It happens to the best of us: one minute, you’re comatose on the couch, struggling to keep your eyes open during The Bachelor rose ceremony; the next, you’re tossing and turning in bed, wide awake and desperate not to be. But if you struggle to get to sleep, we have good news: this tried-and-tested trick could have you snoozing in a matter of seconds.
According to men’s lifestyle site joe.co.uk, the US military use a certain sleep hack that ensures its servicemen and women can fall asleep in 120 seconds, no matter how uncomfortable their conditions on the field (and no, it doesn’t involve sedatives).
The trick is nothing new – in fact, it was first published in Relax and Win: Championship Performance in 1981 – but after six weeks of practice, it’s been proven to have a 96 per cent success rate.
It’s surprisingly simple: start by closing your eyes (who would have thought?!) and taking deep, slow breaths. Start to consciously relax all the muscles in your face – from your forehead to your eyes to your jaw – all the way down to your neck, shoulders, arms and legs, hands and feet.
After another 10 or so seconds of deep, slow breathing, picture your happy place – the book’s author suggests lying in a canoe on a calm lake with blue sky above you, or a black velvet hammock (strangely specific, but okay) in a pitch-black room.
If that fails, you’re supposed to say ‘don’t think’ over and over to yourself for 10 seconds. We’re not joking.
If what works for the military doesn’t work for you, we quizzed international sleep expert and founding member of the Sleep Health Foundation, Dr Carmel Harrington, for her sleep tips.
“One hour before bed, switch off all screen activity, dim the lights of the room you’re in, maybe light a candle, which relaxes the body and produces serotonin and have a warm to hot shower in that hour before bed,” she guides. “The body likes to fall sleep on a lowering temperature – it’s all about conditioning your body that it’s time to sleep.
Good luck – and sweet dreams.