Even if your bedtime routine earns a solid A+ on the chill scale (read: no phones allowed), you still might find yourself among the 35 percent of adults who clock less than 7 hours of sleep per night. So it’s worth adding one more two-minute technique to your zzz’s tool kit, courtesy of the U.S. Army, for those nights when counting sheep just doesn’t cut it.
The speedy method—which was originally found to work on 96 percent of U.S. Navy pilots after six weeks of practice—first appeared in the 1981 book Relax and Win: Championship Performance, reports writer Sharon Ackman in the Medium article that got the sleep-deprived part of the internet aflutter about a possible solution. Here’s how to try the approach—which is super similar to a yoga nidra—for yourself.
Step 1: Start by relaxing every muscle in your face, one-by-one, moving down from your forehead to your jaw.
Step 2: Drop your shoulders one at a time, relaxing each as much as possible. Then, do the same with your upper and lower arms.
Step 3: Move through your lower body, consciously relaxing each muscle as you inhale and exhale deeply.
Step 4: Once you’ve reached your toes, spend 10 seconds trying to empty your mind before visualizing one of the following scenes: 1. Lying in a canoe on a lake staring up at a blue sky or 2. Lying on a black, velvet hammock in a dark room. (What?!) If you have trouble conjuring these images on the fly, just repeat, “don’t think, don’t think, don’t think,” to yourself for about 10 seconds, according to The Independent.
Step 5: (Hopefully) fall peacefully asleep.
One writer who tried the pre-bed ritual for Fast Company said it took about a week before he began to see a decrease in how much time he spent tossing and turning before bed. But hey, isn’t that the case with any new habit?
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