Some of the most desperate folk are the folk that can’t sleep. You can’t even wake up on the wrong side of the bed if you can’t get to sleep, to begin with! Usually, our methods to catching some Z’s are detrimental to our health i.e. sleeping pills, television, late-night munchies, etc. We’re not waking up with rejuvenation that we hope for. Even the comfiest pyjamas can’t seem to help.
Surely there must be another way! Dr. Andrew Weil, a wellness practitioner from the prestigious Harvard University, believes so. He discovered the solution to sleep deprivation in our lungs, or more accurately, how we use our lungs.
4-7-8 Breathing Technique
This not your traditional number sequence, but we’re not counting sheep. It seems as though meditation and breathing can counteract stress, allowing our bodies to relax and carry us off into the magical land of sleep.
How does it work?
- Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth and keep it there for the whole exercise.
- Breathe in through your nose silently for four seconds.
- Hold your breath for seven seconds.
- Exhale through your mouth, making a “whoosh!” sound for eight seconds. Do this three times.
That’s all there is to it. You can try this exercise in any position, but it is recommended that you sit with your back straight when first learning the exercise.
Does it feel uncomfortable?
That is perfectly normal. When you resist the way your body is functioning, there is bound to be some initial discomfort. Don’t worry if you feel a little light-headed to start.
Dr. Weil recommends practicing 4-7-8 at least twice every day to develop the technique, but no more than four times in a row to begin with. Once you get more comfortable with the breathing, you can repeat the exercise up to eight times in a row.
When you first try the exercise, the effects are subtle, but they intensify over time with repetition and practice. You should be able to fall asleep in under a minute in two months.
Do you believe in the power of meditation?
Before you chuck the idea out the window, consider the power of breathing techniques in everyday life. Controlling your breath can determine how effective your yoga workout is, how well you sing, how well you perform athletically, it even plays a significant role in natural childbirth, so why couldn’t it influence your sleep?
How Else Can You Use The 4-7-8 Exercise?
This simple technique slows down your heart rate and releases soothing chemicals into our brains, so you can also use this method to cope with panic attacks, stressful or upsetting situations, to combat internal tension, even to deal with food cravings!
This method doesn’t involve you buying anything or ingesting anything. It has no negative side effects and can be done anywhere and anytime. You’ve got nothing to lose! You’re already losing sleep.
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