Insomnia is the worst. The tossing and turning, the anxious glances over at the clock, the overwhelming feeling that every single person in the world is asleep except you.
If all the conventional cures have failed you (serious question: does counting sheep actually work for anyone?), don't despair – there's a new sleep hack out there that's as easy as breathing. Literally.
The '4-7-8 Breathing Technique' is pioneered by Dr Andrew Weil, a Harvard-educated physician with a focus on integrated medicine (that's the combination of traditional and alternative medicine). This insanely simple little life hack is described by Weil as "a natural tranquilizer" for your nervous system, because of the way it affects the balance of carbon dioxide and oxygen in your blood.
It works like this: you inhale through your nose for a count of four, hold that breath for a count of seven, then exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of eight.
The middle step is the most important, because during those seven seconds of holding your breath, oxygen floods your lungs and circulates rapidly through your bloodstream, which results in a feeling of calm.
There's no proof that this will work for everyone – but unlike sleeping pills, there's no risk whatsoever in trying it. So next time you're hopelessly chasing after a few Zs, make sure you pause for breath.