This breathing trick sends you to sleep in just one minute.
No, the answer isn’t holding your breath until you pass out. There really is a breathing technique that could send you skipping towards the land of nod in no time at all. Here’s what you do: keeping the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth at all times, breathe in through your nose for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of seven, then exhale audibly through your mouth for a count of eight. Then repeat between two and four times.
The technique, known as the 4-7-8, was pioneered by US sleep expert Dr Andrew Weil, who says that it helps the lungs to become fully charged with air, allowing more oxygen into the body, and thus promoting a state of calm. He says it's "a wonderful way to help you fall asleep. It is utterly simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere.”
Why does it work? Dr Weil calls it “a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system”, which doesn’t tell us a huge amount - but any relaxed breathing technique can halt the brain’s stress ‘cascade’, by calming the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands.
Repeat the process for a few weeks and your brain will learn to treat it as a signal that it’s safe to shut down for a while. Want to know more? Here's Dr Weil explaining it in person:
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