Sleepless and stressed
The “4-7-8” breathing trick will help you, here’s what you should do: simply breathe in through your nose for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and exhale through your mouth for eight seconds. The studied combination of numbers has a chemical-like effect on our brains and would slow your heart rate.
How it works
When you feel worried or nervous, adrenaline courses through your veins, your heart beats at a fast rate, and your breathing becomes quick and shallow. When you first start, you’ll be desperate to just take in another breath, or you’ll want to speed up your counting, but if you stick to the numbers (or at least try to), and don’t take any breaks (in other words, consecutively repeat the 4-7-8 without resuming regular breathing), you can literally feel your heart rate slow down, your mind get quieter, and your whole body physically relax. Next thing you remember is waking up in the morning and can’t even remember beginning the 4-7-8 count the night before.
How it can work for you
Though I’m not promising (nor does Harvard-educated Dr. Andrew Weil) that practicing this breathing technique can fight disease or provide clinical benefits, I can tell you one thing: If it affects you like it did me, it will help you fall asleep way faster. In addition to using it to fall asleep in a pinch, you can practice it if you wake up in the middle of the night and find yourself thinking about something you have to do the next day, in order to fall back asleep; if you are nervous before an event, if you are angry about something and want to calm down. My friend, who gets nervous to fly, uses it before flights and during if the plane encounters turbulence.
It’s now what I use to fall asleep every night, and each morning, I’m amazed at how well it worked.
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