Having difficulties falling asleep? You are not alone. About 1 in 4 U.S. workers has insomnia, according to a national survey. With a poor night sleep, your performance on working or studying may be influenced during the day, but at night you may still have difficulties falling or staying asleep.
Trying too hard to fall asleep can cause a cycle of anxious, nerve-wracking energy that keeps your minds awake.
There are some scientific tricks you can try to fall asleep faster. It’s unlikely that the approaches can be successfully for the first time. All the tricks need practice for several days or months.
Fall asleep in 10 seconds
This method takes a full 120 seconds to finish, but the last 10 seconds is said to be truly all it takes to finally snooze.
The military method
The method is said to be used in U.S. Navy Pre-Flight School to help pilots fall asleep in 2 minutes or less. It takes about 6 weeks of practice, but it works, even after caffeine intake and background noise.
1. Relax your entire face, including the muscles inside your mouth.
2. Drop your shoulders to release the tension and let your hands drop to the side of your body.
3. Exhale, relaxing your chest.
4. Relax your legs, thighs, and calves.
5. Clear your mind for 10 seconds by imaging a relaxing scene.
6. If this doesn’t work, try saying the words “don’t think” over ad over for 10 seconds.
7. Within 10 seconds, you should fall asleep.
Relaxing your muscles is vital to this method, which requires some time to practice.
60 seconds to fall asleep
The following two methods focus on your breath or muscles, helping you take your mind off-topic and back to bed.
4-7-8 breathing method
1. Let your lips part slightly and make a whooshing sound as you exhale through your mouth.
2. Then close your lips and inhale silently through your nose. Count to 4 in your head.
3. Then hold your breath for 7 seconds.
4. After, exhale (with a whoosh sound) for 8 seconds.
5. Avoid being too alert at the end of each cycle. Try to practice it mindlessly.
6. Complete this cycle for four full breaths. Let your body sleep if you feel relaxation coming on earlier than anticipated.
Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR)
1. Raise your eyebrows as high as possible for 5 seconds. This will tighten your forehead muscles.
2. Relax your muscles immediately and feel the tension drop. Wait 10 seconds.
3. Smile widely to create tension in your cheeks. Hold for 5 seconds. Relax.
4. Pause 10 seconds.
5. Squint with your eyes shut. Hold 5 seconds. Relax.
6. Pause 10 seconds.
7. Tilt your head slightly back so you’re comfortably looking at the ceiling. Hold 5 seconds. Relax as your neck sinks back into the pillow.
8. Pause 10 seconds.
9. Keep moving down the rest of the body, from your triceps to chest, thighs to feet.
10. Let yourself fall asleep, even if you don’t finish tensing and relaxing the rest of your body.