Read the following article to learn a quick and easy technique to help you sleep. The practice of this technique includes a pattern of relaxation based on breath control. With the use of this exercise we learn to provoke an altered state of consciousness, a hypnotic state, similar to the state we achieve when practicing self hypnosis. Hence the similarities between the technique explained below and the work promoted through clinical hypnotherapy.
How to fall asleep in 60 seconds
Dr. Andrew Weil is a recognized leader in integrated medicine who uses a comprehensive approach to address the problems that affect our mind and body. Combining his education from Harvard with the experience he has acquired in his life through medical practice, Dr. Weil is an expert in handling various diseases that affect our health, including insomnia.
The 4-7-8 Method for falling asleep
Dr. Weil is famous for his relaxation exercise, known as the 4-7-8 method. One of the biggest problems sleeping is lying down on the bed, trying to relax, but not being able to. We can spend hours wandering around trying to sleep in vain – and very often this becomes insomnia. The 4-7-8 method was designed to help a person relax in bed, providing a state in which it is easy then to sleep.
Step 1: Exhale
Get into a comfortable position, lying on your bed or a on a comfortable sofa. Exhale slowly, slightly tightening your lips as if you were whistling but making a soft sound like a “buzz”.
Step 2: Inhale and count to four
After exhaling, close your mouth and inhale through your nose, counting to four.
Step 3: Hold your breath and count to seven
Hold your breath in and count to seven. That is, if possible, try to hold your breath for seven seconds. If you find this step too hard, try counting to a lower number until you can hold your breath until 7.
Step 4: Exhale and count up to eight
Exhale the air you have been holding in while counting for eight seconds: Pout again (buzz sound) and exhale slowly, counting to eight.
Remember, inhale through your nose and exhale using your mouth. Remember to keep the relationship 4-7-8 when doing this exercise. Do not worry if you do not meet the requirements of these numbers at first. Just keep doing the exercise again and again until you are able to follow the 4-7-8 seconds used in the technique. This relaxes your body and makes you feel sleepy, making it easier to fall asleep.
The 4-7-8 technique is not intended to be used only for falling asleep. This technique can simply be used to relax and take a break from an activity, for calming ourselves after experiencing emotional stress and even for controlling stress induced impulses, such as overeating. According to Dr. Weil, this technique is a “natural tranquilizer.”
Try to use this exercise at least twice a day. You may experience that the more often you do this exercise, the longer you are able to hold your breath in and the longer you can maintain a more relaxed state.