There's nothing worse than lying awake at night willing your brain to shut down and allow you some much-needed rest. We've all tried warm milk, lavender and even counting sheep, but could this breathing technique be the best solution yet?
What is it?
The 4-7-8 breathing technique was pioneered Dr Andrew Weil from Arizona, who says the yoga-inspired method is 'utterly simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere.'
Dr Weil claims that 4-7-8 breathing can help people fall asleep in just 60 seconds by acting as a 'natural tranquiliser for the nervous system', reducing stress and tension in the body.
How do you do it?
1. Before you begin, place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth just above your teeth, and keep it there throughout the exercise.
2. Exhale completely through your mouth quite forcefully, so you make a 'whoosh' sound.
3. Close your mouth and inhale quietly and softly through your nose for a mental count of four.
4. Hold your breath and count to seven.
5. Next, exhale completely through your mouth, making another whoosh sound for eight seconds in one large breath.
6. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three times.
Remember: All inhaling breaths must be quiet and through your nose, and all exhaling breaths must be loud and through your mouth.
How does it help?
- Taking on more oxygen relaxes the parasympathetic nervous system and promotes a state of calm.
- It helps rebalance the nervous system, which can become over stimulated during times of stress.
- It helps you connect with your body and your breathing, and distracts you from everyday thoughts that can prevent you from sleeping.