Achieving a Deeper Sleep in 2 Minutes
Do you have trouble falling asleep at night?
Would you like to be able to fall asleep at the drop of a hat?
Today I’m going to show you how you can fall asleep anywhere, anytime, in less than 2 minutes using a simple 2-step program.
This program was designed for U.S. military fighter pilots during WWII. Believe it or not, the man who developed this program was an American track and field coach who is regarded as one of the greatest sprint coaches in the world.
Over his career, Bud Winter produced 102 All-Americans, 27 who went on to become Olympians.
Almost all of Winter’s achievements in track and field can be tied back to his philosophy and research on relaxation.
Winter’s 2-step program that helped U.S. fighter pilots relax and sleep well during stressful times is outlined in his now out-of-print book Relax and Win.
In 1959, Sports Illustrated interviewed Winter, asking him to explain how the program came about:
“I taught relaxation during the war to pilots,” says Winter. “We were losing pilots in training because they were too tense. Pilots who had been fine in training tensed up going into combat and were lost. Pilots on Guadalcanal couldn’t sleep at night because the Japanese were sending over nuisance bombers to disturb their rest.
We had to figure out some way to relax them. We worked out a program that taught pilots how to relax themselves, and we ran a test on two platoons, 60 men in each platoon. The 60 who learned how to relax did better in everything which requires physical coordination.”
In Relax and Win, Winter explains the relaxation program in two steps:
Step 1) Physical relaxation.
Step 2) Mental relaxation.
Sleep comes from achieving a state of mental relaxation. But in order to get to a state in which you’re mentally relaxed, you first must become physically relaxed.
Become Physically Relaxed
Here’s how you become physically relaxed according to Winter:
“Sit back in your chairs and put your feet flat on the deck. Knees apart, your hands limp on the inside of your lap. Now, close your eyes and drop your chin until it rests on your chest.
Let’s breathe slowly, deeply, and regularly. Take all the wrinkles out of your forehead. Relax your scalp. Just let go. Now let your jaw sag-g-g. Let it drop open. Now relax the rest of your face muscles. Get the brook trout look on your face. Even relax your tongue and lips. Just let them go loose. Breathe slowly.
Now, let’s go after the eight muscles that control your eyes. Let them go limp in their sockets. No focus, just let them go limp. Breathe slowly.
Now drop your shoulders as low as they will go. You think that they are low, but let them go more. Did you feel the muscles in the back of your neck go limp? When you think you are really relaxed, let them go even more.
Now, let’s relax your chest. Take a deep breath. Hold it. Exhale and blow out all your tensions. Just let your chest collapse. Let it sag-g-g. Imagine you are a big, heavy blob on the chair, a jellyfish. Breathe slowly. When you exhale, release more and more of your tensions.
Let’s go after your arms. Talk directly to your arm muscles.
First, talk to your right bicep. Tell it to relax, go limp. Do the same to your right forearm. Now to the right hand and fingers. Your arm should feel like a dead weight on your leg. Repeat the relaxation process with your left arm.
Your entire upper body has been exposed to relaxation and a warm, pleasant feeling comes over you. You feel good. A sense of well-being invades your body.
Now for your lower body. Talk to your right thigh muscles. Let them go to a dead weight on the chair. Let the meat hang on the bones.
Go through the same routine for the right calf muscles. Then all the muscles of your right ankle and foot. Tell yourself that your right leg has no bones in it. It is just a flabby, heavy weight on the deck. Repeat the process with your left thigh, calf, ankle, and foot.
At present you are all relaxed physically, or think you are. For a little insurance, let’s take three deep breaths and when you let them out, blow out all the remaining tensions, one… whoosh, two… whoosh, three… whoosh.”
Getting your body to feel like a jellyfish might seem tough at first. If you’re struggling, try tensing up your muscles first, then relaxing.
Now that you know how to physically relax, here’s the trick to mental relaxation. Winter says, “if you get your mind clear of any active thoughts for just ten seconds, you will be asleep.”
The reason why a quiet mind is so important to achieving a state of total mental relaxation is because what you think, your body will do.
Winter warns against having thoughts where you’re in motion. Studies have found that simply imagining yourself exercising activates parts of the brain that fire when you’re physically in motion, and can even strengthen the muscles you imagine yourself using.
In order to tame your thoughts, Winter devised three sleep-producing fantasies you can imagine while falling asleep. Notice these 3 fantasies limit any thoughts of physical motion:
Sleep-producing Fantasy #1
“First, we want you to fantasize that it is a warm spring day and you are lying in the bottom of a canoe on a very serene lake. You are looking up at a blue sky with lazy, floating clouds.
Do not allow any other thought to creep in. Just concentrate on this picture and keep foreign thoughts out, particularly thoughts with any movement or motion involved.
Hold this picture and enjoy it for ten seconds.”
Sleep-producing Fantasy #2
“In the second sleep-producing fantasy, imagine that you are in a big, black, velvet hammock and everywhere you look is black.
You must also hold this picture for ten seconds.”
Sleep-producing Fantasy #3
“The third trick is to say the words ‘don’t think… don’t think… don’t think,’ etc. Hold this, blanking out other thoughts for at least ten seconds.”
The most surprising finding from this whole experiment was after the six weeks of practicing Winter’s 2-step program, 96% of the pilots who participated were able to fall asleep in less than 2 minutes!
If the news is keeping you up at night, give it a try.
To a richer life,
— Nilus Mattive
Editor, The Rich Life Roadmap