Unless you're a toddler if I offered you the chance to take a nap at any time during the day today you'd probably jump at it. Most American's myself included, are sleep deprived. For many of us, it's not a late bedtime that hangs us up, it's the ability to fall asleep once we make it to the bed that is the cause for the daytime downward spiral.

Here is a trick that I have discovered that works pretty well when you need to get your mind off of life and more in tune with the rhythms of slumber. It's called the 4-7-8 breathing technique. It's very similar to "square breathing" techniques you might already know about if you are a runner or suffer from anxiety.

Here's how it works. When you're lying in your bed breath in for four seconds through your nose. Then hold that breath for seven seconds. After seven seconds exhale that breath out of your mouth for eight seconds. It takes a little practice to get the timing right on these particular aspects of breathing.

Why it works is two-fold. The deliberate breathing pattern gently nudges the body into the breathing pattern needed for sleep. The fact that you have to focus, and you will have to focus, on the counts of how long to breath in , how long to hold, how long to exhale with help clear some of the clutter of your daily life out of your mind, at least for the moments when  you're attempting to fall asleep.

I can tell you this method works for me. Personally, I think this is more of a mental tranquilizer than a physical one. There's something about focusing on the simple numbers that instantly relax the brain, the body, the neck, the shoulders, and everything else that needs to chill out so you can pass out.