This trick will have you dozing off in a minute!
Falling asleep quickly is not rocket science: With this breathing technique – and a little practice – you can easily fall asleep in less than a minute.
How long did you toss and turn in bed yesterday before you finally fell asleep? In the evening, thoughts often begin to rattle in our heads. Even during the day, stress and worries drive our adrenaline levels up: the heart beats faster, we breathe short and shallow – or even unconsciously hold our breath. It is precisely this that is the key to relaxation and rest.
Fall asleep quickly – with this breathing technique
While Indians have known and harnessed the power of breathing for centuries, we still don’t pay enough attention to it. Adhering to a certain breathing rhythm has a positive effect on the autonomic, involuntary, nervous system, from which we can benefit in many situations. A message that the American Dr. Andrew Weil has been preaching for years. He deals with yoga and integrative medicine and is one of the most prominent representatives the so-called 4-7-8 breathing technique.
It takes less than a minute, costs nothing and works as follows:
- Breathe in through your nose and count to four.
- Hold your breath and count to seven.
- Exhale through your mouth and count to eight. Place the tip of the tongue behind the upper incisors on the palate so that the air escapes to the right and left of the tongue with a slight hiss. It’s easier if your lips are slightly pursed.
- Repeat this breathing cycle four times.
Because recommends do four cycles in the morning after waking up and in the evening before going to sleep.
Falling asleep quickly: why does this technique help?
By inhaling for a long time, we force the body to take in more oxygen. This gets into the blood when you hold your breath. And by exhaling even longer, we let a lot of used air out of our lungs. The exercise has a calming effect, lowers the pulse and gently puts us to sleep. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you count.
It is important that you do this exercise regularly. After about eight weeks, Weil says, you can increase to eight cycles in the morning and evening. You can do the breathing technique lying down, sitting or standing. And the best: It not only helps with falling asleep, but also in other situations – be it nervousness, anger, stress or fear of flying. Try it!
More tips for falling asleep faster
Of course, there are many other tips that should improve our sleep quality and prevent us from tossing and turning in bed all the time. These include:
- Counting sheep: A simple tip that can actually help you fall asleep. Because counting is monotonous and unstimulating – which can help us to block out thoughts that can prevent our sleep. In fact, it’s less about counting and more about calming thoughts: imagining a beautiful landscape can work just as well, as long as you can really relax.
- Read: If you’re not into disturbing books like thrillers or mysteries, reading can also help. It’s easier to switch off that way. However, you shouldn’t read in bed: in the long run, the brain then fixes the bed as a place to relax, but not to sleep at night.
- Get up again: Sounds counterproductive, but it can actually help! Anyone who lies in bed for more than 15 to 20 minutes and cannot fall asleep should get up again and do a monotonous activity – for example sorting the laundry. This makes you tired and it is easier to fall asleep.
- Turn down the heating: Most people sleep best at a temperature between 16 and 18 degrees. So turn down the heating in the bedroom about half an hour before you go to bed – and air it out again. To do this, open the window fully for about ten minutes. Fresh air also promotes sleep.
- rituals: Man is a creature of habit. Fixed rituals every day help us prepare for sleep. It doesn’t really matter whether you read a few pages in a book every evening, drink a cup of tea or meditate – the main thing is that it makes you tired and relaxed and prepares you for a good night’s sleep.
- keep warm: Cold feet make it difficult to fall asleep. Because in order for us to be able to sleep, our body temperature has to drop by about one degree. However, when the limbs are cold, the blood vessels constrict, making it difficult for the body temperature to drop. A warm hot-water bottle on your feet can help. If you like, you can also wear socks.
- Turn off your phone and TV: The monitors of mobile phones and televisions use a specific blue light that impedes the release of the so-called sleep hormone melatonin. Therefore, you should refrain from using the devices for at least an hour before going to sleep.
- Light movement: Anyone who moves is physically exhausted and can sleep better – of course. Exercising right before you fall asleep can have the opposite effect. It’s better to do light exercise, such as yoga, about two to three hours before bed to give your body time to shut down.
What about warm milk with honey?
Warm milk with honey is often recommended as a sleep aid because milk contains melatonin and the amino acid tryptophan, which is said to promote sleep. However, the amounts are too small to actually have an effect. If anything, the warm milk has more of a psychological effect because it’s relaxing.
Reading tips: Here you can find out everything about sleep disorders, clean sleeping, the Chinese organ clock and problems staying asleep in general. We reveal natural sleeping aids here. What is behind the sleep restriction, we clarify here.
S3 guideline of the German Society for Sleep Research and Sleep Medicine: Non-restorative sleep/sleep disorders (as of: 2017)
German Society for Sleep Research and Sleep Medicine, (DGSM); www.dgsm.de
Stuck, BA et al.: Practice of sleep medicine, Springer Verlag, 3rd edition, 2018
Staedt, J. & Riemann, D.: Diagnosis and therapy of sleep disorders, W. Kohlhammer Verlag, 1st edition, 2006