Many people are not accustomed to falling asleep anywhere like a koala or a baby. If you ever wondered how some people fall asleep carefree in a bus or flight, yet you can't, then you're in the right place. You don't need hypnotic magic or sleep medication to fall asleep anywhere —- you only need to learn a few tips and tricks, as discussed in this article.
Why Sleep Anywhere?
People with busy lifestyles barely get sufficient sleep. For example, some healthcare workers, law enforcers, long-distance travelers, and night shift employees work around the clock. Since sleep is vital for productivity, such workers have no choice but to fall asleep wherever and whenever an opportunity presents itself. That often means sleeping in a plane, car, hotel room, airport lobby, or practically anywhere.
Tips to Fall Asleep Anywhere
Here are some important tips and tricks for falling asleep in unusual places.
The Military Method
The art of sleeping anywhere can be traced back to World War II, when increasing numbers of military plane crashes were linked to pilot fatigue, jet lag, and sleep deprivation. During that time, Lloyd Bud Winter, an American track and field coach, invented the instant sleep technique that helped soldiers fall asleep amid chaotic battlefields. Specifically, Winter designed this simple trick for fighter pilots who needed to be extremely alert to avoid airborne attacks and crushes.
Winter described this technique in his book- Relax and Win: Championship Performance - published in 1981. With his understanding of the human body, he realized that the process of falling asleep engages the physical and mental parts of the body. He then devised a few easy steps to ease the mind and body, leading to sleep.
Until recently, this technique only remained in the confines of the men in combat. Today, it is an online phenomenon, thanks to fitness coach Justin Augustin, who shared this sleep secret with millions of his social media followers.
The military sleep technique requires at least six weeks to master, but only involves a few seconds to complete the steps. Here's how the instant sleep technique works.
Relaxing the Body
The first step is to relax your body from head to toe, one section at a time. After finding a place to sleep, you close your eyes and relax all the muscles of your face. Next, drop your shoulders, and let your arms drop to your sides. Release your fingers from a fist into an open palm, and relax those muscles, too.
Next, ease your chest. Exhale, letting your chest drop like a deflating balloon. Afterward, relax your legs, thighs, feet, and calves by stretching them, and slowly loosening the muscles.
Relaxing the Brain
Now that your body is relaxed, the next thing to do is to relax your brain. You begin by clearing your mind for ten seconds, and visualizing a calm and relaxing scene. Then, for best results, stop thinking of all the things you are worried about. Alternatively, you can relax your mind by repeatedly saying the words "don't think" for ten seconds.
Winter's experiment helped fighter pilots learn how to sleep faster, anywhere, and anytime. Within six weeks, 96% of the pilots who participated in his experiment could fall asleep within 120 seconds amid gunfire blasts and uncomfortable sleep surfaces, such as a chair or a forest bed. It also proved to work even after consuming alcohol, coffee, or other similar stimulants.
The 4-7-8 Breathing Method
The 4-7-8 breathing technique emerged from the pranayama breathing exercise – an ancient yoga technique used to control breathing. It enables mindful breathing, reduces stress levels, and promotes relaxation.
Here's how this breathing technique works:
- Begin by sitting, keeping your back straight
- Push your tongue against the back of your top teeth, and keep it there
- Exhale through your mouth, while pushing the air around your tongue to make a whooshing sound
- Close your mouth, and inhale through your nose while counting 1 to 4
- Hold your breath for a count of seven
- Exhale again through your mouth, making the whooshing sound for a count of 1 to 8, and then
- Repeat the cycle three times
The Progressive Muscle Relaxation Method
The progressive muscle relaxation method involves alternating tension and relaxation on some body muscles to relieve anxiety, and promote sleep. It was formulated in the 1930s by an American physician, Edmund Jacobson, as a form of cognitive behavior therapy, but can also be practiced independently to give a sleeper control over their body.
Tips to Fall Asleep Anywhere
Soldiers aren't the only ones who need to catch some sleep in unusual places. If you're constantly traveling, working longer hours, balancing between school and work, or anything along those lines, these sleep tips come in handy.
Sleeping Anywhere When Traveling
Traveling comes with numerous challenges that make it difficult to sleep. Whether traveling for work or vacationing with your friends and family, you need to prepare for unusual sleep encounters. Wearing comfortable clothes when traveling is the first thing you need to do.
For example, unless you intend to catch a flight right away from work, you can opt for sweatshirts and yoga pants, instead of fitted office suits.
Traveling may also affect your regular sleep schedule, especially when traveling over a long distance, and in different time zones. Therefore, plan to sleep for the same hours you're used to, despite the change in time zone to cope with jet lag.
Lastly, avoid unusual food that may force you to use the bathroom more often than you should. If you want to try out new food, do so when you arrive at your destination, or after settling into your hotel room.
Here's how to go into sleep mode in different places when traveling.
On a Boat
You may dislike sleeping on a boat because of the rocking waves hitting the boat, or the creaking sounds it makes with every movement. This could be a big issue, especially if you are a light sleeper.
To enjoy your water camping vacation, try and have lots of fun in the water during the day, before resting at night. For example, consider swimming, cruising, fishing, or skiing during the day. By evening, you'll feel comfortable in the water, and you won't worry about the waves or creaking sounds.
On a Train
When traveling on a train, consider carrying a small pillow for support, and a blanket to keep you warm. You may also use an eye mask to keep you from being distracted by the flashing lights through the windows of a moving train. Additionally, wear warm clothes and socks for your feet if the night gets cold.
