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  • Olav Schewe

The sleeping trick from World War II

It is estimated that over 70,000 aircraft were shot down during the Second World War. So it's no wonder that many pilots struggled to fall asleep at night!


To help the pilots, a doctor came up with a sleeping technique that many pilots used.


Hopefully you're not as stressed as these pilots, but you can use the same technique to fall asleep faster. Here it is:


When you have gone to bed, follow these steps:

  • Start by saying the word "calm" to yourself a few times. This word will eventually act as a signal that the body associates with this relaxation routine.

  • Close your eyes and release tension in your muscles. Start with the muscles around the eyebrows. They are often tense without you thinking about it. Let go completely. Then continue to other muscles of the face. Let them relax.

  • Breathe deeply and evenly. Let your jaw, along with your tongue and lips sink together so they relax.

  • Shoulders are often tense — lower them. Your chest should feel like a relaxed jellyfish.

  • Go through the muscles in your arms and let them relax. Then do the same for the legs. Start with the thigh muscles, then the calves and finally the feet. Make sure you feel that the muscles are relaxed.

  • Once your muscles are relaxed, allow your imagination to focus on an object. For example, a quiet cloud in the sky. Make sure you don't imagine yourself moving. The more you imagine yourself moving, the more likely you are to wake up. Alternatively, you can imagine a blank screen that is filled with different colors and shapes that your imagination creates on its own.

  • Let your thoughts and worries go. Push them out of your mind. Many people who have learned to fall asleep quickly have a rule that they should not ponder over things after ten o'clock in the evening. You won't solve life's challenges overnight anyway. If you wake up in the middle of the night with thoughts or worries, remind yourself of this and erase your thoughts.



With a little practice, you can learn these simple steps to fall asleep faster. If you wake up in the middle of the night, don't start thinking. Just go back to the relaxation steps above.

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