Military Sleep Method: Steps to Fall Asleep Fast

Around 37% of people in the United States don’t get enough sleep. For people who are in the military, that number goes up to 76%. As long nights of rest for the military are few and far between, every second of sleep counts. The military sleep method is a way for service members to get more sleep by falling asleep quickly.

Key takeaways:

What is the military sleep method

Bud Winter developed the military sleep technique, which he wrote about in his book "Relax and Win: Championship Performance." Winter was a Navy pilot who came up with this way to sleep while he was in pre-flight school, he was also an Olympic sprint coach. He made it so that soldiers could fall asleep quickly. Military personnel often sleep in loud, dangerous, and stressful environments. Sleep is needed to keep them fresh and keen.

The method is designed for you to practice over and over until you can fall asleep in under two minutes. After about six weeks of practice, this way of falling asleep quickly should be second nature.

Even though this way of sleeping was made for military members, that does not mean you cannot use it. The military sleep method incorporates deep breathing, biofeedback, and visualization.

Steps on how to use military sleep method

The military sleep method uses an easy 5 steps:

  1. Focus on deep breathing. Close your eyes when you are in bed and focus on taking deep, slow breaths in and out.
  2. Start to relax. First, start at the top of your head and relax the muscles in your face. Focus on taking deep breaths while you relax your forehead, eyebrows, cheeks, and jaw.
  3. Relax your upper body. The next step is to start relaxing the rest of your body by gradually moving down. First, loosen up your shoulders by letting them hang down. Allow yourself to sink into the mattress and let go of the tension in your upper back and chest. Then, focus on each arm and let go of any tension in them by working on the biceps, triceps, forearms, and fingers.
  4. Relax your lower body. Once you are comfortable with your face and upper body, move your lower body to ease any tension there is. Beginning by letting your hips and torso sink into the bed and loosen up. Release the muscles in your thighs, kneecap, calves, and ankles. After that, loosen up your feet and toes too.
  5. Visualize. After you have fully relaxed your body, you can now focus on relaxing your mind. Picture a scene that makes you feel calm, like lying on the beach and listening to the waves or hanging out in a hammock and watching the birds. If your mind is too busy to picture a relaxing scene, tell yourself over and over, "Stop thinking." Once you are done, try to picture your relaxing scene again.

Benefits of using military sleep method

The military sleep method provides different relaxation techniques used to help people sleep. The use of all of these techniques together incorporate a sleeping technique that can benefit many people:

  • Deep breathing. Focusing on deep breathing exercises helps relieve stress, distract from unwanted thoughts, and control your heart rate.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation. Performing progressive muscle relaxation on each muscle helps to relieve physical tension and prevent anxiety.
  • Biofeedback. Using biofeedback allows you to control your body functions, such as relaxing your muscles and using breathing exercises to help control your body functions, such as your heart rate or your thoughts.
  • Visualization. Visualizing a relaxing scene while trying to sleep can help get your mind in a relaxed state.

There isn’t any specific research done on this particular method of falling asleep. There is, though, research on the techniques used within the military sleep method that has proven to be beneficial for sleep.

Science behind the military sleep method

Taking deep breaths can help your heart rate go down. Additionally, it helps to calm the nervous system and relax the body. When this happens it can increase the level of melatonin in your body to help make you feel sleepy.

Another technique that has been looked at for sleep is progressive muscle relaxation. This technique may help people reduce anxiety and stop depressive thoughts when trying to fall asleep at night.

Biofeedback teaches you how to control certain bodily functions while trying to fall asleep, such as your breathing and heart rate. Using biofeedback while trying to sleep may help relax your mind and heart rate to put yourself to sleep.

In visualization, it creates relaxation by helping to reduce stress, unwanted thoughts, and anxiety to help you feel more at ease when going to bed.

Other methods to fall asleep fast

If you want to get as much sleep as possible, you might want to learn how to fall asleep quickly. After going to bed, it should not take you more than 20 minutes to fall asleep unless something is keeping you awake.

Prior to going to sleep, make sure you clean up properly. This includes turning off the lights before bed and putting away your phone. It will also help to keep your room cool and dark to promote sleepiness.

There are several different methods and techniques you can use to fall asleep faster. Some of them, like the military sleep method, can take a little while to master before falling asleep quickly.

You can also use progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, counting your breaths, visualizing counting sheep, and many other techniques.

The military sleep method is an excellent way to try to fall asleep faster. The different techniques in this method can help calm the body and mind so they are ready for sleep. While sleeping hacks can help some people who are having trouble sleeping, they will not be able to cure ALL medical problems. If you are struggling to sleep and relaxation methods do not work for you, consider speaking with your doctor.


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