Introduction to 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise
Breathing exercises are much healthier for the body than one might imagine. They offer enormous advantages in terms of the body, spirit, mind, and emotions. We may greatly reduce our stress levels and calm our minds by engaging in breathing exercises. Additionally, they are considered to increase the effectiveness of the lungs. The best part about breathing exercises is that they don’t require any specific equipment, are simple to learn, and can be performed anywhere.
The “4-7-8 breathing technique” is one such method of breathing. This method also referred to as “relaxing breath,” requires inhaling for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, and then exhaling for 8 seconds. This breathing technique seeks to calm individuals down or aid in sleep. Some proponents assert that the technique speeds up the process of falling asleep.
Although there isn’t many scientific data to support this technique, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that suggests this kind of deep, rhythmic breathing is soothing and can aid in comforting individuals to sleep.
More about 4-7-8 Breathing
The pranayama breathing exercises are the foundation of the 4-7-8 breathing technique. The traditional yoga technique of breath control is known as ‘Pranayama’. Numerous advantages for calming down and reducing stress have been linked to these kinds of mindful breathing exercises. Dr. Andrew Weil is the founder or the inventor of the 4-7-8 breathing method. He proudly describes it as a natural sedative for the nervous system.
How to Practice 4-7-8 Breathing?
Anywhere and at any moment is a good place to practice the 4-7-8 breathing. Try to practice at least twice daily when learning something new, but one can practice as frequently as one likes. Just perform the first four cycles in a row. Once a person adjusts, he can perform up to eight cycles. At first, the performer could feel dizzy, but this will feeling will pass.
- Get a comfortable place and sit with a straight back.
- Allow the tongue to rest behind the top teeth and let it be there.
- Breathe out completely through the mouth around the tongue, and make that ‘whoosh sound’. Purse the lips if it makes feel better.
- Close lips and breathe in via nose and count till applications allow four.
- Hold your breath and count till seven.
- Breathe out completely by the mouth and make that ‘whoosh sound’ and count till eight.
- Here, one cycle is completed. This can be repeated three more times.
How does the 4-7-8 Breathing Technique help?
The goal of breathing exercises is to put the body in a deeply relaxed condition. The body can rehydrate its oxygen supply by performing specific patterns that entail holding the breath for extended periods of time. Techniques like 4-7-8 can increase the amount of oxygen reaching tissues and organs from the lungs outward.
The fight-or-flight response we experience when we are stressed can be controlled by such relaxation techniques, which also assist in restoring steadiness to the body. This is especially beneficial for people who have trouble sleeping because of anxiety or worries about what happened today or what might happen tomorrow. We may be unable to get a good night’s sleep due to racing thoughts and worries. When sleeping down at night, the 4-7-8 approach pushes the mind and body to concentrate on controlling the breath rather than reliving the fears.
People who have modest sleep difficulties, anxiety, or tension may find that 4-7-8 breathing helps them get over distractions and relax. Advocates claim that 4-7-8 breathing gets stronger over time and with continuous practice. It is stated that initially, its effects are less noticeable. On the first attempt, one can experience some dizziness. For some people, doing 4-7-8 breathing more than thrice a day may not produce the same results as practicing it twice a day.
Applications of 4-7-8 Breathing
Certain breathing techniques, including 4-7-8 breathing, and other techniques have a connection. Some people perform the following techniques with this form of breathing:
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Guided imagery
- Yoga, tai chi, and qigong
- Repetitive prayer
- Mindfulness meditation
The most typical applications of 4-7-8 breathing are to ease stress and anxiety. It is said to get better at helping a person control their stress levels with repeated use. In contrast to this advancement, anti-anxiety medications tend to lose part of their potency over time as the body becomes accustomed to them.
Does the 4-7-8 Breathing Technique really help a person sleep faster?
One is not alone if he feels like jumping into bed just to spend the next two to three hours entertaining every notion that pops into the head. These kinds of regular anxiety are common. However, specialists claim that this breathing technique can be useful for those who are trying to go sleep quickly.
Just keep in mind that everything is a process, so it could take time and consistent practice before it takes. For best results, employ this procedure twice daily and establish a consistent routine that will be more effective as a preventative measure.
While there are numerous claimed tricks to help one fall asleep, deep breathing before bed has physiological benefits that are related to how the brain reacts to higher oxygen levels. Deep breathing and the phrase “think, feel, choose” raise oxygen levels in the frontotemporal lobe, which may increase connectivity between the amygdala and frontal cortex.
This linkage creates a balance of energy between the left and right sides of the brain, which can help reduce anxiety and enhance the sleep cycle by promoting melatonin release and improving the ability to relax.
Top 4-7-8 breathing apps for Anxiety Relief & Relaxation
Since the different benefits of breathing techniques are mentioned above, let us take a tour of what are the top smartphone apps to help practice the 4-7-8 technique.
Breathe – 1 Minute Meditation
App Features: Guided breathwork, Written Instructions, Breathe Timer, Reminders
An iOS app called ‘Breathe’ aims to teach users the 4-7-8 breathing pattern. To assist the user in mastering the method, it offers guided breathwork sessions and onscreen instructions. To ensure that he doesn’t forget to practice, the user can also create reminders.
App Features: Time Selection, Visual & Audio Guides, Apple Health Integration, Unlimited Sessions
One can use 4:7:8 Breathing as a simple reference. The 4-7-8 breathing practice is demonstrated using a straightforward design in this iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV app. The sessions can be timed according to preference, or they can be untimed.
4-7-8 Relax Breathing
App Features: Customizations, Guided Sessions, Extra Information about 4-7-8 Breathing, Simplistic Design.
4-7-8 Relax Breathing is a great option for Android users looking for a 4-7-8 breathing app. This is another app that employs a straightforward layout to direct users through the workout. The app has additional information for people who wish to learn more about 4-7-8 breathing, and sessions are customized.
Multiple health benefits of the 4-7-8 breathing pattern and other breathing techniques include enhancing sleep and reducing stress. ‘Lightheadedness’ is amongst the top sole side effect noted. If this persists, the person should either cease using the technique or shorten their breaths. Also apart from these, several free mobile apps are available to users to control their breathing and take optimal care of their health. Use these apps and experience the difference.