The majority of Brits find nodding off at night difficult, but a simple breathing technique could help us get all the sleep we need, according to one scientist.
Dr Andrew Weil says the 4-7-8 breathing technique can help us fall asleep in just 60 seconds, by filling our lungs with oxygen and helping us feel connected to our body.
The exercise can be done in any position, but on his popular YouTube channel, Weil recommends sitting with your back straight while learning the exercise.
Completing the exercise is simple. First, place your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth. Exhale completely through your mouth.
Then, close your mouth and inhale through your nose while counting to four before holding your breath for a count of seven.
Finally, exhale through your mouth making a “whoosh” sound for the count of eight.
Repeat the cycle three more times and you’ll soon be sleeping like a baby, says Weil.
“The really interesting changes happen after about four to six weeks of doing this regularly. You will see wonderful changes in your body,” he adds in one YouTube video.
“This slows heart rate, lowers blood pressure and improves digestion.”
Weil isn’t the first person to suggest that our breathing habits can alter our ability to sleep.
Blogging on HuffPost UK Lifestyle, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, a physiologist, sleep and stress management expert at the Nightingale Hospital, previously said “to sleep well you need to breathe well”.
“This means breathing deeply from the lower part of the lungs in the diaphragm/belly area,” she added.
“If you grind your teeth, yawn or sigh habitually as well as suffering from sleep problems, this could be a sign that your poor breathing patterns are affecting your sleep.
“Sign up for a Pilates or yoga class where there is an emphasis on breathing techniques.”