Can’t sleep? According to experts, the 4-7-8 relaxation technique can help you.
- Exhale through your mouth, making a “whoosh” sound
- Close your mouth and inhale through your nose for a count of four
- Hold your breath for a count of seven
- Exhale again through your mouth with a “whoosh” for eight seconds
- Repeat three more times
“Many people have trouble sleeping because their minds are racing,” says Rebecca Robbins, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and associate scientist in the Division of Sleep Disorders and Circadian Rhythms at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
“But exercises like the 4-7-8 technique give you a chance to relax. That’s what we do before we go to bed.
“There is some evidence that 4-7-8 breathing helps reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and insomnia when comparing conditions before and after exercise, but to my knowledge “there are no large controlled trials looking specifically at this. technique,” adds Joshua Thal, a New York-based psychologist.
He thinks more studies should be done to determine the beneficial health effects of doing this exercise.