Moonbird breathing tools help me cope with stress

By now, everyone knows the power of deep breathing. Whenever you feel stressed, exhausted, or can't sleep, meditation apps, therapists, yoga teachers, and even your best friends are always telling you to focus on your breathing. This advice is simple in theory, but difficult to follow in practice.

Not only is it difficult to learn how to pace your breathing, it's also easy to get distracted and exit a meditation or breathing routine early. (After all, your phone is only inches away.) To truly relax, have something to keep you focused.

Enter: Moonbird, a palm-sized device that "breathes" with you. This cute little tool is designed to guide you through slow-paced breathing exercises by expanding and contracting your hands at the perfect pace. It also features a thumb sensor that measures your heart rate and heart rate variability (HRV) so you know how relaxed you are in real time.

As a stressed out girl, I know my heart rate is erratic and I need to slow down, calm down, take deep breaths more regularly - and really stick with it. That's why I'm glad to have something tangible like Moonbird as a stress relief companion.

Read on for my honest review of this high-tech breathing pacemaker. (Hint: This is my new favorite thing.)

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quick overview

  • Price: $199.00
  • Best for: Breathing exercises, improving sleep, relieving stress
  • My rating: 5/5
  • What we like: Easy to use, calming, effective

What is a moonbird?

moon bird

Stefanie Broes, co-founder and CEO of Moonbird, has struggled to get a good night's sleep for years. To help her relax, she began researching breathing techniques as a possible solution, but felt she needed an intuitive tool to help her do this—and thus Moonbird was born.

Moonbird is an inflatable and deflated handheld respiratory pacemaker. The idea is to match your inhales and exhales to the movement of the device, a bit like your own personal breathing coach. Because it's so small, you can easily use it at home, at work, or while traveling - with or without your phone.

Moonbird also has a built-in heart rate tracker. When you place your thumb on the sensor, it measures your heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV), and cardiac coherence throughout your breathing, which typically lasts several minutes. This biofeedback pops up in real time on the Moonbird app so you can see what's happening.

This tool helps you relax immediately, which is great if you're trying to deal with stress, anxiety, or insomnia, but over time it also teaches you how to breathe better. According to the brand, Moonbird's slow breathing sessions have been proven to reduce stress levels in just 10 minutes and can improve the quality of your sleep by 27% with continued use.

By purposefully taking a minute to relax and breathe at a slow pace guided by Moonbird, you can help activate your body's relaxation response, called the parasympathetic nervous system, which is kind of like a brake on your fight-or-flight stress response.

What is heart rate variability?

Your heart rate variability is the variation between each heartbeat. According to Moonbird, high HRV indicates good balance, resilience and adaptability. This can help you recover from stress and improve performance, concentration, and sleep. You can increase HRV by breathing slowly.

The app also lets you view your heart consistency, tracking how your heart rate syncs with your breathing. This essentially helps measure the balance between the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.

How to use Moonbird

You can pick up the Moonbird and start breathing (it automatically inflates and deflates once you do), or scroll through a series of great breathing techniques on the app. For example, there is a slow "breathing break" where you inhale for five seconds and exhale for five seconds, which helps balance your nervous system.

Another breathing technique that can help you fall asleep is to breathe in for four seconds and breathe out for six seconds. This slightly prolonged exhale has been shown to deepen relaxation and calm the nervous system so you can doze off. Or you can try "box breathing," inhaling four times, holding four times, exhaling four times, and pausing four times to calm your mind.

When you get Moonbird, you should take a few inspiratory breathing sessions so the app can record your natural breathing rate and help you improve your stats over time. You can also set your own breathing rhythm in the app by personalizing the length of your inhales and exhales, so you can slightly adjust your breathing breaks each day.

my experience

moon bird

Right off the bat, my favorite thing about Moonbird is how easy it is to use. I opened the box and found it fully charged and ready to use. First, all I had to do was follow a few simple steps listed inside the box: Gently shake the device awake, place my thumb on the checker, and breathe.

Like magic, the gadget began to expand and contract in my hands . I breathe in when it expands and I breathe out when it deflates. After my first breathing exercise, I downloaded the equally sleek and easy-to-use app, which has a Breathing tab with various breathing exercises, a guide with FAQs, statistics where you can track heart rate numbers) and settings.

Later, I tried the "Suppress Anxiety" breathing technique and discovered in real time that I was actually anxious when my heart rate fully registered. My speed had peaks and valleys, which the meditation guide on the app told me were signs of stress. I also found it difficult to keep up with Moonbird on my second try - which made me realize how much I needed it.

That night I tried the "fall asleep" breathing technique and it was so nice to have a little guide by my side. Normally, I'd stare at TikTok until I passed out, but holding a small device and breathing in and out until I feel more relaxed is a million times more calming.

The next day I did another Curbing Anxiety session and found it a little easier to synchronize my breathing with the tool, and this pattern continued each time I did the session. According to the company, it takes about a month to adjust to the slow breathing and feel the full effects, but I noticed a difference within the first few days. Not only was I more relaxed overall, but I was sleeping better.

What I also like is that you can use Moonbird with the app open, so you can see your heart rate stats, but you can also pick it up anytime and just give yourself a breather—no phone required. This is a big advantage when you want to practice mindfulness but are easily distracted by the Internet (guilty).


Since getting my Moonbird, I've found that I'm much more relaxed than usual. It's recommended that you practice slow breathing at least twice a day for 10 minutes each time to get all the benefits, but honestly, I don't do it enough.

My Moonbird now officially sits on my desk so I can grab it when I need a break, and I find myself reaching for it several times a day. Meditation and breathing really are easier and more fun when you have time and something tangible to do. Therefore, I give Moonbird a 10 out of 10.

Research references:

Tyndall, J. (2023). Neuroanatomy, parasympathetic nervous system. See: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (Florida): StatPearls Publishing; January 2023–. Phone number: 31985934.

Vermeulen, S. (2022). Assessment of sleep problems with a tactile respiratory pacemaker: a mixed methods pilot study . front. number. healthy.