Whoosh and you’re asleep


Many of you reading this will be very familiar with ‘pranayama’ if you practice meditation or yoga. For many of us this involves alternate nostril breathing that is used to bring about a state of relaxation.

Recently however I came across quite a different pranayama technique that makes quite a promise. This technique is promoted by an American Doctor called  Dr Andrew Weil The promise is that, if practised at bedtime, it can induce sleep within 60 seconds. 

Dr Andrew Weil

Well that sounded quite incredible to me and I’m sure it does to you too.  To be honest I don’t really have a problem with sleeping. I’m certainly not an insomniac, but I do find that I ‘fidget’ for a bit before I fall off to sleep. For some reason when I get into bed I never immediately get into the position that I usually sleep in. I’m not going to take you too far into my private kingdom, that would be too much at this stage in our relationship, but enough to say I was curious if this technique could really live up to its promise.


this isn’t me!

Well the first night I tried it and the next thing I knew it was morning! But that could have been a fluke couldn’t it? So I tried it again and the same thing happened. It’s a bit like when you go under a general anesthetic and the last thing you remember is someone asking you a simple question and then you wake up some hours later to find whatever was going to happen has and hopefully it all went well!


Apparently it only takes 60 seconds

So by now, if you’ve got this far, you will be champing at the bit to find out what the magic is.

The ancient yogis may have called it pranayama but Dr Weil calls it 4-7-8 and not without good reason.

So here we go:

  1. You start by placing your tongue gently behind your top teeth
  2. You exhale through your mouth making a ‘whoosh’ sound
  3. You close your mouth and gently inhale through your nose to a mental count of 4 seconds
  4. Now hold that breath for a count of 7 seconds
  5. Exhale completely through your mouth making the ‘whoosh’ sound to a count of 8 seconds

This is one ’round’ and you do it a total of 4 times – if you are still awake.

If you are lucky enough to share your bed with another you may want to warn them about the ‘whoosh’ sound. You may even want to co-ordinate your whooshing. Although I think the hilarity that may ensue would not be conducive to immediate sleep. But then hilarity has its benefits too.

Now Dr Weil also recommends that you do this during the day too, but I haven’t tried that. He says it brings on an altered state of consciousness, well last time I looked that is a definition of sleep!

All I can say from my own experience is that it certainly works for a quick dive into sleepsville. Give it a go and let me know how you get on. Happy ‘whooshing’.

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