How many times have you wished you could fall asleep instantly? Well, this might be as close as you get.
I don’t know about you, but I can not fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. I need to think about everything that has been done, and everything yet to be done. The mind is a constant.
My husband, however, is snoring within 30 seconds. I may occasionally look at him with envy and jealousy as he sleeps peacefully and my mind, meanwhile, runs at 1000mph.
Thankfully, there are other people who have the same issue I do and because of this, people tend to try various things to help qualm their anxious night-mind.
Tumblr is a place where people share lots of things. Some are to be avoided, but some are really helpful. The latter is what we are here to talk about today.
Not too long ago, a set of animated GIFS started making an appearance on the social media site, and claimed the technique presented could help people ‘fall asleep in 60 seconds’. Naturally, people were curious and set out to see if it works.
It is a breathing technique called “4-7-8” and it was created to assist with calming the mind and body.
The GIFS that were shared were taken from a video created by Dr. Andrew Weil, who is the genius behind the 4-7-8 technique. Dr. Weil says “The 4-7-8 breathing exercise is utterly simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere.”
Naturally, people were intrigued and wanted to try it out. The results varied and some experienced no effect at all, but overall, many people said it worked for them.
The 4-7-8 breathing technique requires a person to focus on taking a long, deep breath in and out. Rhythmic breathing is a core part of many meditation and yoga practices as it promotes relaxation.
Here are the steps, as Dr. Weil explains:
“Although you can do the exercise in any position, sit with your back straight while learning the exercise. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.”
Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
Hold your breath for a count of seven.
Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight. This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
Note that with this breathing technique, you always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth. The tip of your tongue stays in position the whole time. 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.
There were some people who tried this method, and they shared what happened:
While some people had positive experiences and found that the technique worked flawlessly, others discovered that it could help with different issues, like anxiety.
It is a technique that is reported to work better with repetition and practice, so some people might not have found it to work in the suggested 60 seconds.
And some people found that this didn’t work for them at all.
MedicalNewsToday reports, “This breathing pattern aims to reduce anxiety or help people get to sleep. Some proponents claim that the method helps people get to sleep in 1 minute. There is limited scientific research to support this method, but there is a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest that this type of deep, rhythmic breathing is relaxing and may help ease people into sleep.”
We’re going to show you the video from Dr. Weil where he demonstrates and explains how to use the 4-7-8 technique, but there are a few things to keep in mind when watching this.
First of all, this is a suggested technique, and not one that should replace any medical information your personal doctor has given you. Secondly, even though this does work for some people, and rhythmic breathing has been around for a long time, do not substitute this for any current medications you might be on.
This is only a breathing technique, shared to help people who might struggle with sleeping or relaxation. If it helps you, wonderful. Add it to your routine. If it doesn’t, then I truly hope you find something that does.
After you try this out, let us know how it worked for you!