Try This War Meditation Routine to Fall Asleep Quickly

Need to fall asleep quickly? One mid-century relaxation technique developed by the US Navy pre-flight school supposedly works in minutes. It may not be magic, but it looks like a pretty good way to relax your body and mind.

The basics, described in Relaxing and Winning and summarized in Medium , are to relax your body piece by piece and then try to completely clear your mind for ten seconds. Here’s the script:

  • Relax the muscles in your face, including your tongue, jaw, and the muscles around your eyes.
  • Drop your shoulders as low as possible. Then relax your upper and lower arms on one side and then on the other.
  • Exhale and relax your chest.
  • Finally, relax your legs, first your thighs and then your calves.

Take a minute and a half to go over the list with every part of your body completely relaxed, and then try to clear your mind for ten seconds. As reported by Art of Manliness, Bud Winter (the author of the program) invites you to choose one of these mental images:

  • Lying in a canoe on a calm lake, only the blue sky above you.
  • He took refuge in a black velvet hammock in a pitch-black room.
  • Repeat “don’t think, don’t think, don’t think” over and over for ten seconds.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because this sequence — partial relaxation of your body — is at the heart of almost every dream meditation track. So does it work? Almost certainly yes.

But is this trick really the best or fastest way to fall asleep? The current BBC website has plenty of sleep advice , without mentioning a specific, mandatory two-minute script. Meanwhile, the Army advises : “When it comes to getting adequate sleep, the key is to do what works for you. There is no other magic formula other than listening to your body. “


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