The internet is abuzz with a brand new sleeping technique that can supposedly help you fall asleep in less than a minute. A frickin’ minute!? Wouldn’t that be a dream? The so-called 4-7-8 technique, developed by Dr Andrew Weil, is said to help you relax completely and fall asleep naturally very quickly, simply by doing a few breathing exercises.
See also: A Lack of Sleep Can Ruin Your Career
Here’s how to do it along with a few more unusual techniques to help you sleep:
1. Dr Weil's 4-7-8 Technique
The technique is similar to the practice of meditation and works as a sort of tranquilizer on your nervous system:
- Press your tongue against the ridge just behind your front teeth and hold it there throughout.
- Breathe out completely through your mouth making a whooshing sound.
- Close your mouth and breathe in through the nose for four seconds.
- Hold your breath for seven seconds.
- Breathe out through your mouth for eight seconds making a whooshing sound.
- Repeat the whole exercise three or four times.
2. More Breathing Techniques
- Another technique you can try is based on a yoga meditation practice. Lie on your right side and hold your right nostril closed. Breathe deeply through your left nostril.
- Just breathe deeply. This helps your body to relax and drift off into a natural sleep. Try one of these six different relaxing breathing techniques.
3. Physical Techniques
- In order to relieve your body of tension, try clenching your entire body from head to toe, holding it for a few seconds then releasing.
- Mimic what your body does as you fall asleep by rolling your eyes into the back of your head a few times. This will trigger the sleep-inducing chemical melatonin.
- Curl your toes, hold for a few seconds and then uncurl them. The rhythm of doing this over and over again can help you to become sleepy.
- Another calming exercise involves rubbing your belly in circles. Rub your navel clockwise in bigger and bigger circles, then anticlockwise in smaller and smaller circles.
4. Psychological Techniques
- Most of us can’t sleep because we’re busy stressing about something. It can help to make a list of your worries or a to-do list so that you don’t have to keep thinking about the things that are stressing you out.
- Somehow, trying not to fall asleep can help you to actually fall asleep. Keep your eyes wide open and tell yourself, “I will not fall asleep”. Soon enough you’ll begin to tire.
- Let somebody else talk you down. Try listening to a sleep hypnosis podcast or video on YouTube. They encourage you to relax with repeated affirmations and calming visualisations.
It’s definitely worth trying out some of these techniques to see if they work for you. I’ve tried a few and they’re not all a bunch of rubbish as you might be tempted to think. If you’re really struggling with sleep, it can be detrimental to your physical and mental health so visit a doctor.