How to fall asleep in under 1 minute
We’ve discussed previously why Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can make you physically and mentally exhausted (see the blog post here). But, unfortunately, regardless of how tired you are, it doesn’t mean it’s easy to get to sleep. Infact, for someone with PTSD, hypervigilance can make getting to sleep really hard, and staying asleep even more difficult.
A US sleep expert, Dr Andrew Weil, claims that his technique of the ‘4-7-8’ method, can send anyone to sleep within one minute by calming the mind and relaxing the muscles – sounds ideal for a PTSD sufferer!
The technique is grounded in the principles of the ancient Indian practice called pranayama, which means regulation of breath, and is used widely in yoga and pilates. It uses the form of yogic breathing in which you keep the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth.
‘You breathe in through your nose quietly and blow air out forcefully through your mouth making a whoosh sound. It produces a very pleasant altered state of consciousness. You may not get that the first time you do it but it’s one of the benefits of practicing.’
The changes in breath allow the lungs to become fully filled with air, allowing more oxygen into the body, which in itself, promotes a state of calm, and sends you to sleep – ideal if you wake in the middle of the night too.
‘When you first start, you’ll be desperate to just take in another breath, or you’ll want to speed up your counting, but if you stick to the numbers (or at least try to), and don’t take any breaks (in other words, consecutively repeat the 4-7-8 without resuming regular breathing), you can literally feel your heart rate slow down, your mind get quieter, and your whole body physically relax. It washes over you like a calming, relaxing drug. I can never remember getting past the first set of 4-7-8.’ said Alina Gonzalez.
Start practicing ‘4-7-8’ method with these steps:
1. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
2. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
3. Hold your breath for a count of seven.
4. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
5. This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths
IMAGE: Asleep in the back by BMiz
Typically consisting of ‘pranayama’ (breathing exercises), ‘asanas’ (stretching and posture work), and meditation, yoga teaches individuals how to befriend their bodies, and therefore be better equipped to navigate the complexities of trauma and its physiological effects. This article will answer
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