4-7-8 breathing technique for sleep is a practice of full consciousness
If you sleep badly then you are probably stressed.
Lack of sleep is the symptom par excellence of stress and stress, as we know, is the most common modern disease in our society. Lack of sleep, and the fatigue that results, are linked to stress but also contribute to the stress cycle. It’s a vicious circle. Often we do not realize how much a chronic lack of sleep plays an important role in our discomforts, diseases and negative thoughts. Getting a good night’s sleep is really important in the hygiene and balance of our body-mind.
Many of my clients tell me about their insomnia problems that can be punctual or chronic. Indeed, most of the time it is linked to stress. Before taking sleeping pills or other products, thus contributing to further feeding this very lucrative industry targeting insomniacs, I tell you that there is a simple technique to learn and practice: Breathing 4-7-8.
When one can not find sleep, it is because the nervous system is launched in a hypervigilance that is reflected in the day by a form of functional performance. But when it is necessary to slow down, the mind-body continues its momentum like a machine that can not stop.
One of the sufferings of the twentieth century seems to be the lack of restful sleep.
There is never enough time, because there are always more things to do than to waste time sleeping! And then, when you want to sleep, the mind is so active and the thoughts so ruminant, that sleep is chopped at best, absent at worst and we get up even more tired. The chronic triggering of the stress response and the difficulty of navigating the mind-body towards the establishment of the parasympathetic nervous system are a modern-day drama. Especially since recent research confirms how much sleep is important for the health and functioning of the mind-body.
The tradition of yoga has brought us very sophisticated breathing practices. Manipulating breathing with the aim of altering one’s consciousness and modulating one’s physiological functions are among the very old practices found in many traditions of wisdom.
I propose to my clients suffering from insomnia to establish a sleep ritual. It is a series of gestures that are repeated each night before falling asleep. The key to this ritual is a technique that is promoted by Dr. Weil of Harvard University, with roots in yoga and, by its simplicity, hiding what some call a “miracle method”.
“The 4-7-8” finally allows you to fall asleep! y
Turn around, count sheep, make lists, ruminate – you can forget all that and leave you in the arms of Morpheus. The 4-7-8 breathing is very simple and quick to practice. So you only need a few minutes to practice it. “The 4-7-8” can be done while lying down, sitting or standing. In short, it can be practiced anywhere, at any time, and not just to fall asleep.
How to do 4-7-8 breathing technique for sleep?
1. You can do this exercise in any position, but if you do it in a sitting position, sit with your back straight and your feet on the floor.
2. Touch your palate with the tip of your tongue, just behind the upper incisors. And hold this position during the exercise.
3. To begin, completely expel all the air from your lungs through your mouth.
You are now ready to experience 4-7-8.
4. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through the nose counting (in your head) up to 4.
5. Hold your breath counting up to 7.
6. Exhale making a blast sound that you can hear through your mouth counting to 8.
7. Repeat this breath 3 times in 4-7-8.
It is recommended to use this technique twice a day, in the morning for example, and especially in the evening at bedtime. Exercise can be used at any other time of the day, when you feel “triggered” a stress reaction cycle – or just when you’re stuck in a traffic jam!
And if you are among those who have no trouble falling asleep but wake up systematically in the middle of the night, go back to bed and do this exercise. This will help you get back to sleep quickly.
How it works ?
This breathing exercise is a powerful method of falling asleep because it provides more oxygen than normal breathing, and allows you to quickly reach a state of physiological relaxation.
In addition, by focusing the mind on counting breaths and breath cycles, the mind must let go of these automatic ruminations on worries or worries, and focus on breathing. This 4-7-8 counting system allows you to think of nothing but your breath.
I invite you to set up this practice by using it every day. Even once sleep is regained, continue to practice it!
People have found several benefits to this practice – restorative sleep, of course, but also other benefits such as improved digestion, a clearer mind, and the improvement of some stress-related disorders.
There is really no reason not to introduce it into your ritual in the evening, when you go to bed.
Good practice – and above all .. good night! 🙂