Insomnia is difficult to express in words. It is truly exhausting to lie down and feel the sun rising with your eyes closed. Here is an introduction to a good breathing technique for insomnia. It's called the 478 breathing technique, where you inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds. Let's find out why the 478 breathing technique is helpful for sleep and how to do it correctly.
478 breathing technique
Step 1: Lie down comfortably with your hands on your abdomen.
Step 2: Gently close your mouth and inhale through your nose for 4 seconds, feeling your abdomen expand as you inhale.
Step 3: Hold your breath for 7 seconds.
Step 4: Exhale slowly for 8 seconds, relaxing your body.
The most important thing when doing the 478 breathing technique is not to count the seconds precisely, but to roughly maintain the ratio of 4 seconds, 7 seconds, and 8 seconds. Therefore, do not be too obsessed with counting seconds, and just breathe comfortably with a relaxed mind. Since there is a part where you hold your breath for 7 seconds in the middle, you can think of breathing without that part.
The Principle of 478 Breathing
The reason why the 478 breathing technique is effective for insomnia is that it can relax the body through breathing. The biggest reason for insomnia is stress. When we experience stress, our muscles tense up. This is because our sympathetic nervous system is activated, which causes us to feel nervous. When our body senses danger, our sympathetic nervous system is immediately activated to react instinctively. When the sympathetic nervous system is activated, the muscles of the body contract, breathing becomes faster, digestion slows down, and heart rate increases. On the other hand, the parasympathetic nervous system must be activated to calm the sympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is the opposite of the sympathetic nervous system. When the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, the opposite reaction of the sympathetic nervous system occurs. The muscles of the body relax, breathing slows down, digestion is improved, and heart rate slows down. Therefore, the state in which our body's parasympathetic nervous system is activated is the state in which we are easily able to fall asleep. The most effective way to activate the parasympathetic nervous system intentionally is through the 478 breathing technique.
We cannot control our heart rate or relax tense muscles due to stress on our own, but we can control our breathing rate voluntarily. Therefore, the 478 breathing technique is a process of intentionally slowing down our breathing rate during the inhaling and exhaling process, allowing the parasympathetic nervous system to be activated, and controlling the body to relax and lower heart rate.
Therefore, it is important not to stress yourself by trying to strictly adhere to the 4-7-8 timing during the 478 breathing technique. The important thing is not to accurately maintain the timing of each second but to slow down breathing and relax the body during the process of slowly inhaling and exhaling.
In addition, the 478 breathing technique involves inhaling for 4 seconds and exhaling for 8 seconds. This means that the time for inhaling is short and the time for exhaling is long. This intentionally reduces the amount of oxygen and increases the amount of carbon dioxide, making it easier to fall asleep as the brain's oxygen supply decreases.
If you suffer from insomnia, you may have tried various methods to fall asleep, such as listening to soothing music, counting numbers, or drinking warm milk. However, the 478 breathing technique may be an effective solution.