Weils: 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Developed by Dr. Andrew Weil and dubbed by him as “natural tranquilizer for the nervous system”, this breathing exercise was adopted also from the yogic practice of Pranayama (formal control of breathing). Dr. Andrew Weil designed this breathing exercise to aid with sleep by lulling one’s body into a state of deep relaxation. Citing two studies: one by the Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research and the other by National Centre of Health, Dr. Weils argues that this adapted Pranayama breathing exercise can help induce a calm state which as a result has the potential to aid one with sleep. Below are the additional links to Dr. Weil’s cited research, an honest review from a Refinary29 on the effectiveness of the 4-7-8 breathing method article, and two videos of Dr. Weil explaining his 4-7-8 breathing method.


I Tried This Breathing Trick To Fall Asleep — Here's What Happened- By: KIMBERLY TRUONG

“After a few restless nights without sleep this week (and having tried everything from meditation to yoga), I was ready to do almost anything to get a full night of rest. So when a friend told me that she swore by a particular breathing technique, I was immediately up for it.

Her tried-and-true method, the 4-7-8 breathing technique, is theoretically as simple as it sounds: You breathe in for four counts, hold your breath for seven, then exhale for eight counts, and repeat until you fall asleep. The idea is that it relaxes your body, and is especially helpful if you're awake because you're anxious (hi, hello).”


Dr. Weil’s Cited Research