We've all been there: You have to be up really early for something really important, but no matter how hard you try, you just can't seem to fall asleep. If you're a normal human person and can relate to this issue, you might be interested to know that Harvard trained doctor Andrew Weill has a technique called the 4-7-8 sleep trick he claims will help you fall asleep in 60 seconds. That's right: Within a mere minute, without any sort of equipment or special accommodations, you can be experiencing the sleep of your dreams (pun intended). The technique has been used since ancient times and is called pranayama, an ancient Indian practice to regulate breathing. Want to try it yourself? Here's some helpful information before the next time you do it.
How It Works:
The 4-7-8 technique is named because in order for it to work, you have to breathe to the counts of four, seven, and eight — which seemingly acts as a natural tranquilizer for the body. Dr. Weill claims this is a powerful technique because it allows for more oxygen to fill your lungs and brain, which reduces stress and helps catalyze good sleep.
How You Do It:
It goes like this: First, you exhale audibly and completely through your mouth, making a "whoosh" sound. Then, close your mouth, and through your nose inhale to a mental count of four. Hold that for a count of seven before exhaling one more time through your mouth (while making a whooshing sound!) for a count of eight. Repeat three times.
Why the Whooshing Sound?
Dr. Weill recommends inhaling through your nose and exhaling audibly through your mouth because it allows your tongue to stay in position the whole time (the tip against the back of your two front teeth), further regulating your breathing.
If it doesn't work at first, don't worry. Dr. Weill says it could take a few weeks to master the technique, which also goes for any other type of exercise or meditation. Of course, not only one thing can help lead to an amazing sleep, and other factors like the environment of your bedroom, how many screens you have open, how wound up you are, and your anxiety levels can all contribute to the overall quality of your snooze. So go ahead and try it out next time you're having a rough night, I know I will be!