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The 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise Helped My Insomnia

4-7-8 breathing exercise

Have you ever heard of the 4-7-8 breathing exercise? If you have trouble sleeping, keep reading!

I’ve had insomnia since I was in college. Over the years I’ve gone to doctors, taken medications, eliminated caffeine, drank warm milk, exercised, slept in a cool room, and tried every other trick in the book for getting to sleep.

They just didn’t seem to work, so I’d gotten used to existing on an average of 3 hours of sleep each night.

I mean, I’m a mom. We never sleep, right?

Except that lack of sleep affected my energy level, my concentration, and made me feel like a zombie. I was looking for yet another insomnia hack when I stumbled across the 4-7-8 breathing method on my Facebook feed one day. I tried it that night, and it worked!

Now, keep in mind that I’m obviously not a professional sleep counselor. I’m so excited and rested that I had to share this with y’all. Okay, so here’s how it works. It’s really simple.

How to do the 4-7-8 breathing exercise

  • Inhale for 4 counts.
  • Hold your breath for 7 counts.
  • Slowly exhale for 8 counts.
  • Repeat about four times.

Why the 4-7-8 breathing exercise works

As a former actor, I’ve had my fair share of breathing exercises in class and while performing in shows. Because of my experience, I’m intimately aware of my breathing, often catching myself taking shallow breaths rather than inhaling deeply.

Many of us aren’t as intentional about breathing as we need to be. We miss out on deep nourishing breaths because of stress, distraction, or just not knowing. Our bodies are running on a limited oxygen supply, and we end up feeling drained or tense. The effects I felt after the 4-7-8 breathing exercise was a great reminder of how important it is to breathe.

By the time I finally exhaled after 4 counts of inhaling and 8 slow counts of exhaling a few times, I was knocked out. The powerful combination increases oxygen circulation, revitalizes the bloodstream, and sets the stage for a night of great sleep.

I encourage you to give the 4-7-8 technique a try. Life is so hectic that taking a moment to reconnect with your breath can be the key to more peace, relaxation, and better sleep.


Thursday 5th of April 2018

Great article! Just wanted to five my insomnia-busting tips! 1 - Meditate - as much or as little as you have time for. It helps me too calm my mind before sleeping. 2 - Yoga & Cardio Exercise - I can't sleep without raising my heart rate for at least 30 mins per day. 3 - Avoid Social Media - You know it's true...haha! Living your life waiting for "likes" is the best way to increase stress and affect your sleep!!! Hope this helps some of your readers. Keep up the great work!


Tuesday 26th of May 2015

Exercise, keep healthy

The campaign to all exercise.

Janeane Davis

Monday 12th of January 2015

What will you do now that you sleep at night like normal people? While I will miss my favorite night owl vampire, I amglad you willbe able to get rest.


Tuesday 13th of January 2015

I know, right, Janeane? I'm like a regular person now! LOL!


Sunday 11th of January 2015

I'm trying this tonight!


Sunday 11th of January 2015

I'm going to try this...I am a horrible sleeper! (Although my new blackout liners are amazing!)


Sunday 11th of January 2015

Oh, please let me know how it works for you, Amy! I feel like I can do anything---drink coffee at 9 PM, go running, watch a scary movie..and still be able to sleep! Probably not, but darn the breathing technique works!