Sound too good to be true? This life changing sleep technique focuses on muscle relaxation, breathing, and mental visualisation. It was apparently developed by the US military to help its soldiers get to sleep faster anytime, anywhere, even in uncomfortable situations, so they could be more alert the following day. But the technique will also work for the rest of us, tucked up in our comfy beds at home, in an unfamiliar location, or even wedged into an economy seat on a packed long-haul flight.
There are two parts to the ‘fall asleep in two minutes’ technique.
The first part of this technique is physical relaxation
Start by lying down (or simply getting as comfy as possible, wherever you are) and closing your eyes. Now consciously and intentionally relax your face, starting with the muscles of the forehead, then the eyes, tongue, jaw, and neck. Let your shoulders fall away from your ears, relax the arms and hands, focusing on one side at a time.
Each time you exhale, feel a deeper sense of relaxation in the chest and stomach. Continue to move down the body and focus on releasing tension from each area in turn, until your whole body feels relaxed from forehead to toes. Pay attention to the slowing and deepening of your breathing. If it helps, imagine a warm liquid or light flowing slowly down from the top of your head and filling your whole body.
The second part is mental relaxation
If you’re having a million thoughts and your brain is still working overtime, you’ll naturally struggle to sleep. So now you’ve relaxed your entire body, it’s time to stop the whirring of your mind. You’ll need to clear your mind of everything. Imagine a blank sheet of paper, and then replace that thought with a relaxing visualisation. The examples often cited with this technique include either:
- Imagine yourself lying in a canoe on a calm lake, with clear blue skies and the warmth of the sun
- Or, visualise yourself in a pitch black room, swaying gently in a soft black velvet hammock
If you have trouble bringing these visualisations to life, try simply returning to that blank sheet of paper in your mind and repeating ‘don’t think’ to yourself, for at least 10 seconds.
The point is to clear the mind of whatever to do lists, worries or anticipation are keeping you awake, by replacing them with relaxing, dreamy scenarios.
The method works better the more you practice it. So if it doesn’t work straight away, try to stick with it for a few weeks. Over time, this technique will help you get to sleep faster, almost anywhere.