You’ve tried a warm bath, a hot, milky drink and even counting sheep, but you’re still lying wide awake wondering why you can’t fall asleep.
Now, one scientist claims he has a way of getting insomniacs to slip into a slumber in just 60 seconds – and it doesn’t involve prescription drugs or strange lighting. The so called 4-7-8 Breath Exercise (also known as the Relaxing Breath) is the perfect, portable stress antidote, as it puts the practitioner in a relaxed state almost immediately.
It was pioneered by Arizona-based Dr. Andrew Weil who says on his YouTube channel:
‘It is utterly simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere.’
How it works
The technique is based on pranayama, an ancient Indian practice that means ‘regulation of breath.’ Since breathing is something we can control and regulate, it is a useful tool for achieving a relaxed and clear state of mind.
As the Zen Buddhist monk, Thích Nhất Hạnh puts it, “Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”
The Harvard-trained doctor behind it claims that 4-7-8 is such a powerful technique because it allows oxygen to better fill the lungs.
‘This exercise is a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system,’ he says.
This extra oxygen can have a relaxing effect on the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness.
Fall asleep in 60 seconds
- Exhale completely through your mouth while making a ‘whoosh’ sound.
- Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
- Now hold your breath for a count of seven.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making another whoosh sound for eight seconds in one large breath.
- Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three times for a total of four breaths.
Dr. Weil suggests practicing the technique twice a day, for six to eight weeks until you’ve mastered it enough to fall asleep in just 60 seconds.
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