Do you struggle with sleeping? Counting sheep not working out? What if I told you there was a all-but guaranteed method to falling asleep within two minutes?
You’d probably call me crazy but it’s true. Naval ensign Bud Winter came up with a technique for ‘teaching’ sleep after armed forces during WWII realised how badly they’d suffer if pilots were to lose out on vital sleep.
Winter, a successful football coach, collaborated with a psychology professor to determine just what it takes to fall asleep almost instantly, regardless of location.
STEP 1: GET COMFORTABLE
I know, pretty straightforward. But wherever you are get into the most comfortable position possible.
STEP 2: RELAX YOUR FACE
This is it. This is the one you really need to lock down. All that tossing and turning your face, side to side, up and down, hmm’ing and aww’ing… ditch all that. You have 43 muslces in your face and when they are relaxed, you send a physiological signal to your body that everything is cool.
So let it all go. Forehead, cheeks, tongue, and jaw. Don’t be afraid of looking silly. Trying to look composed and tight will keep you awake. When you relax your face your breathing will deepen slowly but surely.
STEP 3: RELAX YOUR LEGS
Let your legs go. Let them droop, like dead weight. Forget you even have legs.
Then your arms. Allow your shoulders to loosen and then, using your writing hand, tense your bicep and then let it go slack until it’s relaxed.
Once you’ve mastered that, now it’s time to switch the brain off. This might seem like the hardest part, but Winter has some recommendations.
First, we want you to fantasize that it is a warm spring day and you are lying in the bottom of a canoe on a very serene lake. You are looking up at a blue sky with lazy, floating clouds. Do not allow any other thought to creep in. Just concentrate on this picture and keep foreign thoughts out, particularly thoughts with any movement or motion involved. Hold this picture and enjoy it for 10 seconds.
In the second sleep-producing fantasy, imagine that you are in a big, black, velvet hammock and everywhere you look is black. You must also hold this picture for 10 seconds.
The third trick is to say the words “don’t think . . . don’t think . . . don’t think,” etc. Hold this, blanking out other thoughts for at least 10 seconds.
And that’s it. When you have a fully relaxed body and a mind that’s still for 10-plus seconds, you will fall asleep, period.
Pilots practised the method over and over, and 96% of them achieved success after six weeks of practice. It’s a pretty worthwhile investment if it means falling asleep in two minutes, wherever, whenever!