Falling asleep in 2 minutes – with a method of the US military it should work

When soldiers suffer from lack of sleep, it is at the expense of their physical and mental fitness. And that can have fatal consequences in tricky situations. For this reason, scientists in the US military have developed a method to fall asleep within two minutes in extreme situations. FITBOOK wanted to know from a sleep researcher whether it works for everyone.

In the military you see and experience things that keep you awake. And not just the mere memory: what happens at night can also prevent soldiers from recovering. Lack of sleep and fatigue have already led to fatal wrong decisions in many wars.

The success rate is said to be 96 percent

To avoid this, a scientific method was developed, such as the US online portal «Medium» writes: a two-minute routine with which one should be able to find sleep day and night, in every situation and regardless of the background noise. It took six weeks for the measure to be sophisticated enough to work for 96 percent of fighter pilots. That means, as Medium writer Sharon Ackman promises, «If you follow these steps, falling asleep will be a breeze for you, too.» But can it really work?

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Fall asleep in 2 minutes: The US military trick explained in 5 steps

  • Find a seat that is as comfortable as possible
    The pilots on whom the exercises were tested are said to have sat upright in their chairs and probably couldn’t even stretch their legs (economy-class vacationers will definitely prick up their ears here). In other words, this trick should work everywhere. So: simply get yourself into the most comfortable position possible on a seat, leaning or lying area.
  • Start on the face
    Anyone who has managed to relax their face completely should signal their body to do the same. With this in mind: close your eyes and breathe in and out deeply. Everything should be quiet, please don’t make a face! Make sure that you not only relax your forehead and mouth, but also the entire facial musculature.
  • relax upper body
    Drop your shoulders «as if they’re propelling your body down,» writes Ackman. Now concentrate on your neck area, which should feel completely still. Now for the arm work. Depending on whether you are right- or left-handed, start with the dominant arm and consciously let it hang down. «If you don’t relax, tighten your arm muscles and then relax,» the author recommends. First one, then the other: you want your arms to feel completely numb from the top down to your fingertips.
  • Lay down your legs
    Direct all sensations to your right thigh. If it feels like an inanimate body part, move down to the lower leg, then release the ankle and right foot. Now send the same commands to the left leg. «Feel the muscles go numb as if your legs are sinking into the ground.»
  • Turn off the head
    When you have calmed down physically, it is also important to switch off your thoughts. And as you know, it’s not that easy. Luckily, 10 seconds of absent-mindedness should be enough here – «That’s all. Not thinking about what went wrong during the day, when you have to get up or find time to call your partner.” Any of these considerations would produce (unwanted) physical reactions, according to “Medium”.

Also interesting: 12 tips from the sleep experts for a restful night

Falling asleep with the trick of the military: that’s what the sleep doctor says

The method of the US military is said to have proven itself in an emergency with soldiers. But should everyone generally expect something from it? The Cologne somnologist and sleep doctor Dr. Michael Feld recognizes the method as a modified form of progressive muscle relaxation according to Jacobson. «Their effect is based on leaving your head and actively focusing on your body,» Feld told FITBOOK.

The expert knows that many people complain about not being able to fall asleep because of circling thoughts. Muscle relaxation exercises are therefore primarily about leaving the head in the direction of the body. «The trick is to tense the muscles first,» explains the expert. Due to the discrepancy, the subsequent relaxation is all the stronger. “That can be useful for some people in certain situations. And others don’t.” Whether and to what extent someone adheres to the principle Muscle relaxation reacts is absolutely type-dependent.


In truth, the success rate is very likely not 96 percent, as claimed in the Medium post. And the fact that you can easily rock yourself to sleep with it, even if it’s loud and stressful around you, is certainly not the case for many people. Nevertheless, if you often have trouble falling asleep, the exercise is definitely worth a try – and it is definitely cheaper and has fewer side effects than sleeping pills.

Also interesting: This hormone is said to help you fall asleep

Don’t let bad sleep stress you out

cardiologist dr In an interview with FITBOOK, Olaf Göing (Chief Physician at the Clinic for Internal Medicine II with a focus on the Sana Klinikum Berlin-Lichtenberg) emphasizes the importance of sleep – but also that you don’t need to drive yourself crazy, even if you don’t sleep at all one night has slept. He advises saying this to yourself over and over again to take the pressure out of the situation. You can find his tips against sleepless nights here.