes tiredness.
3. Grounding. Earthing provides free electrons for the nerve and
muscle cells and dramatically improves quality of sleep in people
with sleeping problems.
4. Fewer blankets. Create as cold conditions as possible (just
enough to fall asleep). For keeping yourself warmer, use a jacket or coat,
but not another blanket.
5. Hard surface. Sleep on a hard surface (e.g., on a wooden floor
covered with 1 or 2 layers of a thin blanket).
It is good if you wake up at night feeling uncomfortable due to a too tough
surface and cold conditions.
If you do not believe, try the opposite ideas and see the effects:
breathe more and through the mouth, sleep on your back, ungrounded, with
many warm blankets, and on a very soft bed. I encourage my students to test
these ideas in practice.
You can find more information with extra details and a systematic approach to sleep and related lifestyle factors in Dr. Artour Rakhimov's book "Sleep Better and Less - Naturally".