The 4-7-8 Breathing Technique For Sleep

Having troubles sleeping? There’s a gadget for that. And a herb. And plenty of sheep. But what about plain ‘ol breathing?

Yes, we’re suggesting that struggling sleepers give their sleep accessories a rest for the night and to, instead, focus on the simple act of regulating your breath by way of the 4-7-8 breathing technique.

Developed by Dr. Andrew Weil, this breathing technique is designed to help your body sink into deep relaxation while giving your organs and tissues a boost of oxygen. Healthline likens this practice mindful meditation or guided imagery because by actively focusing on the counting and breathing, you’re no longer distracted by daily stressors.

To begin, rest your tongue on the roof of your mouth, right behind your front teeth. It’ll stay there for the entire practice—don’t worry, practice will make keeping it in place easier.

The breathing steps are as follows:

  • Inhale for four seconds through your nose.

  • Hold your breath for seven seconds.

  • Exhale for eight seconds through your mouth and around your tongue. Pursing your lips can help make it feel less awkward.

The next time you’re kept awake due to stress or anxiety, this simple technique might just do the trick to put your swirling thoughts, and you, to bed.