This exercise will help you fall asleep peacefully even in stressful situations.The creator of this technique is a Harvard professor, Dr. Andrew Weil. This breathing technique is also known as 4-7-8 and it changes the physiology of your body and improves your state of mind.
This yoga method may be the easiest and cheapest way to achieve deep relaxation in the midst of a completed life schedule, which will allow you to quickly fall asleep.
4-7-8 breathing exercise – how to perform it?
Do the exercise in a position that is comfortable for you: sitting, standing, lying down. If you are sitting, keep your back straight.
Place the tip of the tongue behind the upper front teeth and hold it there for the duration of the exercise.
- Breathe completely through your mouth, making a windy sound (Whoosh sound).
- Breathe in quietly through your nose at point four
- Hold your breath and count to 7
- Exhale through your mouth, while releasing the Whoosh sound, count to 8.
This is one cycle. Repeat the cycle four times. You may fall asleep before you finish the last repetition.
Exhalation is two times longer than inhalation. It is important to maintain a ratio of 4-7-8 while exercising. Set the counting during breathing.
You may need to start counting faster, and then move towards a slower pace until you get used to the routine. Speed is not important, the proper ratio is the one who brings positive effects.
Dr. Weil recommends that you use this technique when you feel stressful, so you can deal better with your emotions and get a better balanced reaction. He suggested that you repeat the exercise at least twice a day, preferably in the morning and the evening.
Always do 4 repetitions. After a month, you can increase the session at 8 repetitions. Over time, once you’re familiar with the routine of breathing, it will be easier to use this technique in everyday situations.
How does it work?
When you feel anxious, or you are stressed, more adrenaline is released into the bloodstream. The heart pumps faster and the breathing becomes shallower and faster. You might even hold your breath in an unnatural way.
When you apply 4-7-8 the technique, you extend the breathing, so that way you are taking more oxygen. When you hold your breath, the oxygen begins to travel through the body, and then it is slowly releasing the carbon dioxide by breathing out is in a controlled manner.
You will feel that your heart rate slows down, and you might even experience a mild drowsiness, that’s because this technique works in a similar way as a sedative. It activates the parasympathetic part of the brain, in that way you feel relaxed and calm.
When is this technique used?
- When you’re trying to fall asleep.
- If you wake up during the night.
- When you get angry.
- When you feel anxious or frightened.
- Every time you feel the need to relax.
Here’s a video that explains how to use the 4-7-8 breathing technique!
Video by: Andrew Weil, M.D