Can’t get to sleep? The Military Sleep Method might sound like a hardcore way of catching some shut-eye, but despite the tough-sounding name it’s actually a reliable, gentle and quick way to get to sleep within two or three minutes.
It’s one of those weird old tricks that the internet so loves, but this one definitely works; you don’t need to be a member of the armed forces to use it, and not only can it help you get to sleep, it’s also a great way of getting back to sleep if you tend to wake frequently in the night.
The Military Sleep Method takes regular practice to get right, however, which means that you may give up on it after a few nights and write it off as worthless. Don’t do that; instead read on to find out everything you need to know about this viral sleep technique, and how it can help you get to sleep faster and wake up in the morning feeling a lot more rested.
To track your sleep and see how much better you’ll be sleeping once this method becomes fully effective, consider investing in one of the best sleep trackers too.
If you suffer from insomnia, or if you’re just one of those people who takes an age to get to sleep at night, the Military Sleep Method is an easy-to-learn technique with a series of steps that require nothing but a cozy mattress (and maybe one of the best weighted blankets) or somewhere comfortable where you can get good sleep.
As we’ve mentioned, it takes regular practice to get it right; it could be up to six weeks until you’ve mastered the technique. However once you have it nailed, it can be the best way to help you get to sleep quickly. All it involves is breathing, visualization and a little gentle movement of your fingers and toes.
Dealing with sleeplessness? A TikTok doctor shares the sleep technique that solved his insomnia.
(Image credit: Getty)
How to use the Military Sleep Method
This military sleep technique is a straightforward way to get to sleep quickly and involves nothing more than relaxing, practicing your breathing and doing some gentle movement. Here’s how to use the Military Sleep Method to fall asleep fast:
Find a comfortable position where you want to fall asleep and close your eyes.
Breathe out slowly while focusing on releasing any tension in your body, while keep ing your breathing steady and relaxing the muscles in your face.
Relax your shoulders, letting them drop. Your arms and hands should also feel loose and relaxed by your body.
Continue to inhale and exhale steadily, letting the muscles in the legs and feet relax. Try to focus on letting go of any tension.
Gently flex your feet and toes, imaging a warm feeling flowing from head to toe.
Now is the time to start visualizing in order to empty your mind of restless thoughts. Do this by either imagining you are on your back lying on a canoe that is floating on a calm lake, with a clear blue sky above you. OR imagine you are lying on a black velvet hammock in a dark room.
If thoughts start to crowd in, simply repeat the words ‘Don’t think’, or indeed any short, meaningless phrase, for ten seconds in order to clear your mind. TikTok influencer and fitness expert Justin Agustin tried the Military Sleep Method for himself. Watch the video (below) to find out how he got on.
Can it really help you fall asleep in two minutes?
The Military Sleep Method is a proven way for most people to relax their bodies and minds enough to fall asleep fast, and while it may not work for everyone – some might find it takes longer than expected to fall asleep – most report that at the very least, it leaves them feeling more relaxed.
As with other relaxation techniques, much of its success comes down to regular practice, and training your body and mind to recognize the technique as a signal for sleepy time. You won’t see results overnight, but within a week or two you should be drifting off faster. Even if you’re one of the people who get no effect from the Military Sleep Technique, it should still leave you feeling more relaxed than when you started.
If nothing else, it will still put you in the mood for sleep and send the signal to your brain that it’s time to wind down – an essential part of a good bedtime routine. And if you’re still having trouble getting to sleep at night, there are other techniques that can help; see our guides to 7 tips for better sleep when you’re feeling anxious, and how to sleep when you’re stressed.
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Who created the Military Sleep Method?
The Military Sleep Method is an old technique used by US soldiers to help them fall asleep within minutes – crucial for when they needed to get rest whenever they could in order to stay focused in combat.
In his 1981 book, Relax and Win: Championship Performance, author and sprint coach Bud Winter detailed the ‘The Military Method’ as a way for anyone to fall asleep quickly in order to be at their best during the day.
The sleep technique became popular again when fitness influencer Justin Agustin shared it on TikTok. It work for many of his followers but not all, yet most reported that they felt more relaxed and less stressed or anxious going to sleep.
(Image credit: Getty)
How to prioritize better sleep at night
If you do have trouble getting to sleep or suffer with insomnia, there are plenty of tricks that can help you get better sleep. This includes cutting down on caffeine a few hours before bedtime. The length of time will vary for different people, but most people find lunchtime works as a cut-off point for the last coffee of the day.
Other tips include cutting down on screen-time up to two hours before bedtime, as well as having a bath or warm shower to help prep the body for sleep. This ties in with making sure the bedroom is the right temperature, and ideally, you should go to sleep in a room that is no warmer than 18 degrees Celsius.
Light stretching or meditation before you get into bed is also recommended, and can also help with the Military Sleep Method once you are beneath the covers.
Finally, finding the best mattress and best pillows for sleep is essential. If your mattress isn’t quite right, then try one of the best mattress toppers too, as these are a quick and affordable way to upgrade your bed if you need to be cooler, cozier or more supported in order to sleep well.
This year’s best under-pillow speakers for better sleepI tried the 4 7 8 sleep method to see if it really does help you fall asleep faster