Sleep, we’ve all heard about its importance. There have been a vast amount of studies about sleep, and about 40% of Americans still don’t get the recommended amount per night.
But today, for you at least, that’s about to change. Because I have a tool that will lower your cortisol, lower your stress, and most importantly, get you to sleep fast.
It all starts with your breathing.
What is it?
Originally created by Dr. Andrew Weil, the 4-7-8 breathing technique is a simple cognitive trick you can use to trigger your parasympathetic nerve system. Let me explain.
When you are stressed, as you know, adrenaline rushes to your core. You are flooded with heaps of cortisol. This where you may experience symptoms of stress such as a headache or nausea. The system that triggers all of these chemical releases, essentially that responds to stress in the body, is called the sympathetic nerve system.
Once you destress, or the threat is taken away, another system kicks in to respond to the dismissal of the threat. If you’ve ever experienced a panic attack, it’s that moment when you’re at the peak of anxiety and then you go over the top and start the journey back downwards to serenity and calm.
That system is called the parasympathetic nerve system. Want to know how to trigger it fast, even if you aren’t in panic mode? Well, you just got lucky, because this breathing technique does exactly that.
Once triggered, the parasympathetic nerve system causes our bodies to relax and return to a natural state of calm. If you’ve ever been in a deep meditation, this is the system that helps you get into that deep state of relaxation, which is part of why this technique is utilized for sleep.
How Do You Do It?
As I said before, it is quite easy to do. The reason it is called 4-7-8 breathing, is because you inhale for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of seven, and exhale (through your mouth, with pursed lips, making sure you hear your breathing) for a count of eight.
You do this for four breath cycles.
How Often Should I Do This?
This breath technique should be performed at least twice a day to get maximum results, although make sure you do not go over four breath cycles at a time.
You may find that your first time you don’t get as many of the benefits, but with practice, your involuntary nerve system will pick it up and the feelings of relaxation will only increase.
With practice, this technique’s powerful benefits can be harnessed to their fullest potential, decreasing overall stress, and helping you get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Alright, that’s it for today! I hope that you enjoyed this post and be sure to tell me your thoughts on this method below. Have you practiced it before? What beenefits have you harnessed? How do you feel after trying it?
I hope this serves you, have an amazing Tuesday!
PS-Want to destress? This will lower your cortisol in under ten minutes