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Having a good night’s sleep helps to regulate your blood pressure, but sleeplessness affects many people.
One survey found that more than 50% suffer from insomnia and most blame stress. Stress switches on your body’s fight or flight response so your muscles tense, heart rate rises, blood pressure increases and your breathing quickens in anticipation of action.
While this may be useful at times during the day, it’s counter-productive when trying to get to sleep. A simple exercise known as the 4-7-8 breath technique can switch off the stress response and help you drift off more quickly. It works on the principle that breathing influences physiology and thought processes, including moods. Done at least twice a day, the results improve with practice.
Simply breathe in for four seconds, hold the breath for seven seconds and exhale completely to a count of eight. Repeat up to four times. Some users have reported being able to get to sleep within a minute using the technique.