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Military Trick

A trick allegedly developer by U.S. military to ensure falling asleep faster. Said to work for "96 per cent of people after six weeks of practice"[1]

  1. Relax all the muscles in your face -- muscles around eyes, tongue, jaw
  2. Relax your upper body -- shoulders, arms, hands
  3. Relax your chest -- stomach, and on down..
  4. Relax your legs -- starting at the thigh, down to the calf, and feet.
  5. Spend 10 seconds clearing your mind, thinking of absolutely nothing.
  6. Now imagine any one of the following scenarios:
    • You're lying in a canoe in a calm lake with an empty blue sky above.
    • You're lying in a black velvet hammock in a pitch-black room.
    • You repeat "don't think, don't think, don't think, ..." to yourself for 10 seconds.

4-7-8 Breathing

Deep breathing is a great way to calm yourself down. It activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which lowers heart rate, and it limits your wandering thoughts.

This trick is said to help people fall asleep in under 60 seconds.[2]

  1. Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds.
  2. Hold your breath for 7 seconds.
  3. Exhale for 8 seconds.
  4. Repeat until you've fallen asleep.

Mental Walk

Try visualizing walking through a location in your mind. For example, your childhood home, a familiar path or building, etc.

General Tips

  • Avoid blue light after sunset. Blue light wakes our brain up, triggering a brain response similarly to seeing the sun in the morning.
    • f.lux limits blue light from your Mac or Windows computer at night.
    • Night Shift for iOS does the same.
    • Night Mode is the Android option.
    • Use red light-bulbs around your house for night time. Programmable light bulbs like the Philips Hue let you set this up.
  • The optimal sleep temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.[3]
  • Falling into sleep seems to occur after your awareness isn't directed towards anything in particular. Don't just focus on not thinking, focus on nothing.
  • You often get random itches when falling asleep. Avoid scratching them to fall asleep faster.