There are many things you can do to fall asleep when insomnia rears its ugly head. But before you take the hard route by changing your mattress or working out, you should try to change how you breathe.
Dr. Andrew Weill created a new technique focused on 4-7-8 breathing (link is external) or “Relaxing Breath” to fall asleep. It’s inspired by yoga and should only take 60 seconds to work.
The 4-7-8 breathing has six simple steps:
- Touch the roof of your mouth with your tongue and keep there throughout the exercise.
- Exhale forcefully to the point where you make a sound similar to a “whoosh.”
- Close your mouth then inhale softly through your nose. Count to four.
- Hold your breath and count to seven.
- Repeat step 2 and count to eight as you exhale.
- Repeat this cycle three times for a total of four breaths.
“Practicing regular, mindful breathing can be calming and energizing, and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders,” says Dr. Weill on his website (link is external).
He also offers two additional breathing routines.
One routine is stimulating breath or “Bellow Breath.” You do this by taking three in-and-out breaths per second through your nose. (Dr. Weill advises to not do this longer than 15 seconds on your first try. Work your way up.)
Lastly, there is “Breath Counting,” where you inhale, and count while exhaling. You continue this rhythm up to five, then start all over after a small break. (Dr. Weill advises to not count higher than five.)
These new techniques are definitely helpful for those struggling with sleep disorders, or who simply can’t fall asleep.