Are you one of the millions of people who can’t seem to fall asleep, or stay asleep? In our smart-phone age, it’s getting more difficult to wind down our overactive waking selves and get a healthy period of sleep. Here’s a simple technique for falling asleep that works for thousands.
Can’t sleep at night, can’t stay alert in the daytime
Sleep disorders – problems falling asleep or staying asleep – are so common in current society that we nearly take it for granted that we are doomed to feel restless when we should be sleeping, and sleepy when we should be awake and alert. Especially in today’s smart-phone age, it’s getting more difficult to wind down our overactive waking selves and get a healthy period of sleep. Lack of proper sleep is a very serious matter: medical studies indicate that sleep loss activates immune system response in much the way physical stress does. Moreover, lack of sleep is implicated in a range of severe ailments including diabetes, obesity, hypertension, anxiety and depression.
Sleep is free – sleep disorders are costly
No wonder the sleep industry is massive. From masks and earplugs to white noise generators, to mattresses that cost as much as a week’s vacation, to doctors, overnight sleep study clinics and prescription medicines by the truckload, we spend a huge amount of money in search of sleep, which itself costs nothing. A 2013 article in Time magazine pegged spending on the sleep industry at $32 billion that year, with steady increases predicted for the foreseeable future.
Are you among the millions of people who can’t seem to fall asleep, or stay asleep? Here’s a simple technique for falling asleep that works for thousands. Best of all – it’s free!
4 – 7 – 8 sleep!
Here’s a simple, easy technique for falling asleep, based on centuries of yoga practice, that people from Dr. Andrew Weil to thousands of our fellow modern zombies count on. Follow these four easy steps:
ONE: Open your mouth and exhale completely. To make sure you’re expelling all the air you can, practice making a whooshing sound as you breathe out.
TWO: Close your mouth and inhale gently through your nose while mentally counting a slow one-two-three-four. Aim for a comfortable inflation of the lungs using the belly muscles. If you find your shoulders hunching, relax and try to manage the incoming breath with your belly muscles.
THREE: Hold the breath for a slow seven count.
FOUR: Exhale through your mouth while mentally counting to eight. Make the whoosh sound to be sure you’re exhaling completely.
This is one 4 – 7 – 8 breathing cycle. Repeat the same four-step sequence three more times. For many people, the relaxation and the increased intake of air that take place in these four breath cycles will calm their minds and nourish their blood oxygen so thoroughly that they fall asleep before the cycles are complete.
So, at your next bed time, why not give the 4 – 7 – 8 method a try? Turn off your smart phone, douse the lamps, and follow your nose to better sleep!