It's based on ancient yoga practice but it can lower your blood pressure, beat stress, improve health and might even cure your insomnia.
You've tried taking a hot shower at 8.30 pm, you've drunk milk before going bed, pictured yourself lying in a canoe on a calm lake with nothing but blue sky above and you've even resorted to counting sheep, but you're still lying wide awake wondering why you can't fall asleep.
Now, doctors have claimed there's a way to slip into a slumber in just 60 seconds – and it doesn't involve prescription drugs, strange lighting or any of the tried-and-tested methods above. Dubbed the 4-7-8 breathing technique, the method is described as a 'natural tranquiliser for the nervous system' helping to reduce tension in the body.
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Harvard trained medical doctor, Dr Andrew Weil, first introduced the “4-7-8” breathing technique to help people alleviate anxiety and sleep quicker. Speaking on his Youtube channel, Dr Weil explains the breathing exercise comes from Indian yogis who use it as part of their meditation practice
It is utterly simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere.
here's how to do it:
Step 1: Lie in your bed and keep your back straight.
Step 2: Place the tip of your tongue against the mouth tissue just behind your upper front teeth.
Step 3: Inhale for 4 seconds
Step 4: Hold your breath for 7 seconds
Step 5: Exhale (through your mouth) for 8 seconds
Step 6: Repeat until (hopefully) you enter dreamland.
Note: Make sure to keep your tongue in the same position throughout. You can also repeat this exercise twice or more every day.
As well as relaxing, Dr Weil says 4-7-8 helps you feel connected to your body and distracts you from everyday thoughts that can disrupt sleep and therefore can help overcome anxiety. And the health benefits don't stop there, the technique has also proven to lower blood pressure, beat stress and improve general health.
Will the 4-7-8 technique promises to get you to sleep “in seconds?” From our experience, “minutes” feels a tad more accurate. But once you get the hang of it and get past that awkward phase of thinking: “Okay, I want to put my tongue where now? How many seconds should I whoosh?” it could become a lifelong habit.
Main image by Adam Grabek