(May 6, 2015) — Can’t sleep? An Arizona doctor claims his 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise will have you snoozing in 60 seconds or less.
“The 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise is utterly simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere,” Dr. Andrew Weil says on his YouTube channel.
Weil says the exercise can be done anywhere but recommends learning it while sitting with your back straight. Before you begin, 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. Now, follow these steps:
- 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.
According to the Daily Mail, the 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise is based on pranayama, an ancient Indian practice that means “regulation of breath.” Weil says the technique is so powerful because it allows oxygen to better fill the lungs. This extra oxygen can have a relaxing effect on the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness.