Sleep. The lack of it has tormented mankind since eons, and there are as many “cures” for insomnia as there are for the common cold. And hardly any of them work, for either problem.
You’ve tried a warm bath, hot, milky drink and even counted sheep, but you’re still lying 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 60 seconds” —- and it doesn’t involve prescription drugs or strange lighting.
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. It was pioneered by Arizona-based Doctor Andrew Weill who says on his YouTube channel : It is utterly simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere.”
To do the “4-7-8 breathing technique”, you first need to 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”.
After this time has elapsed, 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.
“Note that you always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth. The tip of your tongue stays in position the whole time,” Dr. Weill says.
“Exhalation takes twice as long as inhalation. The absolute time you spend on each phase is not important; the ratio of 4-7-8 is important”.
The technique is based on “pranayama”, an ancient Indian practice that means “regulation of breath”. The Harvard-trained doctor claim that 4-7-8 is such as a powerful technique because it allows oxygen to better fill the lungs.
This extra oxygen can have a relaxing effect on the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness.
During times of stress, the nervous system becomes over stimulated leading to an imbalance that can cause a lack of sleep.
A well as relaxing the parasympathetic nervous system. Dr. Weill says a 4-7-8 helps you feel connected to your body and distracts you from everyday thoughts that can disrupt sleep.