Military-Approved Tactics to Fall Asleep Instantly
For a marine in the U.S. military, getting the right amount of sleep can mean the difference between life and death.
According to researchconducted by the Pentagon, when soldiers got enough sleep, combat fatalities on their next mission decreased by 20%!
But whether you're a soldier or a civilian, sleep often remains elusive.
While you may not be in the trenches, a lack of sleep often translates to:
Loss of a promotion
Strained social life
Fogginess and difficulty concentrating
General unhappiness with life
Even worse: anxiety over the loss of sleep only compounds these effects.
That's why we've researched and brought you this list of military-approved, data-backed methods on improving sleep quality and falling asleep fast.
What You Need to Know:
The tactics we're about to share are extremely effective and are used by the Marines.
You don't need to have the iron-will and discipline of a soldier to use them.
So easy and simple to follow you'll start to see results within a couple of days.
Tactic #1: Use a Sleep Mask
Here's a quick fact that will convince you to get a sleep maskimmediately: Light and noise account for 30% of all sleep problems.
Interestingly, eye masks were proven to be much more effective at helping soldiers fall asleep than earplugs, which many found uncomfortable.
Thanks to consistent research like this, sleeping masks are now included in kits sent to Marines to help them stay healthy and rested during military life.
According to a study entitled "Sleep in the Military":
"... the six hours they were off, they only had the opportunity to lay down for four and a half hours, and out of that four and a half hours they were maybe lucky to get two to three hours of sleep...the masks...made it dark, made it easier for them to fall asleep."
That same study also found that "...eye masks...in deployed settings...encourage healthy sleep behaviors" compared to other sleep aides.
If you want to be badass like the men and women of the military, make sure to pick out a “military-grade” sleep mask.
Tactic #2: Develop a Routine
When it comes to seeing lasting results, routines matter - and the same goes when you’re training your body tofall and stay asleep every night.
The military is famous for its hyper-regimented schedule (as a reminder, check out this Boot Camp schedule.)
While it might seem outrageous to fall asleep when someone else tells you to, that's the case in the military.
The highly structured schedule resets the Marines' body clocks - meaning the body essentially “shut itself off” when the lights are out.
How you spend your day also matters when it comes to training your body to fall asleep instantly at the same time every night.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most famous aspects of the military routine, and how they help a soldier to sleep.
1. Wakes up early, and at the same time every morning (even on the weekends.)
This eliminates the possibility of over-sleeping, which can disrupt your sleep schedule for the rest of the week. It also "reminds" your body that if it doesn’t fall asleep at the scheduled time, there won't be the opportunity to make up for the lost time.
2. Moves first thing in the morning (even before breakfast.)
Not only does working out before breakfast burn 20% more body fat than an afternoon gym session, but starting your day with a little exercise curbs your appetite during the day. Overeating can negatively impact sleep - plus, there’s nothing wrong with wearing your body out a little so by bedtime, you’ll be both physically and mentally tired.
3. Takes an ice-cold shower before bed
According to the book Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep, doing so makes you fall asleep faster and improve your sleep quality.
It's not just soldiers that have spoken out about the importance of routine. Olympian Michael Phelps has cited intense and consistent endurance training, meticulous eating habits, and serious attention to sleep as keys to his success.
Make use of military-approved Stimulus Control Therapy. Unless you're ready to sleep, avoid your bed. Military members aren't granted the luxury of lounging in bed all day - which means that they develop a sort of Pavlovian response to their beds.
When they see it, they know it's time to sleep - and not to browse social media or watch TV.
To translate this into your daily life, remember this: If you're not out cold about ten minutes after lying down, leave your bed (or couch) - but don't engage with technology.
Even the slightest glowing light can sabotage your sleep and make falling asleep more difficult.
Instead, look out the window or focus on your breathing (see tips below on the best techniques).
After about five minutes, your body will be begging to return to bed - and you’re likely to fall asleep instantly the 2nd time around.
Tactic #3: Deploy Breathing Techniques
The Marines have to learn how to control their breathing - and by extension, their minds - on hours-long stakeouts where one sudden flinch could mean a bullet through the neck.
You may have heard of the popular Combat Tactical Breathing Technique, used by soldiers to keep a level head in dangerous situations as well as to fall asleep.
When used in combination with a sleep mask, this technique will knock you out in ten minutes.
Try it out:
Breathe in for 4 seconds
Hold your breath for 4 seconds (taking care to relax your shoulders)
Exhale slowly for 4 seconds
Repeat above at least 3 times
Another popular sleep-inducing breathing technique is the 4:7:8 ratio, developed by a Harvard Doctor to be used in addition to your sleep mask and other sleep aids.
Give it a shot:
Inhaling for 4 seconds
Holding for 7 seconds
Loudly exhaling for 8 seconds
Start by trying the pattern twice a day. After 2 months, move up to 8-breath cycles before bed.
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"I have been a day sleeper for years. Over that time I've tried many sleep masks. This one is definitely the BEST! Keeps the light out, and doesn't hurt. SO pleased with this product!" - Penny Evans
"I've never been able to wear a sleep mask, but this is amazing. I sleep much better with it. Great work. I love it!" - Uyen Brockway
Disclaimer: The information contained in this website or provided through our blog, e-mails, or programs is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment that can be provided by your healthcare professionals.