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.