"Are you tired because you had trouble sleeping last night?" asks Justin Augustin, an exercise therapist and fitness coach who shares healthy lifestyle videos on his TikTok page @justin_augustin. The fitness expert explained that easing your mind and body into a night of restful sleep is all about relieving any stress and anxiety you might have.
In order to do this, taking control of your breath is crucial. "Breathwork is a great way to clear your mind and take back control," he explained to his 1.9M followers. "This helps not just for falling asleep, but for reducing anxiety and stress any time of the day."
Justin shared a breathing technique known as "the four-seven-eight technique" which is a "two-minute method to help you relax and fall asleep almost instantly".
He added: "It really works, I just did it and I really want to take a nap right now. Start doing this sitting up, but once you’ve mastered it, you can do this lying down."
To begin, inhale from your nose for four seconds and then hold your breath for seven seconds. Then, exhale slowly from your mouth for eight seconds.
"You're going to repeat that four times," explained Justin. "If you can't hold your breath for that long that's no problem. You can make it a bit faster just try to keep the same ratio."
However, Justin warns against holding your breath for too long if you have been diagnosed with hypertension. The fitness guru explained: "If you have hypertension, holding your breath can raise blood pressure, so please do not hold in your breath."
Justin continued: "The reason why we do this at night is that it helps to reduce the anxiety and stress levels in your body. Your breathing pattern is such an important component. Once you're able to take control of it you're going to notice a huge difference."
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The video has received four thousand likes so far, with commenters sharing their experiences using the hack. One user said: "It's crazy how this works. I have [had] problems falling asleep [for] years. I was in dreamland before I could even think about it." [SIC]
Another user named Mickey said they had been struggling with insomnia due to menopause, and were going to put the breathing technique to the test.
A user named Shelly added that the hack was "very calming" when she tried it. However, other users noted they had some problems when they tested the four-seven-eight technique. Ray Vincent said: "I am kept awake by counting though."
How much sleep should I be getting each night?
The NHS currently recommends that adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. On average children need between nine and 13 hours of sleep, while toddlers and babies need 12 to 17 hours.
In order to improve your sleep schedule, the NHS recommends keeping regular sleep hours. This means making a habit of going to bed when you feel tired and waking up at roughly the same time the next day. This teaches your body to sleep better.
Create a resultful environment which isn't too bright or hot, and try to avoid caffeine and alcohol as they can prevent you from falling into a deep sleep. Physical exercise during the day can also help ease your mind, meaning you sleep better at night. However, if you are struggling to fall asleep, the NHS says you should not "force it."
The health service explained: "If you are lying awake unable to sleep, do not force it. Get up and do something relaxing for a bit, and return to bed when you feel sleepier."