Like air, food, and water, sleep is just one of those things that we depend on for our survival. You can actually die if you go without sleep for long enough, and those who don’t get enough shut-eye tend to shed their mortal coils faster than their well rested peers. But unlike air, food, and water, many of us are perfectly willing to skip our needed rest when it suits us.
It also doesn’t help that our modern world makes sleeping difficult, even when we’re desperate to catch some precious Z’s. The invention of the light bulb, despite being an otherwise wonderful device, has made our 24 hour world possible; while the blue glow of our computer screens continues to wreak havoc on our sleep schedule. I’ve grappled with this personally. Spending the evening on my computer sometimes means it may take me a couple of hours to finally fall asleep.
And I know that many of you reading this have similar sleep problems. A study conducted in 2009 found that 35% of adults get less than 7 hours of sleep every night, and 4.7% reported falling asleep while driving at least once in the past month (try not to think about it during your next commute). It’s practically an epidemic, and it’s slowly killing us.
Fortunately, there may be a solution. A Harvard trained doctor by the name of Andrew Weil has been promoting an interesting technique that he learned from yoga. Don’t worry, you won’t be doing the splits for this one. It’s a very simple breathing exercise that can be done just about anywhere, and he claims that with enough practice, it’ll have you nodding off in less than a minute.
First start by touching the tip of your tongue to the back of your front teeth, and hold it there. Now you must completely exhale before starting the exercise, which is done by inhaling for 4 seconds. Afterwards, you hold your breath while counting to 7, before exhaling on the count of 8. Then you repeat this cycle 4 times. This is what it looks like according to Dr. Weil.
And that’s all there is to it. He recommends doing it a couple of times a day, and after a few weeks you’ll be able to use it to quickly fall asleep. It’s also pretty useful for stress relief. If you try it out at any point during your day, you’ll find that it almost immediately puts you at ease. So try it out and see if it works. Considering how much time some of us spend trying to fall asleep, doing this for a few minutes a day could be a real life saver.