Take a breath

30 day sleep challenge day day 16: 4–7–8 breathing exercise

#8anight

This incredibly simple but effective technique is also known as ‘The Relaxing Breath’. It is being pioneered by Dr. Andrew Weil and is based on pranayama, an ancient Indian practice which means ‘regulation of breath’. It is described to be ‘a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system’ and eases the body into a state of calmness and relaxation. It mimics some of the de-stressing elements of meditation and relaxes your body almost immediately.

Dr Weil recommends practicing relaxation breathing sat up with your back straight, twice a day for six to eight weeks in order to perfect it. Once the technique has been mastered, it becomes more effective and can also be used to deal with tension.

Here are the five simple steps you need to follow:

  1. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound
  2. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of 4
  3. Hold your breath for a count of 7
  4. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound for a count of 8
  5. The above is one breath. Repeat the cycle three more times.

For 30 days we will be taking sleep back to basics and exploring simple, quick and effective techniques you can begin to implement and which hopefully will result in a longer, more restful and restorative night’s sleep. So join us for the 30 day challenge and see if you can start getting your 8 a night.

Use the hashtag #8anight and find us on Twitter @sleepkokoon to share your hints, tips, struggles and successes.