The 4-7-8 Breathing Technique to helps you nod off to sleep that really works. Developed by Dr Andrew Weil, this relaxing breathing technique is a natural depressant for the nervous system that will help you fall asleep within 60 seconds.
An ambitious claim that the insomniacs amongst us will find very difficult to swallow. I am a sceptic when anybody claims that something is easy and foolproof. I find, in general, that I am the fool against which all foolproof devices are measured.
If you, like me, use StumbleUpon to discover new sites and interesting articles, you will have stumbled across this technique many times.
I began using this breathing technique, in my usual sceptical, ill-prepared kind of a way. I hadn’t followed the directions accurately so was not seeing immediate results.
But, I didn’t give up! And it seems, this is part of the technique. Getting your body and mind into the right condition to be receptive to the sleep technique.
I now find that, after a little practice, it really does seem to help.
My own sleep technique differs slightly from that prescribed by Dr Weil, but works none-the-less.
- Inhale, through your nose, slowly and deeply for a count of 4 1
- Hold this breath for a slow count of 7
- Exhale noisily and fully and hold for a count of 8. 2
- Repeat the breathing cycle 4 times
1 Inhale to fill your lungs to capacity
2 When exhaling, breathe out through you mouth, holding the point of your tongue pressed up to the roof of your mouth.
It has not been until I stopped to think about why I might be having sleep problems, that it dawned on me what might actually be happening.
Impaired brain function prevents sleep
Multiple Sclerosis is a demyelinating neurological condition, which not to put too fine a point on it, is a brain disease. The disease is causing damage to the neural pathways in the brain causing areas of brain damage.
If the brain is damaged, it cannot be expected to function normally. So, because the brain is damaged it can’t perform the normal activity of sleep.
Sleep is essential for organising the day’s memories into long-term memories. Lack of sleep can lead to many cognitive failures and ultimately to madness.
My deep-breathing technique
Practising these deep-breathing exercises helps to recondition the brain into being able to accept these normal sleep patterns once again.
If you compare my sleep technique with other published recommendations, you will find they differ. This is not, was not intentional. But my technique works for me and you will find you need some trial and error to find the solution for you.
How does deep breathing help you fall asleep?
It is all about relaxing your mind. The National Sleep Foundation has an interesting article of relaxation exercises which achieve a similar result.
Another suggestion is that your brain somehow misinterprets the act of falling asleep as a precursor to dying. The self-preservation instinct jolts you awake to prevent this.
Regardless of how or why you fall asleep. It is very important that you do get a good, restful night of sleep to recharge your neurological battery ready for the day ahead.
What technique do you use? I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment in the section below. I read all comments, thank you.
If find this especially useful when I wake during the night and appear to have little chance of resuming sleep. Practice the breathing technique for a few cycles and I nod off easily.
This has the added advantage that when I do fall back asleep, it is a deeper, more natural sleep as the effects of my Tamazepam, that I took earlier, have worn off.
How do you deal with your sleep problems? I would love to know. Please leave a comment to share your experience with others.