Technique: 4-7-8 Breathing

In this exercise, you are timing different stages of your breath, i.e. inhale, pause and exhale, to follow the 4-7-8 pattern. This way of breathing helps you to calm down, promotes relaxation and is believed to encourage sleep. It is best to complete this exercise while you are sitting or lying down.

Try to repeat it regularly and at least twice a day to begin with, especially just before bedtime.

Remember: Breathe as slow or fast as you feel comfortable. You should maintain the proportion 4-7-8 rather than the actual number of counts or seconds you allocate for each stage.

Relax - Breathing - 4-7-8 Breathing

1. In a comfortable position, empty your lungs of air.

2. Breathe in deeply and silently for a count of 4.

3. Hold your breath for a count of 7.

4. Exhale for a count of 8 making a whooshing noise as you do.

5. Repeat this cycle 3-7 times, or until you feel relaxed and ready to sleep.