Petite underbust summertime corset in shimmery Pearl polyester mesh and powder pink cotton twill. - 2011

Breathing and Sleeping In Your Corset

by Fran of Contour Corsets
(Jan. 2011)

Copyrighted and used by permission of the author 

One of the best ways to shape with the least impact on lifestyle is to develop the habit of wearing your corset in bed. Sleeping in the corset will do a lot for shaping, and even if you have to be out of your corset for daytime activities you can still hold your ground and keep your shape by taking tightlacing to bed with you.

One of the keys to comfortable sleep in the corset is to follow my Cycle Method and gradually bring in the laces just where it is conformable. If you typically wake at night for a bathroom visit you will find that you can take it in a little more then. Keep the routine going nightly and as the evenings go by you will find the laces getting a little closer to closed every night.

There are some pointers for keeping this routine, and first on my list is to avoid eating late. A couple hours before you plan to retire it is best to not eat solid foods, and this will allow you to lace down with the least impediment. Another tip is to get into the corset more than an hour before bed, which allows you to settle in and get comfortable, and in doing this you can have the laces adjusted to where you want them before you sleep. As a habit, I keep a full glass of water at my bedside and if I am up for any reason I take a drink so that I stay hydrated too.

The one thing that is essential to sleeping soundly in the corset is proper breathing. “I can’t breathe!” some say when they first wear a tight corset, but of course they are breathing, it is just an impulse from the compression that people can experience when they first start lacing.

By nature, all of us breathe with the diaphragm – it is the large muscle that separates the abdominal and chest cavities. The feeling of ‘not being able to breathe’ is a natural reflex of restricting the motion of the diaphragm, but of course you are still breathing in the corset, and in order to breath ‘naturally’ when laced you have to learn to do it differently. Breathing is controlled by the autonomic nervous system, along with heartbeat, digestion and peristalsis, and blinking. But like blinking, breathing is not completely automatic. Breathing has selective override which allows you to take over control as you wish, or to just forget about it and it will go on automatically. But another aspect of breathing that is controllable is not just when, but how you breathe, and making this change in your natural responses is one of the keys to tightlacing as a discipline.

Changing the way in which you breathe, from the natural low position of the diaphragm to high in the chest is key to living and sleeping well in the corset. Chest breathing is the norm for tightlacers, and with time and patience the body does adjust to adopting this new breathing method. Usually the greatest impedance to sleeping in the corset is that the individual is not yet trained, and as such they are still naturally trying to breathe from the diaphragm. When you sleep you will breathe of course, but it is necessary to have developed autonomic chest breathing to sleep through the night. If not, then you will wake frequently with that feeling I described earlier. If you train for chest breathing during the day and make it a natural part of you then sleeping will be a lot easier to adjust to. It can take several weeks or months to reprogram your body’s life-long tendency to breathe low in favor of high chest breathing, but it does happen.

After years of tightlacing I found that whether I was in or out of the corset that breathing high was always automatic for me. Believe it or not, the body does adapt. This is after all what tightlacing is all about – changing the body, having it adapt to what we impose, and making a new natural state of being. That is the relationship between you and the corset, and it is your dedication and discipline that brings about these changes which transform your body – not just how it looks, but also how it functions and reacts to the world.

Sleep tight everyone!

Petite underbust summertime corset in shimmery Pearl polyester mesh and powder pink cotton twill. - 2011

Petite underbust summertime corset in shimmery Pearl polyester mesh and powder pink cotton twill. – 2011

Please be sure to check out Fran’s custom corsets at

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