Sleep Technique

I Tried the 4-7-8 Sleep Technique and My God, It Worked Like a Dream

Sleep disorders affect many people around the world each year. Many of these people turn to pharmaceutical drugs to help deal with this problem. Examples of such drugs include clonazepam, a drug that induces a state of relaxation that ultimately leads to sleep. You can purchase such drugs from UK Sleep Tablets, a major distributor that offers customers a wide variety of such drugs.

While pharmaceutical options are popular for dealing with sleep issues, some techniques can be just as effective without the use of drugs. One such technique involves breathing exercises that eventually stimulate the body to fall asleep. The 4-7-8 sleep technique is one such method that helps with sleep disorders.

This sleep technique can be traced back to Dr. Andrew Weil. His work in integrative medicine enabled him to come up with a series of rhythmic, breathing exercises that help control anxiety while promoting sleep. This technique acts as a natural sedative that helps calm the human nervous system.

Basics of Sleep

The human body has specific systems that enable it to cause sleep. This is usually in response to fatigue or other such conditions. The nervous system, specifically the brain, is crucial in sleep regulation. It does this through specific physiological and neurological pathways. Key among these pathways include the circadian rhythm.

The circadian rhythm is a crucial part of the body’s internal clock, helping to signal when it’s time to sleep. A key contributor to sleeplessness is when this signaling is disrupted, whether due to stress, anxiety, or disease conditions.

Neurotransmitters are special chemicals that help in the transmission of signals within the nervous system and other body tissues. Gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) is one such neurotransmitter. Its activity is considered inhibitory, meaning it “dampens” signal transmission that promotes arousal. This is key to relaxation and sleep. The parasympathetic nervous system is key to sleep regulation. It is the target of sleep drugs and, crucially, the 4-7-8 sleep technique.

How the 4-7-8 Sleep Technique Works

The 4-7-8 method is an exercise that one performs in order to induce sleep. It involves some breathing techniques, performed rhythmically to activate the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS). This part of the nervous system is concerned with activities like digestion, rest, and relaxation. These breathing techniques also inhibit the sympathetic nervous system—the one responsible for stress responses, the famous ‘flight-or-fight’ mode.

Performing the 4-7-8 breathing technique repetitively helps to augment the PSNS’s response. This means that the longer it is performed, the greater the likelihood of falling asleep faster.

How to Use this Method

The 4-7-8 sleep technique is one that produces enhanced results the more it is practiced. Ideally, you should engage in this breathing technique twice a day for the best results. Of course, you should always consult with your physician before embarking on any such exercises. This is important because some medical conditions like asthma could be exacerbated with this technique.

To start practicing this technique:

i)Assume a comfortable body posture that enables you to relax.

  1. ii) Press the tip of your tongue against the surface behind your upper front teeth.

iii) After breathing in, exhale through the mouth while making a whooshing sound. After that, inhale through the nose for 4 seconds while keeping your mouth closed. Hold this breath for another 7 seconds.

  1. iv) Exhale through the mouth for 8 seconds straight, remembering to make the whooshing sound during this phase.

All the above steps are considered as one cycle of the 4-7-8 technique. Do this about 3 to 4 times during one session. Have at least two sessions a day.

Of course, you can’t expect improved sleep on the first day of doing this breathing technique. On average, it’ll take about 4 to 6 weeks of dedicated practice before you begin noticing any significant changes. As long as you maintain at least two daily sessions, you should begin to notice more peaceful sleep fairly quickly.

Not everyone can hold their breath for the same duration. To account for this, you can speed up your count if you have difficulty holding your breath during the 7- and 8-second counts.

Why Does this Technique Work?

Deep breathing helps with sleep issues because it reduces anxiety initiating sleep faster. When combined with sleep hygiene techniques, the results are much better.

All in all, the 4-7-8 breathing techniques help to signal the body’s parasympathetic nervous system to relax. This signals to the brain that the body needs to wind down, resulting in sleep.