Unfortunately, trying to fall asleep can sometimes be a grueling task even when you know you have to get up early the next morning. In a post on Bydie, Alina Gonzalez claims she learned to fall asleep in less than a minute after learning a useful technique from a friend who is a licensed wellness practitioner.
The technique she learned is called the “4-7-8” breathing technique, which was most recently popularized by holistic health expert Andrew Weil. Here’s how you do it:
1. Breath through your nose for 4 seconds
2. Hold your breath for 7 seconds
3. Exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds
According to Gonzalez, the technique’s studied combination of exactly timed steps slows heart rate and has a sedative-like effect on the brain that helps relax the user.
“People who are stressed or anxious are actually chronically under-breathing, because stressed people breathe shortly and shallowly, and often even unconsciously hold their breath. By extending your inhale to a count of four, you are forcing yourself to take in more oxygen, allowing the oxygen to affect your bloodstream by holding your breath for seven seconds, and then emitting carbon dioxide from your lungs by exhaling steadily for eight seconds. The technique will effectively slow your heart rate and increase oxygen in your bloodstream, and may even make you feel slightly light headed which contributes to the mild sedative-like effect. It will instantly relax your heart, mind, and overall central nervous system because you are controlling the breath versus continuing to breathe short, shallow gasps of air.”
According to Weil, the technique is also a great way to relax in the face of anxiety and can help people deal with food cravings and other types of addiction. Check out his demonstration of the technique:
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