The US Military Sleep Technique that Gives Soldiers a Great Night’s Sleep
While visiting an old friend recently, one of our discussions was about thatsleepguy.com. I explained the goal of this site was to help my readers get a better nights sleep to increase the quality of their life. It got me thinking about how soldiers get to sleep in war torn countries and in dangerous situations. Apparently, its a big deal! They call it the US Military Sleep Technique.
The US Military Sleep Technique is pretty simple, you relax your body from the top down. Relax your head and face muscles, focus on your breathing while relaxing your chest, arms and legs. Imagine yourself in a quiet and serene environment and clear your mind while focusing on a simple phrase over and over.
Why a Good Night’s Sleep is Important for Military Personnel
Looking back towards my article on Insomnia and How it Effects your Health, it should be pretty easy to draw a conclusion of why sleep is important. The effects of no sleep, or lack of good sleep, can wreak havoc on a soldier’s well being. Especially if the soldier is in a war zone.
That is why the military has a program designed to help them fall asleep almost anywhere.
A soldiers mind has to be clear and level headed. If a soldier is unable to think properly or make good judgement calls quickly, you can imagine the consequences. Just like for civilians, everyone needs a great nights sleep.
How to Use the US Military Sleep Technique Properly
Relaxation is the key to forcing your body to fall asleep, so this is the first step to using the us military sleep technique properly. So this first section will focus on the relaxation aspect of this technique.
We begin this technique by relaxing your body from the head down. Find a spot to lay down on something comfortable. Couch, bed, dufflebags, etc.
Now that you are laying down, you want to FOCUS on relaxing your muscles in your head. Start with relaxing your brow. Just “let go” of those muscles. By letting go, you are actively not trying to move your eyebrows. That is a good start. Just keep your eyes closed.
Next, relax your cheeks and jaw muscles the same way. Let your entire head just relax. The only thing you should be doing is keeping your eyes closed.
From here, work the relaxation technique down your body to your chest. Let your shoulders and arms rest by your side. Some people say they have better success by resting one arm at a time, but do it the way you are comfortable with.
Once everything above the belt is relaxed, lets more on to the next step.
Next, we focus on the breathing aspect of the us military sleep technique.
With your head still relaxed, focus on how you breathe. Take big breaths in slowly, and exhale them just as slowly. Feel the breath enter and leave your nostrils. Feel how the air “chills” your nostrils when you inhale through your nose. Your nose has turbinates (click for more information on that subject) that spines the air in your nostrils to removes contaminates. This creates a chill effect. Moving on…
Clear your mind at this point. Rid yourself of any negativity or negative thoughts. Focus on your breathing in… and breathing out… breathing in… breathing out…
Begin relaxing the rest of your body, one at a time. Relax your left leg and let it fall in a comfortable position. Repeat this process with your right leg. Now relax your feet and toes using the same method.
A this point, you should be fully relaxed and only focused on your breathing. Focus on your breathing while relaxed for 15-30 seconds.
Clearing your Mind
Now that you are relaxed and focused on your breathing, next is to focus on something serene. Imagine yourself floating on a raft in a pool, or whatever comfortable scenery you can imagine. I personally enjoy focusing on my back porch during a storm. It isn’t calm for some, but I do love sleeping during a good storm! Check out my other article on sleeping during a storm.
Once you are fully relaxed and in the serene mindset, repeat a small phrase in your mind. Something simple like “Do not think” or “Time to sleep” over and over. Doing this helps direct your minds focus to a singular idea, instead of reminding you of silly things you’ve done today. Pushing yourself to focus on a single idea helps your mind get into that relaxed state with the rest of your body.
Why this Works
When you are trying to sleep in a stressful situation, your mind goes in all types of directions. Stressful does not have to be a war zone type experience. You could be a mother with a newborn or have to go to work in a few hours. These situations can prevent a good nights sleep.
When using the us military sleep technique, you will relax yourself manually and stop your mind from drifting and keep it focused on something simple. Similar to the counting sheep method, we are calming and relaxing ourselves to get some sleep quickly.
I read somewhere that it has a 96% success rate when practiced for 6 weeks. I believe it may be this book, Relax and Win. That link will take you to the book on Amazon. While it speaks about increasing your performance physically, it does stress the importance of a good nights rest.
The us military sleep technique uses some principles from yoga and meditation to increase your relaxation. When you are completely relaxed, it is just being able to control your mind and focus it on one single thought.
If you find yourself needing to get to sleep quickly, I would highly recommend this technique. The more you practice, the better the results.
Check out this article, 9 Effective Methods to Finally Kick Insomnia to the Curb, if you are suffering from insomnia for more tips on how to get a GREAT nights sleep.