In a Car
Most people with busy schedules sleep in their cars quite frequently. So if you need some rest during the night when driving over a long distance, find a safe parking lot to park your car before preparing to sleep.
Ensure that you lock the doors and roll up the windows, leaving some space at the top for ventilation. If you decide to sleep on the front seat, recline the seat, and lay down as you would in a bed. You can also fold the back seat of your car to create more space at the back. If someone else is driving while you're sleeping, don't forget to buckle up.
At a Hotel
Despite the coziness of a hotel room, it may not feel anything like your bed. This is because some people struggle to fall asleep anywhere else other than their own beds. Additionally, if you are a light sleeper, you can easily be disrupted by noises and movements within the hotel. In that case, earplugs and sleep masks come in handy to help you fall asleep.
Adjust the temperature in your room to create the most comfortable environment for you to fall asleep. You can also turn off the light in the room if it disrupts your sleep, or play some white noise to help you calm down. You can even turn on dim lights if you struggle to sleep in a pitch black room.
In a Cold Location
When traveling to a colder location, carry more blankets, warmer pajamas, socks, and gloves to keep you warm. You may also use a warming water bottle to add extra warmth as you sleep, or consider using the body, feet, or hand warmers.
In a Warm Location
Consider sleeping in light and soft pajamas in warmer locations, and keep the room aerated. You can also take a cooling bath before bed to lower your body temperature, and promote sleep. Cover yourself with light and breathable covers, and turn on the air conditioner.
Sleeping at a Friend's House
If you are one of those people that feel awkward during sleepovers, sleeping at a friend's or family member's house may be stressful for you. For this reason, you may want to ensure that the room has no sleep distractions, such as too much light or heat. Cover your eyes with a sleeping mask, and wear earplugs to block out any noise if necessary.
For planned sleepovers, bring your own pajamas and covers if possible. This will make you feel more comfortable. You may also request the host for pillows to customize your comfort, especially if you'll be sleeping on a couch.
Sleeping in the Office
If you need to take a quick nap in the office during your break time or lunch hour, you can devise many ways of doing so. Here are a few places to fall asleep in the office.
- In your car
- In an unreserved meeting room
- In the supplies room
- On your desk
- Under your desk (if there's enough space to do so)
A quick nap, especially at work, can last more than intended. The last thing you want is to lose your job because a 20-minute nap turned into a 5-hour sleep. So as you ready to rest, remember to set your cell phone alarm to wake you up just in time to refresh and get back to work.
Sleep is essential for productivity. If you feel sleepy while working due to fatigue, speak with your supervisor about getting a day off to rest. Otherwise, fatigue and sleepiness can lead to office accidents, especially when operating heavy machinery.
Sleeping at the Airport or Bus Station Lobbies
If you are too early to catch your flight, or your airline is experiencing delays, you may find yourself bored and tired at the waiting lobbies. Don't be too sad; that's another great opportunity for a nap. You can use your small traveling bag as a pillow over your head, and then find a comfortable position to sleep.
However, you need to stay alert not to miss your flight or ride when it's finally time. To avoid missing your flight or ride, confirm the arrival time, and set your alarm to at least 10 minutes early.
Sleeping at Home
Nothing beats sleeping in your own bed in the comfort of your home. This is where your mind feels at peace, enabling your body to relax, release stress, and fall into a deep sleep.
But, for the ultimate sleep experience at home, it's important to choose cozy bedding, including mattresses, pillows, toppers, covers, foundations, and much more.
Here are a few sleep accessories from Latex For Less for quality shut eye.
The benefits of sleeping on a natural latex mattress are immeasurable. This mattress sleeps cool, cushions pressure points, and perfectly balances comfort and support to provide the ultimate sleep experience. It is also hypoallergenic, making it the best choice for allergy-prone sleepers.
A latex mattress from Latex For Less has different firmness levels on either side. On one side, this mattress is firm, while the other is medium-firm, allowing you to choose which side you want to sleep on by flipping the mattress over.
The Latex For Less latex pillows come in two forms. First, there's the solid latex pillow that provides firmer support, and better airflow around your head. Despite being firm, this pillow's responsiveness enables it to contour and cushion the head, neck, and shoulders, keeping them in proper alignment with the spine.
The other option is the shredded latex pillow that feels soft, light, and luxurious, but doesn't squash or lose shape like a down-filled pillow. This pillow is also breathable, and regulates temperature to keep you cool all night.
Toppers are a great and affordable way of changing how the surface of your mattress feels, making your bed feel more cozy. Additional advantages of mattress toppers include temperature regulation, breathability, allergen resistance, extra cushioning, and incredible support.
What is the Appropriate Amount of Time to Take to Fall Asleep?
Most people take between 5 to 15 minutes to fall asleep. Dr. Michael Breus, sleep specialist, says if you fall asleep in under 5 minutes, it could mean you are sleep deprived. On the other hand, if you stay awake in bed for more than 20 or 30 minutes, it could be a sign of insomnia.
The Bottom Line
It's possible to sleep anywhere, even if you're one of those people who struggle to fall asleep in an unfamiliar environment. While you may be able to customize your sleep environment away from home, nothing beats the satisfaction of improving your own sleep environment at home. Luckily, with the various sleep accessories available at Latex For Less, you can now enjoy relaxing and rejuvenating sleep for many years, improving your overall health.