Healthy Living

published : 2023-09-29

WWII-era military sleep method could help insomniacs nod off quickly, some claim: 'Peace and calm'

Strategy can be effective for relaxation and sleep, experts told Fox News Digital — but may not work for everyone

An image of U.S. Navy pilots during World War II, taken with a vintage Leica camera

A method used by the U.S. military in World War II could be an effective way to cure insomnia, some people claim — and sleep experts agree, with some conditions.

The strategy, known as the 'military sleep technique,' reportedly has helped people fall asleep in less than five minutes.

It was originally detailed in Lloyd Bud-Winter's book, 'Relax and Win: Championship Performance,' published in 1981.

An American track and field coach, Bud-Winter wrote in his book that he spoke with U.S. Navy pilots about the method they used to relax and fall asleep within two minutes, even under very high-stress conditions.

The technique involves a series of steps aimed at achieving relaxation.

In a recent viral TikTok, user 'mindbrainbodylab' described the process as follows: 'Imagine a scanner going down your entire body, starting at the very top.'

Visualization can be an effective way to get to sleep fast, according to multiple sleep experts.

'Relax every muscle in your face first, including your cheeks and your tongue,' advises 'mindbrainbodylab.'

'Unclench your jaw and take slow, deep breaths. It's super important that you continue to deep-breathe.'

A serene visualization of a peaceful beach sunset, captured with a Canon EOS R5 camera

Next, focus on relaxing the muscles in the shoulders, arms, and hands by imagining them relaxing.

'It's super important that you continue to deep-breathe for this to work,' emphasizes 'mindbrainbodylab.'

Continue the process by relaxing the chest and stomach, all while taking deep breaths.

Finally, relax the right and left legs, imagining every single piece and muscle of the body relaxing.

Once the body is tension-free, turn attention to let go of tension in the mind. 'Imagine you're getting more and more relaxed as you're lying there in peace and calm,' suggests 'mindbrainbodylab.'

According to the TikTok user, many people fall asleep before they reach their legs.

Sleep experts confirm the effectiveness of this method to some extent.

Dr. Alex Dimitriu, founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine, agrees that muscle relaxation and deep breathing can help increase relaxation and reduce thinking, leading to better sleep.

However, the technique may not work as effectively as claimed by the TikTok user.

A person practicing meditation in a tranquil setting, photographed with a Sony Alpha A7III camera

Dr. Shelby Harris, director of sleep health for Sleepopolis and a licensed clinical psychologist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, also emphasizes that there is no simple 'hack' for better sleep.

While this method can be helpful for those who struggle to wind down at night, it may not work for everyone.

It's important to note that the military sleep method has not been scientifically proven to help people fall asleep in two minutes.

However, there is evidence to suggest that relaxation techniques like muscle relaxation and deep breathing can improve sleep quality and quantity.

If the military sleep method doesn't work, experts suggest adjusting pre-bedtime routines, slowing down before turning off lights, and refraining from using technology close to bedtime.

Following a regular sleep schedule and incorporating a relaxing bedtime routine are also recommended.

In addition, daytime meditation for just 10 minutes a day can serve as a 'superpower' to aid sleep.