The 4-7-8 Technique will Get Your Kids to Sleep in Seconds

If your little one has trouble sleeping, the 4-7-8 technique will help them relax and fall asleep.
The 4-7-8 Technique will Get Your Kids to Sleep in Seconds

Last update: 14 April, 2018

The 4-7-8 technique applies a simple formula to help children relax and improve their breathing by controlling their diaphragm.

The goal is to take in more oxygen, relax the muscles and soothe your little one’s mind.

The 4-7-8 technique, devised by Andrew Weil, director of Integral Medicine and professor at the University of Arizona, helps to control breathing and return oxygen levels in the blood to normal.

This reduces the heart rate and helps children relax and fall asleep.

This breathing exercise also acts as a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system.

Unlike traditional medicine, the 4-7-8 technique takes effect immediately. With repetition and practice, however, it becomes even more effective.

Once your child puts this technique into practice every day, it will become a useful tool for falling asleep.

The 4-7-8 technique

The 4-7-8 breathing exercise is very simple. It doesn’t take long to do, and you can try it anywhere, in any position. However, sitting up straight is ideal for this exercise.

First, your child should put the tip of their tongue against the edge of the palate, just behind their upper front teeth. The tongue should stay in this position throughout the exercise.

Next, they should breathe out of their mouth, around their tongue. If this is uncomfortable, they can try pursing their lips slightly.

The third step is to exhale fully through their mouth and inhale silently through their nose, counting to four in their head.

At that moment, they should hold their breath and count to seven before breathing out through their mouth. They can hum a little as they exhale, counting to eight.

To do the whole exercise, breathe in again and repeat the cycle a total of four times.

The 4-7-8 Technique will Get Your Kids to Sleep in Seconds

A simple technique

With this breathing technique, your child should always inhale silently through their nose and exhale audibly through their mouth.

The tip of their tongue should remain in the same position, and exhaling should take twice as long as inhaling.

The time that your child takes to do the exercise is not important, but what does matter is the 4-7-8 ratio.

If your little one has trouble holding their breath, you could start off with a shorter breathing exercise. Just keep the proportion between inhaling and exhaling.

Once your child has gotten some practice, you can slow it down and get them used to breathing in and out deeply.

“With this breathing technique, your child should always inhale silently through their nose and exhale audibly through their mouth”

Other tips for getting children to sleep

Don’t let your little one suffer the consequences of sleep deprivation.

As a parent, you can help your child get a good night’s sleep by creating a consistent and predictable bedtime routine.

This should include around 30 minutes of relaxing activities, such as story time or a warm, soothing bath.

Put up dark curtains and keep the rest of the house as quiet as possible. This will also help your child calm down and sleep peacefully.

“There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

The 4-7-8 Technique will Get Your Kids to Sleep in Seconds

Benefits of a good night’s sleep

Sleeping well has many benefits for your child. These are some of the most important:

  • It promotes growth. While children sleep, their bodies produce the growth hormone.
  • A good night’s sleep increases attention span. Getting enough hours of sleep improves children’s attention span.
  • It reduces behavioral problems. Both children and adults can suffer from behavioral problems when they don’t get enough sleep. These can manifest in different ways.
  • Sleep improves performance at school. Children who get enough sleep do better at school. In general, they are more active, more alert and have a better attitude. Sleep problems can also negatively impact a child’s cognitive development.
  • It reduces the risk of obesity. Children who sleep enough have a lower risk of childhood obesity. This is because the hormones that control hunger are directly related to sleep quality. If a child isn’t getting enough sleep, their appetite will take over and they won’t know when they’ve eaten enough.

Getting your child to sleep on time is important for many aspects of life. In this sense, the 4-7-8 technique can be a useful tool for parents.

The contents of You Are Mom is for educational and informational purposes only. At no time do they replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. If in doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.