Sleeping seems to be a hard task for a busy adult. With all the presentations, studies and socializations that need to be attended to, lying around with zero productivity seem to be the least of everyone’s worries. However, it cannot be denied that a good night’s sleep can help restore the mind and body’s functions. The restorative cycle keeps them up and about for the next day, so it is truly important to catch some zzz’s at night. Even the naps taken during the day are not enough to substitute the healthy benefits of nighttime sleep.
Insomnia is a real struggle among adults, with over millions of people suffering from the effects of such disorder. The difficulty of sleeping and staying asleep can be remedied by a few methods, but such solutions take time to be effective. For example, having a healthy diet will impact sleeping habits positively, but such effects are not observed until weeks or months of dedicated healthy eating.
Other methods include changing the bedding or investing in strange lighting just to set the mood for sleep. However, despite the cash you spend just for a sleep-inducing environment, the guarantee of a good night sleep is still not within grasp. You would need a powerful sleeping ritual to pull everything together.
The Breathing Method
Counting sheep is a common method, but it is not exactly backed by science. However, an Arizona-based scientist named Andrew Weil has created a breathing technique that acts as a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. According to the YouTube channel of the Harvard-trained scientist, this sleep exercise is very simple that it can be done in a matter of minutes. In fact, you won’t need any equipment or medicine at all. It can be done anywhere, not just for the goal of sleeping soundly, but also for calming your nerves instantly.
The 4-7-8 breathing exercise is inspired by an ancient Indian practice called Pranayama. It translates to “the regulation of breathing”. When done correctly, this powerful technique fills the lungs with oxygen and has some extra for the nervous system to partake in. In fact, the regulation of breathing is also done in calming exercises, such as yoga. It affects the parasympathetic nervous system positively, resulting in a calming state. When applied during bedtime, it will surely iron out your anxieties and send you to dreamland in minutes.
The 4-7-8 breathing technique is more complicated than counting sheep. First, you need to let out a loud “whoosh” sound through an exhalation. Close your mouth after this and inhale deeply through your nose. While doing this, mentally count to four. Stop inhaling and hold your breath for a total of seven counts. Once done, exhale loudly to create the “whoosh sound”. Exhaling a large breath should be done in 8 counts. Repeat the cycle up to three more times. You should have done four breaths by the end of the ritual to gain its positive effects.
This activity is pretty simple that anyone can do it. One should always remember that while doing this, the tongue should stay in place for the whole duration. Exhaling should always be audible, while inhaling through the nose is done quietly.
Does it Work?
Many people do not doubt the wonders of a good breathing exercise, but for something that is being linked to better sleep, the 4-7-8 breathing technique is getting some attention, both good and bad. Dr. Weil believes that the counting is crucial in the exercise, since it facilitates exhalation that is twice as long as inhalation. The 4-7-8 ration results in extra oxygen being filled in the lungs and the nervous system, which would result to a feeling of calmness. By being calm, the chances of dozing off are increased.
According to a study about stress, the nervous system is affected by anxiety, causing an imbalance that negatively affects sleep. Adults who have a lot in their minds would find themselves tossing and turning in their bed instead of sleeping and restoring their mental and physical states. In addition to stress, being distracted by the environment won’t do any good. Even if you exercise regularly and eat healthy, the absence of serenity would still leave you sleepless.
With a sense of calmness during bedtime, it would be easier to set your mind to relax and slip into nothingness. As Dr. Weil shared his experience with the technique, it only took him eight weeks to master falling asleep in 60 seconds. Practicing the 4-7-8 breathing ritual twice a day will not only secure fewer insomniac episodes, but also calm your frazzled nerves throughout the week. No matter how busy you are, it is best to give your system a break. A few minutes of your time will eventually lead to a better sleeping routine and a more focused and organized mind.