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Sometimes it’s the simple things that can make the biggest differences in our lives and health. Whether that means eating all-natural and organic foods or drinking plenty of water, it often turns out that the more basic the better it is for our bodies. The same goes for getting a good night’s rest, you want to be able to fall asleep quickly and naturally get the recommended amount of sleep each night.
For some people, falling asleep is not so simple and straightforward. They lay their head on the pillow and hours later are still wide awake, tossing and turning, trying to silently ease their minds in the hopes of passing out. If you’re one of the millions of Americans who fails to get enough sleep each night then you know how dreadful bedtime can be. Many people turn to sleeping pills, melatonin, alcohol, warm baths or milk in the hope that it will lead to a better night’s sleep. Sometimes they work, but only temporarily, and most simply fail to produce the desired effects. However, many people have yet to try one of most basic and easiest alternatives to help them fall asleep naturally.
The tried and true method is known as the “4-7-8” breathing technique. People all over the world swear by it and claim that they’re able to fall asleep faster when they use it. The technique was popularized by a world renowned expert on holistic health, Dr. Andrew Weil, who also happens to be a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine. The “4-7-8” breathing exercise can be done anytime, anywhere, anyplace and is incredibly simple. Here’s how to do it:
1. Place the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth. You want it to be right against the area of tissue that’s located just behind your upper front teeth. It should also stay there all throughout this entire exercise.
2. Exhale all the way out and completely through your mouth, expelling the air with a whoosh sound.
3. Close your mouth and without making any noise inhale through your nose for a count of four.
4. Hold your breath for a count of seven seconds
5. Exhale completely through your mouth, again making a whoosh sound, for a count of eight seconds
The steps above should have all been one complete breathe cycle with the exhalation part having taken you twice as long as the inhalation portion. Repeat the process for three more cycles and thus a total of four breaths. Make sure that you exhale at all times through your mouth and some people have found that it can also help if you try pursing your lips ever so slightly. You should try to practice it ideally 2x a day and it also works to relieve tension, stress, upsetting events, and when you’re trying to fall asleep.
Anyone and everyone can benefit from this measured breathing technique because it makes you mindful and your focus is on your breathing instead of the stress or thoughts that keep you up night after night. Dr. Weil aptly describes this breathing exercise as a “natural tranquilizer for the nervous system” and he’s correct, it relaxes your mind and body and with repeated practice it becomes stronger and more effective.
Check out the video for more on the benefits of the 4-7-8 breathing technique straight from the expert himself, Dr. Weil, and see if this simple trick can help you get a better and more restful nights sleep. If that’s even a remote possibility, then you definitely don’t want to pass this information by!