We live during an age in which our brains are constantly receiving and sorting through information, so it's understandable that they might have trouble shutting off before we go to sleep. Some spend hours just lying in bed, waiting for sleep to come. But when your mind is keeping you awake, waiting is not enough. We have to literally train ourselves to relax so that we can become absorbed in deep sleep.
Thanks to a Harvard-educated wellness practitioner named Dr. Andrew Weil, insomniacs everywhere are learning his one simple but effective sleep hack. Weil's expertise centers around breathing, meditation, and stress relieving techniques, which also happen to translate to a better night's sleep.
So, what's the trick?
The 4-7-8 Breath
Closely follow these simple steps:
- Inhale through your nose for 4 seconds
- Hold your breathe in for 7 seconds
- Exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds
- Repeat as needed
Although it may feel strange at first. this technique counteracts the natural effects of adrenaline, clears the mind, and slows down your heart rate. Dr. Weil suggests that you practice the 4-7-8 breath twice a day at the same time every day until the benefits begin to manifest. He stresses that the regularity of practice will train your body to adopt this breathing pattern on its own, when needed.
"The theory is that, by imposing certain rhythms on the breath with your voluntary system, gradually these are induced in the involuntary nervous system. And that comes with time. So it's the regularity of doing it that counts." - Dr. Andrew Weil
It won't happen overnight, but after some time of consistent implementation, you'll find that this unique exercise will award you a more serene send-off into dreamland.
Be sure to watch Dr. Weil's video on this remarkable practice and how it can be used to improve your overall quality of life.
What Else Can I Do?
You can beat insomnia faster by making some changes to your lifestyle and diet. Simply going from 2 cups of coffee per day to 1 small cup can make all the difference. Avoid nicotine and drinking alcohol before bed, and minimize your nightly screen time. Make sure to check out our Top 10 Sleep Hygiene Tips for a more comprehensive look at healthy sleeping habits.
So, what do you think? Try out the 4-7-8 breath and share your experience in the comment section below!