This Hack On TikTok Promises to Help You Fall Asleep Fast

Users claim you can use the military sleep method to train yourself to fall asleep quickly.

Photo: Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio

Few things are worse than trying to fall asleep for hours as your mind races. And while a late-night TikTok scroll would probably make matters worse — blue light from the screen can throw off your melatonin production — a hack that's circulating on the app may help you fall asleep fast.

TikTok users demonstrating said hack claim it originated from the U.S. military and was created to allow soldiers in battle to fall asleep within two minutes when needed. It's true, the technique was developed for pilots during World War II, according to the book Relax and Win: Championship Performance in Whatever You Do, reports The Washington Post. In one of the top-liked posts on the topic, TikTok user Justin Agustin explains how to try it if you're hoping to fall asleep instantly: You start off by relaxing each part of your body, beginning with your head and working your way down. Focus on relaxing your eyebrows, feeling your head sink deeper into the pillow, and releasing the tension in your forehead, eyes, and mouth. Then move down through the body relaxing each limb and joint, ending up at your feet. As you're relaxing each part of your body, focus on your breathing. (

"Now while you're doing this, it's really important to clear your mind of any stresses," advises Agustin in the video. To do so, start thinking about one of two scenarios: first, you're lying in a canoe on a calm lake with just the view of a clear blue sky. The other scenario is that you're lying in a black velvet hammock in a pitch-black room. When thoughts pop up, repeat to yourself for 10 seconds, "Don't think, don't think, don't think."

If you've ever fallen asleep at the end of a yoga class, then you know how powerful this type of muscle relaxation can be. "A few seconds into watching this TikTok video, I realized that this technique was reminiscent of savasana, or corpse pose, in yoga," says Seema Bonney, M.D., functional medicine and longevity expert. "Basically, savasana is the practice of gradually relaxing one body part at a time, one muscle at a time, and one thought at a time. The body scan when practicing mindfulness is pretty similar as well. This is what he's doing in the video." (

Augustin calls it a "practice," noting that you should try to practice it for six weeks to get your body into the habit of falling asleep on cue, and Dr. Bonney agrees. "When you practice this technique night after night, it conditions the body to release stress, and can even improve your sense of physical and emotional well-being," she says. It will "likely it will induce sleep in a shorter period of time than usual."

Relaxing is a skill that takes practice, so don't get discouraged if it doesn't make you fall asleep fast on your first attempt, says Dr. Bonney. "The art of relaxation is harder than it looks, which is why it's important to remember that change is a process, not an overnight transformation," she says. "It makes sense that the video challenges people to do this for six straight weeks, which is more likely to make it a learned behavior." The military sleep hack is one of several tricks you can use to promote sleep. "Techniques to induce deep relaxation, like mindfulness, deep breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation, can help many of us fall asleep," says Dr. Bonney. "Even those sleep stories on the Calm app help people with sleep disturbances fall asleep. All of these practices help people fall asleep quicker, sleep for longer, and go back to sleep easier after waking up in the middle of the night." (

If you want to boost your chances of this viral hack working for you, try pairing it with other techniques, such as sleeping in a cooler room (that's 65 to 67 degrees), or taking a warm bath or shower before bed, says Dr. Bonney. You'll be drifting off on cue in no time.

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