Getting a good night’s sleep is absolutely crucial to being in peak shape the following morning. And no on knows that better than the U.S. Army. Given the potentially deadly consequences of exhaustion on the battlefield, the military developed a sleep trick to help soldiers nod off in just a few minutes.
The sleep hack was first laid out in Relax and Win: Championship Performance, a 1981 book on how to utilize athletic methods to ease tension and better succeed in life byÂ Lloyd Bud Winter, the legendary sprinting coach. The sleep hack proved effective for 96 percent of military service members after just six weeksâ€”and it consists of four simple steps.
1. First, relax all of the muscles in your face. This includes the muscles around your eyes, as well as your tongue and jaw. You might not even notice that you’re clenching your teeth! But many of us do, and it’s a definite sleep inhibitor.
2. Once your face is relaxed, drop your shoulders down as far as they’ll goâ€”then drop your upper and lower arms, one side at a time.
3.Â Breathe out through your chest, and consciously relax your legs, working your way down from the thighs.
4. Finally, clear your mind by imagining yourself in one of the following situations:
A) Lying in a canoe on a lake with nothing but a clear sky above you
B) Lying in a black velvet hammock in a dark room
C) Saying “Don’t think” to yourself over and over again.
Doing this for 10 seconds should have you off in your own little dream world.
Easy as pie! And if you find that you’re in the 4 percent minority that can’t fall asleep faster with this military sleep trick, worry not. “The bottom line when it comes to getting restful sleep is doing what works for you,” writes Kaylene Pursely, health educator at the Fort Leonard Wood Army Wellness Center, on the U.S. Army website. “There is no magical formula other than listening to your body.”
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