When stress levels are high it can be difficult to get a good night's sleep - but there's a secret to calming the mind before bedtime. It's all down to breath regulation.
If anxiety is getting in the way of your shut-eye, this simple exercise could be the answer to a few more hours kip.
Dr Andrew Weil's 4-7-8 method uses a yoga breathing technique to relax and de-stress. It's also recommended for dealing with cravings, lowering the heart rate and improving digestion. Best of all, this exercise takes up no time and requires no equipment. Here's what you need to do:
1. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise.
2. Exhale through your mouth, letting all the air out.
3. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
4. Hold your breath for a count of seven.
5. Blow air out forcefully your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight. This is one breath.
6. Now inhale again and repeat three more times for a total of four cycles.
Dr. Weil recommends doing this twice a day for six to eight weeks to really notice a difference in your stress levels, but never go through more than four cycles at once. It's desirable to slow the breathing down if you can.
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