We’ve all been there. Some nights you just lay in bed for hours tossing and turning. Maybe you’re stressed about work, contemplating major life decisions, or thinking about that argument you should have won in the 3rd grade. It’s possible that it has nothing to do with stress and you’re just wired from that extra cup of coffee you drank late in the day or that episode of LivePD you just finished watching. Whatever the reason, falling asleep is such a difficult task. One night shouldn’t be a problem, but when it occurs night after night, it could become a bad habit that really starts affecting your daily performance and overall health.
Obviously, you’re not the only one having this problem. In fact scientists and the military have put a lot of effort into understanding why we can’t sleep and how to solve this exhausting issue. Here are some methods they have put together to help you fall asleep quick.
1. The Military Method
Full disclosure, this method takes about 6 weeks of practice, but once mastered, this method can help you sleep in even the worst of conditions. It’s so effective that the military trains it’s soldiers to use this technique to fall asleep even in when surrounded by gunfire. If done properly, this technique can have you asleep in less than 2 minutes.
- Relax all the muscles in your face, including the tongue, jaw, and muscles around the eyes.
- Drop your shoulders to release tension, followed by your upper and lower arm, one side at a time.
- Exhale and relax your chest, followed by legs from the top down.
- Clear your mind for 10 seconds. To help, try imagining yourself lying in a canoe on a calm lake, or in a velvet hammock in a pitch black room. If that doesn’t work then just say to yourself “don’t think, don’t think, don’t think” for 10 seconds. Within 10 seconds you should be asleep.
2. The 4 – 7 – 8 Breathing Method
Based on the ancient yogic technique called pranayama, this breathing pattern is designed to have you focus on your breathing and enter full relaxation. If done correctly, this could have you sleeping like a little angel in 2 minutes.
- Part your lips slightly and make a whooshing sound as you exhale through your mouth.
- Close your lips and inhale silently through your nose. Count to 4 in your head.
- Hold your breath for 7 seconds.
- Exhale again through your mouth making another whooshing sound for 8 seconds.
Repeat for about 4 – 8 breaths.
3. Paradoxical Intention
This technique is actually pretty simple. Just tell yourself to stay awake and you are more likely to fall asleep faster. When trying to make yourself fall asleep, it could create anxiety when unable to do so right away. Studies show that people who used this Paradoxical Intention method fell asleep faster than those who didn’t. Basically, we love breaking the rules, so by telling ourselves to stay awake we are more likely to do the opposite.
Have any other good techniques for falling asleep? Then send them in to firstname.lastname@example.org.