Whether you’re just starting in your career or you’re well into your business life, the stresses of the job can sometimes make it difficult to fall asleep. Without a good night’s rest decision-making, problem solving, and relating to other people can get exponentially harder.
A lack of sleep can cause anxiety and add more stress to the stresses that started the problem in the first place.
Some people cross into dreamland by counting sheep, but if you want to count yourself among the consistently trouble free sleepers, there’s another method you can try.
Dr. Andrew Weil is Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. He advocates a simple breathing exercise called 4-7-8 Breath for both stress reduction and as a gateway to sleep. According to his website:
“Since breathing is something we can control and regulate, it is a useful tool for achieving a relaxed and clear state of mind.”
4-7-8 Breath is so simple it can be done anywhere. Start by placing the tip of your tongue against the ridge tissue behind your upper front teeth. (Keep your tongue there throughout the exercise.)
- Exhale completely through your mouth making a whoosh sound.
- With your mouth closed inhale through your nose to a mental count of four
- Hold your breath for seven counts
- Exhale completely through your mouth with a whoosh sound for a count of eight
- Repeat three more times
Always inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth, it doesn’t really matter how long you spend on each step, but the exhalation should take about twice as long as the inhalation. If you’re still awake after the first series of repetitions, repeat again in five minutes.
According to Dr. Weil, the exercise is a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. You can watch him demonstrating the technique here:
Not only is the technique helpful for falling asleep, it’s also something you can use to re-center or de-stress whenever you need during the day.
If you can remember the name 4 – 7 – 8 Breath, you’re well on your way to remembering how to make reaching dreamtime as easy as a countdown to sleep.
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