There is a new meditation technique making the rounds on TikTok and we promise it does not involve taping your mouth. If you dream of falling asleep faster at night without the aid of sleep supplements or taking part in somewhat dangerous sleeping DIY methods, this new technique might be worth the try.
TikTok content creator Olivia Hedlund, whose videos revolve around living a gut-healthy lifestyle, decided not to gate-keep the meditation method she uses for sleep.
Hedlund posted a video on how she uses something called the pineal gland meditation method to fall asleep almost instantly every night.
Despite the 1.7 million views the TikTik gathered since its release on June 1, the comments made us a little skeptical of how legit this method truly is.
The feedback was a mixture of negative and positive reactions, from, “I do this totally works,” to, “I don’t know if I did it wrong or if it just straight up didn’t work.” With this, we decided to look more into this method and speak with some experts. Is this worth the try or is it just another meditation technique to skip over on your For You page? We have the answers.
What Is The Pineal Gland Meditation Method?
Once we saw the title of this video, “Sleep Hack That Works Like Magic,” we knew this content was calling our name. It was music to our ears as Hedlund said this hack has made herself and two other friends fall asleep instantly.
In her video, Hedlund outlines the steps she takes in order for this method, created by doctor and scientist Joe Dispenzia, to be effective.
The process starts off simple. Hedlund says this method begins with taking some deep breaths to activate a stress-free zone in your bed.
However, she said these breaths need to be done in a specific way in order to work.
“You basically take a super slow inhale through your nose and you start clenching your body,” she said in the TikTok.
We were a little scared after she said this was part of the method, but we were still intrigued. She continued to explain the clenching aspect of the breathing technique, which involves flexing your abs and stomach.
As we continued to watch the video, it was starting to sound a little more like a pilates workout class than a breathing exercise.
As you clench your stomach, you inhale a big deep breath and hold it there for as long as you can, repeating the process five times until you begin to feel sleepy.
“You like literally feel the breath go up your spine up until I imagine it in the middle of my head,” she said.
So, why is this breathing technique unique from other common meditation-like tactics? Is it the fact that you have to hold your breath until you pass out?! This is where we bring in the experts.
Is This Method Worth a Try?
To truly understand this method and how it affects the body, it’s important to look further into its name and why it’s named after a little-known gland we all have.
Bayu Prihandito, a certified psychology expert and life coach and founder and CEO of Life Architekture, said the pineal gland is referred to among medical professionals as the “third eye,” and acts as the body’s sleep regulator.
“When you meditate, focusing on the pineal gland, it’s believed to stimulate this organ, helping to release melatonin, the hormone that puts us to sleep at night,” he said. “The benefits of this meditation can include improved sleep patterns, reduced stress and anxiety levels, and heightened spiritual awareness.”
He said that unlike other meditation techniques, the controlled breathing and visualization that comes with this method targets a specific part of the brain.
The step of holding your breath for as long as you can in this method is also what makes it truly unique. Prihandito called this “box breathing” and it helps with relaxation.
“Holding your breath momentarily can slow your heart rate and activate your body’s nervous system, promoting in return a sense of inner calm and helping prepare your body for sleep,” he said.
There are some limitations to this method, just like any other breathing technique. Prihandito said this might not work instantly or effectively for each person since it is a case-by-case basis. It also will not resolve specific sleeping conditions such as insomnia, so it’s important to speak with your doctor if you have continuous sleeping problems.
It’s pretty obvious that this technique might be more effective and a little safer than some other extreme methods on TikTok (looking at you, Nyquil Chicken). Maybe holding your breath for as long as you can is not as intimidating as it might seem. In fact, it might help you achieve that elusive, dreamy good night’s rest.
Prihandito, Bayu. Personal Interview. June 27, 2023.