Sleep better with Dr. Andrew Weil's 4-7-8 Breathing Technique

Dr. Andrew Weil’s 4-7-8 Breathing exercise is widely used to fall asleep and wake up better recovered. It is based on the yogi technique called Pranayama, which focuses on the regulation of breath and comes with some very specific instructions:

Download the Breath Ball app to follow this tutorial.  You can find it free of charge at:

How to do the 4-7-8 breathing exercise:

Start the 4-7-8 breathing exercise in Breath Ball and you’ll see an animation similar to this one:

Now breath in the rhythm of the ball:

  1. Inhale through your nose for four seconds with your mouth closed.
  2. Hold your breath for seven seconds.
  3. Exhale through your mouth for eight seconds. Mind the following:
    • Rest the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth, directly behind your upper front teeth.
    • Release any tension from your body by pushing the air through your lips, so it makes a whooshing sound.

The most important phase of the 4-7-8 breathing exercise is holding your breath, which, according to Dr. Weil, allows the oxygen to circulate throughout your body, which causes you to relax. Speaking of relaxation: Try to keep your jaw muscles and your shoulders loose. If you’re used to making fists with your hands, open up your palms a little to relax your hands.

The 4-7-8 ratio is more important than the specific amount of time

Here’s an important little detail: The 4-7-8 ratio is more important than the specific amount of time spent on each phase. So feel free to speed the exercise up, or slow it down, until it feels right to you. Breath Ball Pro provides a handy breathing rhythm control that enables you to adjust the speed during the breathing exercise. If you haven’t tried Breath Ball Pro yet, we recommend you to activate the free test period on the “Pro-Screen.” It enables all the pro features for 48 hours – completely free of charge, with no strings attached!

It will happen that your mind starts to wander during this exercise. It’s a natural thing before falling asleep. When you notice it, gently direct your thoughts back to the breathing technique and continue until you softly fall asleep.

As with every breathing exercise, it will take some time until you’re used to it and till you start getting good results. Please try to stick with it for at least five days in a row. Once you’ve figured it out, the 4-7-8 breathing exercise can get you to sleep in just a few minutes.

Does Dr. Weil’s 4-7-8 breathing technique help you to sleep better?

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If you haven’t downloaded Breath Ball yet, now is a good time to do so. You can find it free of charge at: