Most of us spend around one third of our lives sleeping. That is based on the idea that, on average, people get about 8 hours of sleep each and every night. However, averages do not represent everyone and lots of people do not get the recommend amount of nightly shut eye.
There is nothing worse than crawling into a warm, comfortable bed and not being able to fall asleep. It can be pure torture. If you have ever stayed up all night staring at the clock, watching the minutes tick slowly by, then you know the dreadful feeling. Many of us try in vain to lull our mind and body into sleep mode, and fail.
There are many things out there to help people sleep better, from sleeping pills, melatonin, warm baths, counting sheep, and eating or restricting certain foods before bed. Some of them work and most of them fail to produce the desired effects, it all depends on what works for each individual.
One tried and true way that has helped many people fall asleep faster is the “4-7-8” breathing technique. It was popularized by Dr. Andrew Weil, a world renowned expert on holistic health and a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine. The breathing exercise can be done anytime, anywhere, anyplace and is incredibly simple.
Start by placing the tip of your tongue against the area of tissue right behind your upper front teeth, and it should stay there all throughout this entire exercise. Exhale at all times through your mouth and people have found that it can help if you try pursing your lips slightly.
Begin by exhaling completely through your mouth, expelling the air with a whoosh sound. Then close your mouth and without making a sound inhale through your nose for a count of four. After that, hold your breath for a count of seven seconds and then you can exhale completely through your mouth, again making a whoosh sound and to a count of eight.
All that should have been one complete breathe cycle and the exhalation part should have taken you twice as long as the inhalation portion. Repeat the process for three more cycles and a total of four breaths. Dr. Weil describes this breathing exercise as a “natural tranquilizer for the nervous system.”
It only gets stronger and more effective with repeated practice. You should aim to do it twice a day, whether it is to relieve tension, stress, upsetting events, or when you’re trying to fall asleep. Anyone and everyone can benefit from the measured breathing technique because it makes you mindful and focused on your breathing, rather than on the stress or thoughts that are keeping you up at night.
Check out the video for more information on the benefits of the 4-7-8 breathing technique from Dr. Weil himself. Perhaps this simple breathe trick can help you get a better, more restful nights sleep, and if that is a possibility then you definitely do not want to pass it by!