How to sleep: The ‘4-7-8’ method to fall asleep within minutes – ‘natural tranquilliser’


Created by Dr Andrew Weil, the 4-7-8 method involves a breathing technique to aid relaxation. The first step is to place the tip of the tongue against the skin behind your upper front teeth. While maintaining the tongue in that position, breathe out fully, making an exhalation sound. Then close your mouth and breathe in quietly through the nose to a count of four.

Hold the breath for a count of seven, and then breathe fully out through the mouth to a count of eight.

This is considered “one breath” of 4-7-8, which can act as a “natural tranquilliser for the nervous system”.

The technique is said to become more effective with practise, with some people drifting off within two minutes.

In the lead-up to bedtime, experts at the Sleep Foundation recommend optimising your wind-down routine.

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A consistent bedtime routine can prime the body and mind for good quality sleep.

In order to get into the best mind frame of mind for sleep, it is time to disconnect from electronic devices half hour before you plan to be asleep.

Light emitted from tablets, phones and laptops can suppress the natural production of melatonin – the sleep hormone.

In those 30 minutes, instead of exposing yourself to electronic devices, relaxing could involve:

  • Quiet reading
  • Low-impact stretching
  • Listening to soothing music.


Such relaxing pastimes are better done in dim lighting, which can help transition you into bedtime.

As for the bedroom, it needs to be optimised for sleep to help you drift off into a healthy slumber.

Investing in a high-performance mattress and pillow can support the spine, helping to prevent aches and pains.

Furthermore, a comfortable mattress and pillow are vital to induce peaceful sleep.

A “sleep positive bedroom” needs to be dark, cool, and quiet.

In order to achieve this, black-out blinds and the use of an eye mask are recommended.

Furthermore, a noise machine can help to drown out other noises that may otherwise keep you awake.

While the ideal temperature is unique to each person, you need to make sure you are not too hot or too cold.

The Sleep Foundation added: “A light scent that you find calming can help ease you into sleep.

“Essential oils with natural aromas, such as lavender, can provide a soothing and fresh smell for your bedroom.”

A good wake-sleep cycle is also imperative that involves going to bed and waking up at the same time everyday.

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