A technique reportedly used by the military to fall asleep "anywhere" within two minutes has been seen by just about everyone on TikTok lately, and it might be worth a try if you are struggling to drift off.
Fitness "guru" Justin Agustin shared the hack to his followers, claiming that the technique was originally developed for fighter pilots, who need their sleep for concentration. He claims that the trick allowed soldiers to fall asleep at any time and any place, even if that's on the battlefield. Which, if we're honest, seems like a terrible location to power down for seven hours.
“Start by relaxing the muscles in your forehead,” Agustin explained.
“Relax your eyes, your cheeks, your jaw and focus on your breathing. Now go down to your neck and your shoulders. Make sure your shoulders are not tensed up. Drop them as low as you can and keep your arms loose by your side, including your hands and fingers.”
"Imagine this warm sensation going from your head all the way down to your fingertips."
“Now, take a deep breath and slowly exhale, relaxing your chest, your stomach, down to your thighs, knees, legs and feet,” he added.
Now you imagine the warm sensation heading down from your heart into your toes. At this point, he stresses it's really important to clear your mind of any stresses. Again, we are impressed that anyone could do this when one of those stresses are "I am on a battlefield", but he claims that an easy trick to do this is to imagine you are lying in a canoe on a calm lake with clear skies, or that you're in a black velvet hammock in a dark room.
Should you get distracted, by intrusive thoughts or bullets flying through the trenches, you should repeat the words “don’t think, don’t think, don’t think” in your mind for 10 seconds, before returning to picturing your chosen calm scene.
The technique appears to come from a book called Relax and Win: Championship Performance, published in 1981, and then covered in a widely-shared Medium article years later.
"The U.S. Navy Pre-Flight School developed a scientific method to fall asleep day or night, in any conditions, in under two minutes," Sharon Ackerman wrote in the Medium article.
"After six weeks of practice, 96 percent of pilots could fall asleep in two minutes or less. Even after drinking coffee, with machine gunfire being played in the background."
She notes that the pilots in the experiment were asked to sleep sitting upright in a chair, but a bed should work too.