lifestyle

You can fall asleep in under a minute. Here’s how.

Insomnia’s a bitch isn’t it?

There you are, laying in your bed at the end of a long day, desperately trying to switch off your mind, attempting to finally wind down and just … get … some … damn … sleep, yet you still can’t seem to fall under the sandman’s spell.

how to fall asleep
Image via istock.

If, like me, you suffer from this brutally exhausting condition, you’ve probably also tried everything. Herbal teas, reading yourself to sleep, listening to (supposedly relaxing) rainforest music – nothing seems to work.

So how do you get to sleep in under a minute?

Not only that, once asleep, how do you STAY there?

It comes down to a stunningly simple breathing technique. It’s called the “4-7-8 exercise”, and it’s advocated by Dr. Andrew Weil, Director at the Centre for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona as an effective and natural tranquiliser.

Here’s how you do it:

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Place the tip of your tongue against the tissue ridge right above your upper front teeth. Keep it there for the remainder of the exercise.

Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound as you do so.

Close your mouth and inhale slowly through your nose while mentally counting to four.

Hold your breath for a mental count of seven.

Exhale completely through your mouth for a mental count of eight. Make the same whoosh sound from Step Two.

This concludes the first cycle. Repeat the same process three more times for a total of four renditions.

You can watch Dr. Weil explain and demonstrate the technique in the following video (article continues afterward).

The correlation between stress and/or anxiety and sleep deprivation is becoming increasingly evident. A recent article in Time.com claims more than 60 million Americans are currently battling insomnia. The figure is both staggering and frightening.

I tried the 4-7-8 technique last night. I generally don’t have much trouble falling asleep but I do struggle to stay that way, often waking up in the middle of the night and staring at the ceiling, willing myself to fall back into a deep slumber.

I can report that I don’t remember falling asleep – meaning it must have happened quite quickly. And I didn’t wake once… well, not until my alarm went off.

Is this a fluke? Dr Weil points out this is a practiced technique, not a one time thing. It’s all about training yourself to sleep. And when 4-7-8 reportedly reduces stress and the fight or flight response, and even helps digestion, it can’t hurt to continue the practice every time I go to sleep, can it?

Still, if all else fails, there are options.

Just get someone to do this to you:

Do you have any tips to help others fall asleep quickly and stay asleep that we haven’t covered?

Want more? Try these:

The life hack that could save your marriage only takes 21 minutes.

14 game-changing beauty hacks every woman needs in her life NOW.

7 dinner hacks for mums that will change your life.

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