Are you tired of tossing and turning in your bed when you’re ready to go to sleep? Falling asleep easily has been a challenge for me over the years and I feel pangs of jealousy every time my husband starts quietly snoring next to me less than 10 minutes after turning off the light.
I’m not sure how he does that, but I’m always on the lookout for ways to have his sleep superpower. As I did some research on different techniques, I came across one reportedly used by the U.S. Army to help their soldiers fall asleep quickly and get a good night’s rest.
This sleep method, which originated in the 1981 book “Relax and Win: Championship Performance in Whatever You Do” by Bud Winter, has been making the rounds on social media and national media lately as people continue to search for ways to take back their sleep. This technique combines muscle relaxation, visualization and deep breathing to help the body get ready to fall asleep quickly.
After seeing this two-minute method pop up on my screen numerous times, I figured I had nothing to lose and I decided to give it a shot. You start by sitting on the side of your bed, with your feet on the floor. Then, follow these steps:
- Relax all the muscles in your head. This means unfurrow that brow, unclench that jaw and just let your face almost feel like it’s sliding down with gravity.
- Relax the shoulders by letting them drop as far as they’ll go. Then, allow your arms to fall to your side.
- Breath out, allowing your chest and legs to relax. Start from your thighs and consciously relax your legs from top to bottom. Your feet should feel like clay by the time you’re finished.
- Spend 10 seconds clearing your mind. Then, try one of the following exercises:
- Visualize yourself lying in a canoe on a calm lake. There is a clear, blue sky above you as you look up.
- Visualize yourself lying in a black velvet hammock in a pitch-black room.
- If visualizing isn’t your thing, spend some time repeating “Don’t think. Don’t think” for the 10 seconds to clear your mind.
Once you are finished, turn out the light and get into bed, ready to fall asleep in just a couple of minutes.
I know this sounds ridiculous and I totally felt that way when I started doing it. And, the first few nights, sleep did not come as quickly as I had hoped. I found out that the U.S. Army’s study of people who tried this technique did it nightly for six weeks and about 96% of participants claim it worked. So, I kept pushing through feeling silly — but by the end of the first week, I noticed something changing at bedtime.
I felt more relaxed when I got into bed. My mind wasn’t running through the millions of things it usually does when my head hits the pillow. I also noticed I slept more soundly throughout the night. Before the sleep experiment, I’d usually get up at least once in the middle of the night. Within two weeks of starting this method, I noticed I would sleep about five or six hours without waking up at all.
I can’t say this method worked perfectly every night, but it’s been more than a month since the first night I tried it and I find myself going back to it on nights when I feel extra tense or stressed. I like that it’s a routine I can do anywhere and I don’t have to rely on supplements or medication to help me settle into a restful sleep and ready to take on the next morning with a little more energy.
Will you give this sleep solution a try?