If you’ve counted sheep, slathered yourself in lavender oil, shut off all electronics and you still can’t nod off, you need to try this breathing exercise.
It’s called the 4-7-8 breathing method, pioneered by US sleep expert Dr Andrew Weil, and it’s said to have you asleep in one minute flat.
It’s based on the ancient Indian practice of pranayama, which means “regulation of breath” and Weil describes it as “a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system”.
“Breathing strongly influences physiology and thought processes, including moods. By simply focusing your attention on your breathing and without doing anything to change it, you can move in the direction of relaxation,” he writes on his website.
You can watch a demonstration below.
First, keep the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue behind your upper front teeth for the entire exercise, then:
- Exhale completely, and loudly through our mouth
- Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose for four seconds
- Hold your breath for seven seconds
- Exhale completely, and loudly, through your mouth for eight seconds