These days it’s difficult to get a sufficient amount of sleep, the 21st century places demands of being constantly connected 24/7, essentially ruining the levels of melatonin your body produces, a sleep inducing hormone. However, Dr. Andrew Weil, a Harvard trained medical doctor believes that the fix to having the best sleep of your life is as simple as breathing in and breathing out.
“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.”
Weil proposes “The 4-7-8 Breathing Excersise” also called “The Relaxing Breath,” which promotes better sleep. This is based on pranayama, an ancient Indian practice that means “regulation of breath.” The exercise is described by Weil as “a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system”.Weil explains to “place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.”
This is followed by the five-step procedure listed below:
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
- Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
- Hold your breath for a count of seven.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
- This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
Weil emphasizes the most important part of this process is holding your breath for 7 seconds.