This article originally appeared on 04.11.19
For those in the military, sleep can mean the difference between life and death. But shut-eye can be very hard to come by, especially during active conflict.
According to Sharon Ackman, the U.S. Navy Pre-Flight School developed a scientific method to help its pilots fall asleep. Through this technique, 96% of the pilots were able to fall asleep in two minutes or less.
If pilots could fall asleep during war, you should be able to use it to knock out in the comfort of your bedroom.
Here's how to do it:
Step 1: Relax in your seat
Given the space restraints of a typical plane, the pilots were taught to sleep in a seated position. They put their feet flat on the ground, while relaxing their hands in their laps.
Breathe slow, deep breaths while relaxing every muscle in your face and letting your forehead, cheeks, mouth, tongue, and jaw go limp.
Step 2: Relax your upper body
Let your shoulders drop as low as you can. Allow the muscles in your neck go lifeless.
Starting with your dominant side, let your bicep feel like it's falling off your body. Then move to your forearm, hand, and fingers. If a muscle isn't relaxing, tense it first, then let it go loose.
Slowly exhale your tension.
Step 3: Relax your lower body
Tell your right thigh muscle to sink, then move down your leg, saying the same thing to your calf, ankle, and foot. Your leg should feel like it has sunk into the ground. Then move on to your left leg.
Step 4: Clear your mind
The final step is to clear your mind for ten seconds. You can do this by paying attention to your breath as it moves through your nostrils or holding a static image in your mind.
Once your body is relaxed and your mind quiet, you should slip away into darkness.
For more information on this sleep technique, check out Ackman's Medium blog.
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