For the majority of people falling asleep can be a difficult task. Whether it is anxiety, stress, too much caffeine, or uncomfortable conditions there are many reasons our brains could refuse to take a rest. According to Sleep Advisor it takes the normal human being nearly 7 minutes to fall asleep. But as many of us know, there are just some of those nights where that’s not likely to happen.
If you are experiencing nightly insomnia or it takes you more than an hour to fall asleep you should consult a medical professional. However, if you’re just looking to fall asleep faster, here are some tips that the military has utilized to fall asleep in under 2 minutes.
This method was popularized by the book Relax and Win: Championship Performance by Lloyd Bud Winter in 1981. The military method that is outlined is quite simple and takes around 2 minutes to finish.
- For a brief moment, tighten your facial muscles. After a few seconds, allow the muscles and your tongue to relax.
- Now relax your shoulders and allow them to hang loosely towards the ground.
- Relax your chest and then inhale and exhale normally.
- Relax the lower half of your body, focusing on the legs and thighs.
- Let your mind clear. Don’t think about your thoughts, just let them come and go as they please.
- Visualize yourself in a relaxing setting . . . such as lying in a field of flowers or relaxing in a rocking chair watching a cool breeze. If you can’t imagine such a setting just repeat “Don’t Think”.
- After 10 seconds of the 6th step you should be fast asleep.
Obviously like everything in life, practice makes perfect. Every night that you go to bed try the method above until it finally becomes habit. There are some other tips that will help you fall asleep faster and the above work:
- Keep your bedroom cold. It is recommended by the National Sleep Foundation to keep the temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit at night.
- Dim all electronics or stop all use within an hour of bedtime. This will allow your brain to naturally wind itself down and free of any stimulus.
- Cut out all caffeine in the afternoon. According to Sleep Education caffeine has a timespan of 3-5 hours in your body. Plan accordingly so it doesn’t keep you up at night.
- Eliminate all light in your bedroom. If you live in a city invest in some quality blackout shades to ensure that your bedroom is as dark as possible.
- Don’t stress about life or yourself . . . think about the positive. We have a great article on how to improve your self-image that might help.
If these tips do not help, it might be beneficial to try breathing exercise to see if that helps your body and mind relax. The 4-7-8 breathing technique is quite simple:
- Allow your lips to rest and gently part.
- Exhale completely making a “whoosh” sound as you do it.
- Gently press your lips together and slowly inhale through your nose for 4 seconds.
- Now hold your breath for 7 seconds.
- Finally exhale again making the “whoosh” sound for a total of 8 seconds.
- For the first time repeat this for 4 times. Eventually you want to work your way up to 8 sets.
If you’ve completed all of the above you should see vast improvements in the time that it takes you to fall asleep. As always if it’s not working out, just keep practicing until you get the hang of it.