ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Health»
  • Personal Health Information & Self-Help»
  • Self-Help for Sleep Issues & Sleeplessness

Can’t Sleep? Breathing Exercise To Cure Insomnia In 10 Minutes

Updated on September 1, 2015

The 4-7-8 breathing exercise is an effective method of counteracting insomnia that only takes a couple of minutes. This simple relaxation technique created by Dr. Andrew Weil increases the oxygen supply in your bloodstream, which slows down your heart rate and helps your body relax so you can fall asleep faster.

Before you even start these exercises ensure that you are in a comfortable spot. It's essential that you are in a peaceful place as far as possible.

Insomnia maybe physical but most of the time the underlying cause is mental or psychological.

Reasons For Insomnia

The underlying causes of insomnia can be varied and sometimes very serious. It is essential that you take care that you address them too. If you find yourself worrying and anxious often, it would be advisable to consult a psychologist.

The importance of some physical exercise and some amount of meditation cannot be denied over here. Meditation has manifold benefits. Not only does it calms the mind, it lets the brain absorb and sort through all the sensory overload we deal with on a daily basis.

Steps to 4-7-8 breathing exercises.

Here are the detailed steps to the 4-7-8 breathing exercises.

Inhale Four

Make sure you are in a comfortable spot, such as floor mat or bed. It is preferable that you keep your back straight during the course of this exercise.

Now, inhale while mentally counting till 4. Basically 4 seconds' worth of time is good. Keep the tip of your tongue held against the roof of your mouth right behind your upper front teeth throughout the exercise.

Hold Seven

As the name indicates, we will need need to hold our breath for a count of seven. In case, during the initial days of doing this exercise you find it difficult to hold your breath for seven seconds just simply speed up the count. In this context ensure that you speed up your inhalation and exhalation accordingly. The ratio of 4-7-8 ratio is most important and it is secondary whether you are able to do it for the requisite number of seconds. If you find it difficult to maintain the rhythm, don't get disappointed... you will get better with practice.

Exhale Eight

Next, exhale for a count of eight. Each time you exhale, it will help immensely to produce a “whoosh” sound. Puckering up the lips slightly lets the air moves around both sides of your tongue.

You can start with four breaths a time. Do this until you are comfortable and then build up towards more breaths. You can move up to more than eight repetitions for the greatest benefit.

More Information

The initial few exercise regimens can cause lightheadedness or mild dizziness. This is perfectly normal. is normal during and shortly after the exercise. If you remain persistent you will not find it difficult to master the technique. If you have any serious pre-existing medical conditions or if you find that the exercises are causing any adverse effects you should consult your doctor.

These exercises are highly effective and completely natural. They do not have any adverse reactions or side effects and are also an excellent stress management technique. If you find yourself counting sheep at night, you know that it is time to give the 4-7-8 breathing exercises a chance.

How to do the 4 7 8 breathing exercise with Andrew Weil

Here is the method's simplified view of the entire method at a glance. Have a good night.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Only1Talat profile image

      Only1Talat 2 years ago

      @Njure, thanks for your views. While it certainly is "different strokes for different people" I do find the 4-7-8 and other effective breathing exercise to be great stress busters. It helps quieten the noise in the head and lull the brain in some measure. For people like me constant noises in the head streaming around and everyday stress is a major cause of insomnia.

    • profile image

      Njure 2 years ago

      While this does not work at all for me to fall asleep (I've tried it a couple of every week for a year now, after 15-20 minutes I just grow impatient and go back to breathing normally), it certainly has other benefits. None of those I have introduced this technique to have been successful in falling asleep from this technique but most, including myself, have told me that it is a great tool to relax oneself when stressed.

      Also, when I discovered this technique a while ago I read a great discription by the doctor himself on how to be able to breath out for eight seconds. Just put your tongue on the ridge above your teeth and it will make it so much easier, allowing greater Control of air released.

    • Only1Talat profile image

      Only1Talat 2 years ago

      @hiya-writer, thanks for the comment. Breathing exercise help immensely while trying to sleep or relax. I once did some Art of Living workshop for a week and at the end of it the last day's exercises had me sleeping the most peaceful sleep while still at venue. The trick is to really put your mind and body into it. Really inhaling using your lungs as well as stomach and letting all the odd sounds of exhaling come out just does the magic.

    • hiya-writer profile image

      Sudipa 2 years ago from India

      4-7-8 breathing exercises - wonderful. Just tried it now.