True Story: I Swear By This Trick to Fall Asleep Fast

It was the week before my best friend’s wedding, and my anxiety (nerves plus excitement) had reached epic levels. I wasn’t sleeping, to say the least. Part of that had to do with the maid-of-honor speech I would be giving. I was terrified and could not shut off my brain to fall asleep at night.

After day three of lying awake until the wee hours of the night, I sheepishly admitted to her that I was too nervous to fall asleep, and she—the bride, who was sleeping like a baby the week before her own wedding—told me I needed to try the “4-7-8” breathing trick.

She happens to be a licensed wellness practitioner who studies meditation, stress, and breathing techniques, and she told me it would change my life. You simply breathe in through your nose for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and exhale through your mouth for eight seconds. She explained that the studied combination of numbers has a chemical-like effect on our brains and would slow my heart rate and soothe me right to sleep that night. “It works,” she told me. “It’s crazy.”

Now that you know how to fall asleep, find out how to stay asleep and have a nightmare-free slumber.

This story was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.