• Marj Murray

Day 3 - Breathing for restful sleep

As South Africa prepares to go into lockdown due to Covid-19, let us remember to stick to the basics – eat well, exercise appropriately, and sleep restfully. Getting enough sleep is essential for helping a person maintain optimal health and well-being. A breathing technique which supports restful sleep is 4-7-8.

How to practice the 4-7-8

Before starting this technique, adopt a comfortable position and place the tip of the tongue on the tissue right behind the top front teeth.

Start with practicing breath awareness (Day 1)

Feeling your breath in your nostrils, feel the texture of it, feel the warmth and the cold

On each exhale, relax your body

Exhale completely

Breathe in gently through the nose for a count of 4 seconds

Hold the breath for a count of 7 seconds

Exhale through the mouth for a count of 8 seconds

When holding the breath ensure that your body is relaxed

Repeat the cycle up to 4 times

When to use the 4-7-8

Use this technique as part of your wind down routine in the evening

When you get into bed.


Dr. Andrew Weil, a well-known supporter of the 4-7-8 technique, recommends using the technique at least twice a day to start seeing the benefits sooner. Breathing techniques are designed to bring the body into a state of deep relaxation. Specific patterns that involve holding the breath for a period of time allow your body to replenish its oxygen. Breathing techniques such as 4-7-8 can give your organs and tissues a much-needed oxygen boost.




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