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To help you achieve the best sleep possible, we’re giving you a breath awareness exercise from sleep and energy expert, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan’s The Little Book of Sleep. This breath work is a simple tool you can use throughout the day and during the night if required, and is designed to allow you to take yourself effortlessly into a state of rest.   

Do this exercise at least once a day. Ideally, as soon as you wake up, a few times during the day and at night as you’re drifting off to sleep. You don’t have to sit for 5–10 minutes each time, simply bring your attention to your breathing and notice it. That’s all you have to do. Try it if you wake during the night.

1. Sit comfortably on a chair or cross-legged on the floor and close your eyes.

2. Notice whatever you notice – the sounds around you, sensations in your body, thoughts drifting through your mind. Notice your breathing. Just allow it to do whatever it wants to do. Don’t try to change it, just allow it to follow its own rhythm and pace.

3. Now label your breaths. As you breathe in, silently and softly whisper “in”. As you breathe out, whisper “out”. Your inner voice should be soft and sweet, as if you’re putting a baby to sleep.

4. Sit like this for 5–10 minutes, just following your breaths with these soft inner whispers.

The more you practise breath awareness, the more it becomes part of your way of being. Eventually you might not even need to be consciously aware of your breathing – it will happen efficiently of its own volition. This is when you will naturally start to experience sattvic sleep.

More exercises to help you sleep in Dr Nerina Ramlakhan’s The Little Book of Sleep.