Sleep easy with the 4-7-8 breathing method

The 4-7-8 breathing technique, also known as “relaxing breath,” is a breathing pattern developed by Dr. Andrew Weil, based on an ancient yogic technique called pranayama, which helps individuals gain control over their breathing.

The 4-7-8 breathing technique requires a person to focus on taking a long, deep breath in and out. Rhythmic breathing is a core part of many meditation and yoga practices as it promotes relaxation.

In its simplest sense, the technique involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds.

A 2011 review article in Health Science Journal found some of the potential health benefits of deep breathing techniques include:

• decreased fatigue
• reduced anxiety
• reduced symptoms of asthma in children and adolescents
• better stress management
• reduced hypertension
• reduced aggressive behaviour in adolescent males
• improved migraine symptoms

Some claim the method helps people get to sleep in just one minute.

Here’s some tips to get you started, sourced from

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

To use the 4-7-8 technique, focus on the following breathing pattern:

• empty the lungs of air
• breathe in quietly through the nose for 4 seconds
• hold the breath for a count of 7 seconds
• exhale forcefully through the mouth, pursing the lips and making a “whoosh” sound, for 8 seconds
• repeat the cycle up to 4 times

Be sure to be sitting or lying down when you begin, as individuals may feel lightheaded.
Try using this technique at least twice a day to start seeing the benefits sooner.

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