Updated: Oct 2, 2021
The 4-7-8 Breathing Technique Can Help You Fall Asleep Faster. Here’s How It Works.
A doctor of physical therapy explains why she recommends the simple breathing exercise.
There are few things as frustrating as being unable to fall asleep, especially if you have a big day ahead and need your rest. In a recent YouTube video, Doctor Jo, a licensed physical therapist and doctor of physical therapy, demonstrated a simple breathing exercise that she recommends to clients, claiming it can help you drift off nice and quickly, rather than spending hours in bed, staring at the ceiling or counting sheep.
She calls it the 4-7-8 technique, and it consists of inhaling for 4 seconds, holding that breath for 7 seconds, and then exhaling for 8 seconds.
“When you’re breathing in, you’re just going to breathe in gently and normally through your nose, then you’re going to hold that 7 seconds,” she explains. “Then when you breathe out, you’re going to purse your lips and kind of make like a whooshing sound as you breathe out, so it’s a pretty forceful breath for that 8 seconds, and sometimes you might not make it to the 8 seconds, but the more you do, you’ll eventually be able to get there.”
Jo advises lying down on your back while doing this exercise, even if you usually sleep on your side, in order to get its full benefits.
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“Starting out doing it, you’ll probably only want to do 2 to 4 repetitions, but eventually you’ll work your way up to maybe 8,” she says. “When you’re doing this at first, it might be hard to get that pattern down, but eventually it really does help you fall asleep quicker. It takes some practice the first few times, keep working at it, make sure you’re safe and comfortable doing it.”
Article by Philip Ellis
Men's Health US