I’m a hypnotist and I have a quick and easy technique to help you relax and sleep at night

I'm a hypnotist and I have a quick and easy technique to help you relax and sleep at night

Many people struggle with sleep, with stressors such as lifestyle crises, among others, causing the kind of anxiety that makes it difficult to relax.

In fact, according to Mattress Online, one in three people in the UK suffer from insomnia – meaning a third of them struggle to get a good night’s sleep.

Now the company’s sleep experts have teamed up with hypnotherapist Claire Longstaff to share tips on how to use self-hypnosis to calm down in times of anxiety.

This is something Claire is an expert in, as she is a lead hypnotherapist at the charity Cavendish Cancer Care, where she has developed a range of finger breathing techniques to help both patients and their loved ones cope with the effects of cancer.

Together, they’ve compiled tips for a meditation practice known as ‘finger breathing’ – a quick and easy self-hypnosis technique that can calm your nerves and help you regain sleep…

With around a third of people in the UK struggling with insomnia, experts have created a list of steps to help you with the self-hypnosis technique of ‘finger breathing’ (stock image).

What is finger breathing?

According to experts: ‘Finger breathing is a form of self-hypnosis that can be used to bring you back to a calmer and more rational state of mind during times of anxiety or restlessness.

‘It involves a combination of touch and controlled breathing, cycling through finger holding and hand movements and focusing on deep inhaling and exhaling.’

They add that studies have shown that effectively controlling your breathing does more than just help you relax mentally.

It can, they claim, promote the release of melatonin, a ‘hormone produced by your brain’s pineal gland that is responsible for regulating your body’s circadian rhythm and managing your normal sleep cycle’.

How to do finger breathing

Working with Cavendish, Mattress Online’s sleep experts compiled a five-step guide on how you can incorporate finger breathing into your routine.

Step 1: Begin lying down or sitting in a comfortable position. Relax your breathing by breathing more deeply and slowly than you normally would.

According to experts, studies have shown that effectively controlling your breathing can help you relax during stressful times

Step 2: Bring the fingers and thumbs of one hand together in a relaxed pinch. Using your other hand, cup and loosely rest your cupped fingertips on your palm. Count to five comfortable breaths while keeping your hands in this position.

Step 3: Switch hands and count five breaths again.

Step 4: Next, make a thumbs up with one hand and then wrap the fingers of the other hand around the opposite thumb. Hold your thumb loosely while counting 5 comfortable breaths. Then switch hands and count five breaths again.

Step 5: Repeat this process on the rest of your fingers, i.e. wrap the fingers of one hand around your opposite index finger and hold for 5 comfortable breaths before switching hands and repeating the process.

Stress can affect the way we breathe, according to experts, who recommend planning regular breathing exercises when stress is not present.

Speaking about the strategy, Cavendish’s corporate wellbeing manager Chloe Angus describes how stress can affect our breathing.

He explains: ‘Our instinctive fight, flight stress response can cause us to automatically speed up or hold our breath during times of stress or general ‘busyness’ and most of the time we don’t notice until we feel stressed.’

He adds that during times of stress, if we can be aware of our breathing and focus on slowing and relaxing our breathing, it can be helpful for relaxation and digestion.

Chloe continued: ‘Making a habit of paying some attention to our breath at different times of the day can help manage emotions and stressors and give ourselves moments to pause and refocus in the present moment.

‘If you’re not stressed we’d recommend planning to do regular breathing exercises, if we know something, we’ll remember to use it when we need it most.’


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here