New technique said to help insomniacs fall asleep in 60 seconds
An American scientist claims to have pioneered a way of helping insomniacs to fall asleep in just 60 seconds without the aid of prescription drugs, herbal remedies, diet or lifestyle changes.
“It is utterly simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere,” says the method’s creator, Harvard-trained Dr Andrew Weill, on his YouTube channel.
Based on pranayama, an ancient Indian practice that means “regulation of breath,” Dr Weill’s “4-7-8” breathing technique is described as a “natural tranquiliser for the nervous system” helping reduce tension and allowing the body to relax.
Steps to master the 4-7-8 breathing technique start with exhaling completely through your mouth while making a “whoosh” sound.
Next, close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
Then hold your breath for a count of seven.
After holding your breath, exhale completely through your mouth, making another whoosh sound for eight seconds in one large breath
Inhale again and repeat the cycle three times for a total of four breaths.
“Note that you always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth. The tip of your tongue stays in position the whole time,” Dr Weill points out.
“Exhalation takes twice as long as inhalation. The absolute time you spend on each phase is not important; the ratio of 4-7-8 is important,” he adds.
According to the Arizona-based doctor, 4-7-8 is such a powerful technique because it allows oxygen to better fill the lungs.
This extra oxygen can have a relaxing effect on the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness.
During times of stress, the nervous system becomes over-stimulated leading to an imbalance that can result in lack of sleep.
In addition to relaxing the parasympathetic nervous system, Dr Weil says 4-7-8 distracts you from everyday thoughts that can disrupt sleep and helps you feel connected to your body. It can also help anxiety, he maintains.
To master the technique enough to fall asleep in just 60 seconds, Dr Weill suggests practicing it twice a day for six to eight weeks.