Falling Asleep With The 4-7-8 Method

When you haven’t slept well the night before, getting through your to-do list the next day is that much harder. Some nights, sleep just doesn’t seem to come. On those nights you need a handy trick to help you get some shut-eye. The 4-7-8 method could be just that.

Woman sleeping holding a pillow

So what is the 4-7-8 method?

It’s a breathing pattern developed by Dr. Andrew Weil, based on an ancient yoga technique called Pranayama. The premise is simple:

  • Breathe in slowly through your nose for four seconds.
  • Hold that breath for seven seconds.
  • Exhale slowly for eight seconds.

If your lungs aren’t happy to take in that volume of air then that’s ok. The most important thing is to keep the ratio to 4-7-8. Small lungs? That’s ok. Breathe in for 2, hold for 3 ½, release over 4 seconds.

For the first month you do this for, repeat the three-step 4-7-8 breath cycle four times. After these first four weeks, if you want to you can increase the number of repeats to eight breaths.

While you’re doing your breathing make sure to relax your jaw and keep your mouth closed while breathing in through your nose. You should also try to release any tension you’re holding within your body as you breathe out.

Next time you can’t sleep, give it a go and see if it helps!