Is it hard to fall asleep? For many of us, it’s hard to unwind, unplug, and ultimately, fall asleep. It might be due to stress or an overactive mind. But either way, not being able to fall asleep can weaken our immune system, increase stress and also challenge our cognitive abilities, including our decision making, accuracy and much more. So, if you have sleep troubles, keep reading for proven tips to help you relax and get some much-needed shut eye.
During World War II, military officials recognized a serious problem with their pilots. Due to the incredible amount of stress and pressure they felt, they were making fatal mistakes. So, they gave Naval Ensign, Bud Winter, the all-important task: create a scientific method to help their pilots relax.
One of the many techniques Winter developed was the ability to “sleep in two minutes any time, day or night, under any and all conditions.” Sounds pretty good, right? Here are his tips to relax and fall sleep.
To relax the physical body, Winter suggests what we’d now refer to as a body scan. That is, start at the top of your body your head), and work to relax your forehead, your eyes, your face, your jaw, all the way down to your feet.
Throughout your head-to-toe body scan, Winter reminds to take deep breaths to help release any additional physical tension.
Once you’re in a physically calm and relaxed state, you can turn your focus to your mind.
According to Winter, when you get “your mind clear of any active thoughts for just ten seconds, you will be asleep.”
He specifically advised people to not imagine themselves in moving around. This can activate the brain and strengthen the muscles you’re using in your imagination. So, how can you calm your mind? Here are three mind hacks from Winter:
- Imagine a spring day, complete with a blue sky, floating clouds, a warm breeze, soft green grass
- Imagine you’re resting deep within a big, dark velvet hammock.
- Be in the present moment and ward off active thoughts. He suggested saying to yourself, “Don’t think…don’t think”, but perhaps resisting something can make it harder to avoid it. So, consider saying a mantra to yourself, or focus solely on your breath to remove active thoughts from your mind.