For some people, falling asleep or coming down from anxiety feels impossible. But some experts believe simply counting 4-7-8 might just do the trick. The 4-7-8 technique is a relaxation exercise in which you breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 7 counts and exhale for 8 counts. Also known as the “relaxing breath,” 4-7-8 has ancient roots in pranayama, which is the yogic practice of breath regulation. Exercises like the 4-7-8 technique give you the opportunity to practice being at peace. And that’s exactly what we need to do before we go to bed, Rebecca Robbins, instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School. While this method doesn't ‘put you to sleep,’ it may reduce anxiety to increase the likelihood of falling asleep. The 4-7-8 breathing practice can help activate your parasympathetic nervous system. This in turn puts the body in a state more conducive to restful sleep. The more you practice the 4-7-8 technique, the better you’ll become, and the more you use it to manage stress.

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