People of the XXI century, the so-called generation Y, have several distinctive features: they are technologically advanced, tolerant towards each other and towards the world around them, and have a broad outlook. Two more properties have been added to this set of properties: Generation Y does not get enough sleep and is constantly stressed, and these phenomena are interconnected.
“Fight or flight” or … sleep?
Stress is a typical manifestation of the fight-or-flight defense mechanism that all living things have. It mobilizes the body’s resources in case of danger: the adrenal glands produce adrenaline, blood pressure rises, heart rate accelerates, muscles tense, breathing quickens.
But if for our distant ancestors everything was obvious: a tiger pounced – run, a hostile tribe attacked – fight, today it is often pointless to respond to stress by fighting or fleeing. But the body “does not know” about this, and if, already lying in bed, we replay the events of the past day in our head, we most likely will not be able to fall asleep. According to a poll by VTsIOM, 42% of Russians cannot sleep for a long timeone…
Breathing as a path to sleep
“Since breathing affects biological and psychological processes, as well as mood changes, simply focusing on it can relax the body and calm the mind,” says physician Andrew Weil. In stressful situations, the body is programmed to breathe quickly, shallowly (upper third of the chest), so those who are nervous suffer from chronic lack of oxygen in the blood. The technique “four-seven-eight” is aimed at combating this, as well as with incorrect breathing in general.
The method is simple and consists of four steps:
Stage 1, preparatory: Lying in bed, press the tip of your tongue to the palate just behind your upper teeth (there it will remain throughout the exercise). Exhale the air from your lungs forcibly until you make a whooshing sound. At the same time, fold your lips with a tube.
Stage 2: For a count of four silently, inhale slowly through your nose.
Stage 3: hold your breath, counting to yourself to seven.
Stage 4: Exhale slowly until you count to eight.
Repeat the exercise four times. If you usually spend at least half an hour falling asleep, this exercise will allow you to fall asleep in a couple of minutes.
What’s the trick here? In fact, there are two of them: physiological and psychological.
Physiological lies in the fact that, firstly, this way of inhaling allows air to fill all the lungs, and not just the upper part of them, as is the case with fast breathing; secondly, holding your breath allows more oxygen to enter the blood; and finally, a slow exhalation relaxes the muscles and expels much more carbon dioxide than with a regular outlet.
The psychological background is as follows: when our consciousness is focused on counting, it can no longer be distracted by disturbing thoughts that prevent us from falling asleep. Rest in your sleep!