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1,2,3,4-7-8

Upon reading the title of this blog, you could be forgiven for thinking that we’d forgotten how to count. However, numberphiles can sleep easy, because today’s blog isn’t about counting but rather a clever little breathing exercise that’s currently making the rounds online.

The breathing exercise in question is called ‘4-7-8’, and some tabloids claim that it can help you to drift off in less than 60 seconds.

As the superheroes of shut-eye, it’s our job at Mattressman to make sure that you’re always getting a great night’s sleep, so we’re going to teach you how to complete this simple breathing exercise so that your sleep doesn’t suffer the next time you’re struggling to doze off.

The 4-7-8 method comes from pranayama, an ancient Indian practice that’s used in yoga and Pilates. The technique is used to regulate your breathing and promote a state of calm, and has been shown to curb the production of stress hormones and lower blood pressure.

You can perform the 4-7-8 breathing technique standing, sitting or lying down, but we think you’re best off practicing it in bed. Here’s what to do:

  1. Exhale through your mouth, making a whooshing sound, then close your mouth and inhale through your nose to a count of four – don’t count out loud, otherwise this will become very complicated rather quickly.
  2. Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  3. Exhale through your mouth, making a whooshing noise to a count of eight.
  4. This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle until you feel relaxed or fall asleep.

It may take more than a minute to fall asleep using this technique, but there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that it can help you to clear your mind, relax, and in time, cultivate the right mental state for nodding off.

The next time you’re finding it hard to reach the land of Nod, why not try some 4-7-8 breathing and let us know how it goes.  Are there any breathing techniques that you think we should know about? Tell us in the comment section below.

Sleep well!

James Murray

James Murray

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