4-7-8 Breathing for Better Sleep – How To Do It Right!
Sleep is essential for our physical and emotional well being. It helps us recover from stress, boosts our immune system, and improves our mood. Let’s face it sleep is basically a superpower! But so many people struggle to fall asleep, and once you finally fall asleep, getting good quality sleep can be even more difficult. This article will teach you how to improve your quality of sleep by learning the 4-7- 8 breathing technique.
What’s The 4-7-8 Breathing Method
Dr Andrew Weil, a Harvard trained medical doctor, popularized the 4-7-8 Breathing technique. He describes it as a “natural tranquilizer for the nervous system.” Its a technique based on pranayama or traditional yoga breathing methods.
The 4-7-8 Breathing Method is an easy and effective way to help you relax and fall asleep faster. It involves inhaling for a four count, followed by holding for a seven count, then exhaling for an eight count.
4-7-8 Breathing Benefits
This breathing exercise is an excellent way to calm your nerves. The 4-7-8 breathing technique is a technique designed to bring your body into a deep state of relaxation. Unlike tranquilizers, which lose their potency over time, this exercise grows stronger with practice.
If you’re having trouble falling asleep, try doing the 4-7- 8 breathing technique before bedtime. This simple exercise will help you relax and prepare yourself for restful sleep.
Why 4-7-8 Breathing Works
The 4-7-8 Breathing Technique intentionally uses a breathing pattern that involves holding the breath in order to suppress the sympathetic portion of our nervous system. This is the part of our nervous system that’s responsible for the fight-or-flight response we feel when we’re stressed.
By suppressing the sympathetic nervous system we then activate the para-sympathetic nervous system, the part of our nervous system responsible for letting our bodies know that its time for rest and relaxation.
How To Do The 4-7-8 Breathing Method
The 4-7-8 breathing exercise is quick, simple, and easy to learn. This breathing exercise can be done anywhere, but sitting with a straight back or lying on a firm surface are best.
The 4-7-8 Breathing Technique involves inhaling through your nose for four seconds, holding your breath for seven seconds, then exhaling slowly through your mouth for eight seconds. Repeat this cycle three times.
- Come to a comfortable seated position with your spine upright. You want to make sure that your back isn’t hollow or arched, just neutral and relaxed.
- Exhale through your mouth emptying your lungs.
- Close your mouth and inhale through your nose for a four count.
- Hold your breath for a count of seven.
- Exhale through your mouth for a count of eight.
- You can repeat each cycle three more times for a total of four cycles. After practicing for a month you can increase this to eight cycles.
While you’re practicing 4-7-8 breathing if you’re struggling with the breath hold don’t worry. The exact timing of each step isn’t critical, but the radio of the times is. So don’t worry about holding your breath for an exact seven count instead, make sure that you are making your inhales shorter than your breath holds and exhales.
Start with the goal of practicing 4-7-8 breathing twice a day. Don’t worry there’s no danger in practicing more frequently. The 4-7-8 breathing technique will become more effective the more you use it.
Learn How Yoga Breathing Works
If you’d like to learn more about how pranayama, yoga breathing, and breathwork exercises affect your nervous system and the types of exercises check out my blog post How Breathwork Works? Effective Practice or Just Woo Woo.
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