For a long time, I had a hard time sleeping. We can chalk it up to bad food late at night, too many screens before bed, and stress. I found it incredibly difficult to shut my brain down and give it a break at night. After weeks of not being able to sleep a full night, a friend of mine told me about the “4-7-8″ breathing trick.
But What Is That?
This method was developed by a wellness practitioner, Harvard-educated Dr. Andrew Weil, who studies meditation, breathing, and how it can be used to counteract stress. It’s easy to do. You breathe in through your nose for four seconds, hold it for seven seconds, and exhale through your mouth for eight seconds. She explained to me that it slows down your heart rate and it also releases chemicals in our brains that soothe you.
Pretty neat, huh? I was skeptical, but I tried it. It ended up working like a total charm. I was out before I reached my fourth repetition and it tends to knock me out easily in less than a minute.
This is good for more than just falling asleep, though. When we’re stressed, our endocrine system releases adrenaline through our adrenal glands. This elevates your heart rate and can make you feel jittery and unwell. Often times, your breathing also becomes rapid and shallow.
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