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How to use the Military Sleep Method to fall asleep faster at night

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The Military Sleep Method might sound tough but it’s designed to gently  – and quickly – ease you into sleep within two to three minutes. An old technique used by soldiers, the military method for sleeping can actually be used by anybody and it’s a handy way to get back to sleep if you frequently wake in the night. 

However, like anything, it takes regular practice, but once you have the Military Sleep Method nailed you’ll be fighting to stay awake. Here’s what you need to know about this viral sleep technique and how to start using it to fall asleep faster at night and wake up feeling much more refreshed in the morning.

To track your sleep and see how much better you’ll be sleeping once this method becomes fully effective, consider investing in one of the best sleep trackers too.

The Military Sleep Method is a way of getting to sleep quickly – this is ideal if you suffer from insomnia or simply want to drift off to sleep straight away. It’s easy to do, with a series of steps that require nothing but a cozy mattress or somewhere comfortable where you can get good sleep. 

While the technique does require daily practice – it needs to be done for up to six weeks in order to be most effective – once you have it nailed, then it can be a great way to help you get to sleep quickly. All it involves is breathing, visualization and a little gentle movement of your fingers and toes.

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How to use the Military Sleep Method 

This military sleep technique is a straightforward way to get to sleep quickly and involves nothing more than relaxing, practicing your breathing and doing some gentle movement. Here’s how to use the Military Sleep Method to fall asleep fast:

Find a comfortable position where you want to fall asleep and close your eyes.

Breathe out slowly while focusing on releasing any tension in your body, while keep ing your breathing steady and relaxing the muscles in your face.

Relax your shoulders, letting them drop. Your arms and hands should also feel loose and relaxed by your body.

Continue to inhale and exhale steadily, letting the muscles in the legs and feet relax. Try to focus on letting go of any tension.

Gently flex your feet and toes, imaging a warm feeling flowing from head to toe.

Now is the time to start visualizing in order to empty your mind of restless thoughts. Do this by either imagining you are on your back lying on a canoe that is floating on a calm lake, with a clear blue sky above you. OR imagine you are lying on a black velvet hammock in a dark room.

If thoughts start to crowd in, simply repeat the words ‘Don’t think’ for ten seconds. TikTok influencer and fitness expert Justin Agustin tried the Military Sleep Method for himself. Watch the video (below) to find out how he got on. 

@justin_agustin

♬ You - Petit Biscuit

Can it really help you fall asleep in two minutes?

When practiced every day the Military Sleep Method is a proven way for most people to feel relaxed enough to fall asleep quickly. While some folk might take longer than three minutes, most people do report feeling more relaxed at the very least. 

Because the key to most relaxation methods is practice, you might not see the results overnight – literally – but there should be some effect within a week or two. If the Military Sleep Method doesn’t work for you, you still have nothing to lose, as it’s a free, easy and harmless way to relax. 

If anything, it will still put you in the mood for sleep and send the signal to your brain that it’s time to wind down – an  essential part of a good bedtime routine.

Who created the Military Sleep Method?

The Military Sleep Method is an old technique used by US soldiers to help them fall asleep within minutes – crucial for when they needed to get rest whenever they could in order to stay focused in combat. 

In his 1981 book, Relax and Win: Championship Performance, author and sprint coach Bud Winter detailed the ‘The Military Method’ as a way for anyone to fall asleep quickly in order to be at their best during the day. 

The sleep technique became popular again when fitness influencer Justin Agustin shared it on TikTok. It work for many of his followers but not all, yet most reported that they felt more relaxed and less stressed or anxious going to sleep.

A man wakes up happy after a great night's sleep

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How to prioritize better sleep at night

If you do have trouble getting to sleep or suffer with insomnia, there are plenty of tricks that can help you get better sleep. This includes cutting down on caffeine a few hours before bedtime. The length of time will vary for different people, but most people find lunchtime works as a cut-off point for the last coffee of the day.

Other tips include cutting down on screen-time up to two hours before bedtime, as well as having a bath or warm shower to help prep the body for sleep. This ties in with making sure the bedroom is the right temperature, and ideally, you should go to sleep in a room that is no warmer than 18 degrees Celsius. 

Light stretching or meditation before you get into bed is also recommended, and can also help with the Military Sleep Method once you are beneath the covers.

Finally, finding the best mattress and best pillows for sleep is essential. If your mattress isn’t quite right, then try one of the best mattress toppers too, as these are a quick and affordable way to upgrade your bed if you need to be cooler, cozier or more supported in order to sleep well.

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This article is part of TechRadar's Sleep Week 2022 (running until Saturday 19 March), a week-long celebration of all things slumber. We'll be bringing you proven techniques and tips to help you sleep better, and have rounded-up all the top-rated tech to transform your sleep.

Claire Davies
Claire Davies

Claire is a Sleep Editor who covers all things related to slumber, and is the go-to person for getting great product recommendations for better sleep. As an expert mattress reviewer, Claire has tested memory foam and hybrid mattresses from a range of top-rated brands, and has extensive experience of testing bedding too. Claire regularly speaks to certified sleep specialists, such as chartered psychologists and doctors of sleep medicine, to stay on top of the research and techniques that can help you enjoy better quality sleep, and she speaks with industry specialists about the latest mattress trends and new releases. Before delving into the world of sleep, Claire was Health & Wellness Editor at Top Ten Reviews, and before that a Senior Content Editor at T3. Having suffered with insomnia for years, Claire knows how much of a difference a good night's sleep can make and is super-passionate about helping others to snooze better.