Breathing exercises (insomnia)

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Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders which can be caused by numerous factors such as hormonal changes, mental health issues, sleep apnoea, chronic pain and many more health challenges. Not sleeping can be physiologically debilitating and emotionally draining, so when you find it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep and you lie there having difficulties to drift off, you may like to try the following breathing exercise:

 

Conceived and popularised by Dr. Andrew Weil to calm his patients' nervous systems down, this effective 4-7-8 controlled breathing technique is based on an ancient yogic practice, and can help you to fall asleep faster, especially with regular practice.

 

It is simple to do, and involves inhaling for the count of four, holding the breath for the count of seven, and exhaling for the count of eight.

4-7-8 Breathing technique:

Rest the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth right behind top front teeth, and try to keep your tongue in place throughout the practice

1.  with your lips part, exhale from the back of your throat with a whooshing sound, exhaling completely through your slightly opened mouth

2.  close your lips, and inhale gently through your nose counting to four

3.  hold your breath for 7 counts, making sure you are relaxed

4.  exhale with that whooshing out breath through your mouth for the count of eight

With the next inhale, you initiate a new cycle of breath - repeat the pattern 4 x.

 

The speed with which you do this breathing practice doesn’t matter. However, it is important to maintain the ratio of 4-7-8.

 

With practice and time, you can slow the counts down to 1-1.5 seconds per count, but build it up slowly, so it is comfortable for you.

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