How Do You Breathe Using the 4-7-8 Technique?
Dr. Andrew Weil created the 4-7-8 breathing technique as a breathing pattern. It is based on the pranayama method of yoga, which aids practitioners in controlling their breathing.
It’s likely that some people could fall asleep more quickly with this strategy if they routinely use it.
What is the process of the 4-7-8 breathing technique?
The goal of breathing exercises is to put the body in a deeply relaxed condition. Your body can rehydrate its oxygen supply by performing specific patterns that entail holding your breath for an extended amount of time. Techniques like 4-7-8 can increase the amount of oxygen reaching your organs and tissues from the lungs outward.
The fight-or-flight response we experience when we are stressed can be controlled by relaxation techniques, which also assist in restoring equilibrium to the body. This is especially useful if anxiety or worries over today’s events or potential tomorrow’s events are keeping you up at night. We may be unable to get a good night’s sleep due to racing thoughts and worries.
When you lie down at night, the 4-7-8 approach compels your mind and body to concentrate on controlling your breath rather than reliving your problems. Its supporters assert that it helps calm agitated nerves or ease a pounding heart. It has also been called a “natural tranquilizer for the nervous system” by Dr. Weil.
The general idea of 4-7-8 breathing is comparable to techniques like:
- One nostril at a time while keeping the other closed is what is meant by alternate nostril breathing.
- Focused breathing is encouraged during mindfulness meditation, which also directs your attention to the present moment.
- By visualizing, you can direct your attention to the direction and rhythm of your natural breathing.
- With the help of guided imagery, you are urged to concentrate on a joyful experience or tale that will help you forget your troubles as you breathe.
People who have modest sleep difficulties, anxiety, or tension may find that 4-7-8 breathing helps them get over distractions and relax.
Advocates claim that 4-7-8 breathing gets stronger over time and with continuous practice. It is stated that initially, its effects are less noticeable. The first time you try it, you can experience a little dizziness. For some people, doing 4-7-8 breathing more than thrice a day may not produce the same results as practicing it twice a day.
How to do it
Find a comfy spot to sit or lie down so you can practice 4-7-8 breathing. Make sure to have appropriate posture, particularly when first starting out. It works best if you’re lying down if you’re utilizing the method to get to sleep.
Practice by placing your tongue tip against the roof of your mouth, directly behind your top front teeth. Throughout the exercise, you must maintain control of your tongue. To stop your tongue from moving when you exhale takes practice. Some people may find it simpler to exhale during the 4-7-8 breathing cycle when their lips are pursed.
Each of the following actions has to be completed in a single breath cycle:
- First, let your lips separate. With a whooshing motion, thoroughly exhale from your mouth.
- Next, seal your lips and take a silent breath via your nose while mentally counting to four.
- Then, hold your breath for seven seconds.
- Repeat the previous whooshing exhalation for eight seconds.
A new cycle of breath begins as you inhale once more. For four whole breaths, repeat this cycle.
The most important aspect of this technique is the held breath (held for seven seconds). Additionally, it is advised that when you initially begin, you only practice 4-7-8 breathing for four breaths. You can eventually increase your breathing to eight complete breaths.
You shouldn’t use this breathing exercise if you’re not ready to unwind completely. It can nevertheless induce deep relaxation in the practitioner even though it isn’t always used to induce sleep. Once you’ve gotten comfortable with your breathing cycles, make sure you don’t need to be fully attentive right away.
Other methods to aid in sleeping
4-7-8 breathing may be able to help you get the sleep you’ve been missing if you’re suffering from minor insomnia brought on by stress or anxiety. However, if the method is insufficient on its own, it may be paired successfully with additional interventions, such as:
- a sleeping mask
- a white noise machine
- relaxation music
- diffusing essential oils like lavender
- reducing caffeine intake
- bedtime yoga
If 4-7-8 breathing is ineffective for you, try another approach like guided imagery or mindfulness meditation.
Sometimes insomnia is more serious and calls for medical attention. Other issues that could cause a serious lack of sleep include:
- hormone adjustments brought on by menopausal drugs
- diseases caused by drug usage
- diseases of the mind, such as depression
- Irritable limb syndrome
Get in touch with your doctor if you encounter regular, ongoing, or crippling insomnia. They can recommend you to a sleep expert who will do a sleep study to identify the root of your sleeplessness. They can then collaborate with you to discover the best course of action.
If you want to read more meditation information, the links below here belong to you:
Deeply Breathing: How it reduces your stress