British Lung Foundation

Sleep problems

Hi all, I'm new here and wondered if anyone could answer a question for me.

I've had problems sleeping for many years so when I heard about breathing techniques guaranteed to get you to sleep.... well I had to try one! It worked and I was asleep within minutes. But what's worrying me is that they work by cutting down the volume of oxygen in the blood and as a copd sufferer my normal level of oxygen is only 94% I'm wondering if reducing it further could be dangerous for me.

Does anyone know the answer to this? I do hope it's ok and won't hurt my remaining grey matter!

Thank you

8 Replies

Welcome. I'm fairly new here too.

Insomnia is frustrating but it won't kill you. I've had insomnia since I was a child but I no longer let it bother me. I read in bed at night and when the print starts to blur or I read the same line three times I know it's time to turn the light off even though I don't feel sleepy. I'm usually asleep within 15 minutes with this routine whereas when I had a definite time to turn out the light I could be awake for at least another two hours.

The more you worry about not falling asleep the longer you'll stay awake worrying about not sleeping. Just take it easy and take it how it comes.

I'm retired now so don't have to get up early in the morning for work. That makes it a lot easier.


Welcome to our site Vallie

I don't know exactly what your talking about. Sounds great! Almost too good to be true. How does it work ? If your oxygen level is 94, what is it when your lying down ? More than likely even lower. I wouldn't want to risk making it lower. What stage are you?

Maybe you could explain how the sleep breathing works to us.

Rubyxx 😊 😊



Any reduction in oxygen is bad for you, using a breathing technique that reduces the oxygen to the brain to induce sleep would be very dangerous, as you mentioned, you are considering reducing It further, which can lead to coma.

This as been linked to a craze of coma inducing breathing to see who can last the longest, people have died.

Seek other means to control you sleep issues.

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I would love to know how it works but I would not be over worried about it taking away all the O2 while you sleep. The human body self regulates to a greater extent. So in my humble opinion if the technique gets you to sleep once you are asleep the body will continue the sleep cycle as normal. I get SA at odd times and that is the body waking me as breathing is wrong or stopped.

Be Well

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Once your asleep your natural breathing will take over but what is it your doing ?


Hi valsie, are you using the breathing technique shown in the Daily Mail based on yoga ?


I bought myself a pillow which incorporates a mini speaker. I plug this into my radio and listen to a talk programme such as LBC. I can set a timer to turn the radio off and I find the monotony of the speech soon sends me to sleep. If I wake again in the night ,which I often do ,I simply reset the timer and start again. The second time I can almost guarantee I will be asleep again in 5 minutes. Other people may prefer to listen to music. I must explain I had to use the speaker pillow option as my husband hates noise when he is trying to sleep..


Hi all. Thank you so much for all the replies and my apologies for not coming back to you earlier.

Yesterday I had one of my pulminary rehab classes so I took the opportunity to ask there.

Firstly for people who hadn't heard about it, the techniques simply consist of breathing in for a count of 2 and then out for a count of 4 (on the Internet there are many variations of this but 2 and 4 suit me). The idea being that after a couple of minutes the brain has less oxygen and so puts you to sleep.

The physios who run my class were initially not in favour of it ... but subsequently went on to talk about a very similar method put out a few years ago by the asthma people!

I'm still confused but overall I think it's worth trying.

The main reason that I was interested is because in a month or so I am having a new hip and this will necessitate having to sleep on my back for the first 6 weeks - something I find almost impossible!

If I get a more positive reply I'll let you know.

Thank you again,



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