Breathing Technique: Not being able to get to sleep honestly one of the most frustrating things on the planet. It’s happened to everyone – you’ve finished a good old Netflix binge and just brushed your teeth, and you’re sinking back into the pillow, ready for a lovely, well-deserved snooze.
PING. Those eyes are suddenly wide open, and that brain has started whirring at an even faster rate than it has done all day. You toss and turn in vain, but it ain’t happening. You count sheep, cursing whichever liar told you that would work. You flick through Instagram for another 10 minutes – only to realise that you’re now more awake than you were before.
It always feels like sleep evades you when you need it most, and not a single trick in the book will work.
Well, according to Wonderful Engineering, one Harvard-trained medical doctor thinks he’s cracked it with one very simple technique – which will apparently send you off to the elusive land of nod within 60 seconds.
Andrew Weil, who specialises in holistic health, reckons that it’s all about breathing. The technique is called the 4-7-8 breathing exercise, or the ‘Relaxing Breathe’, and its designed to promote good sleep.
Weil said: “Breathing strongly influences physiology and thought processes, including moods. By simply focusing your attention on your breathing and without doing anything to change it, you can move in the direction of relaxation.”
It’s actually really simple to do, and can be broken down into four simple steps. It’s recommended that you sit with your back straight while first learning the exercise and place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, keeping it there if you can. If this feels weird you can purse your lips instead, kind of like a pout… so yeah, also a bit weird.
Anyway, here are the steps:
Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
Hold your breath for a count of seven.
Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
At this point you should be asleep. Still with us? Hello? HELLO.
If you are still with us then it’s probably because you haven’t quite nailed the technique. Keep trying until you feel relaxed. It’s advised that you practice twice a day for two months to really master it.
The reason this supposedly works is because it helps silence the racket of preoccupying thoughts in your mind, and in the long run can really help with stress.