If, like me, you put away your phone every night (after endless scrolling through TikTok) only to find yourself wondering about the most absurd situations and random thoughts, then you’re probably having trouble sleeping.
As you know, letting your mind wander is not conducive to a harmonious sleeping experience.
That’s why when I saw a TikTok video promising to help people fall asleep in two minutes, it piqued my curiosity.
In the video, by fitness trainer and content creator Justin Augustin from Montreal, Canada, he explains how the method was adopted by service members who often sleep in harsh conditions.
It involves gradually relaxing your body, then imagining warm light spreading through your body, while focusing on your breath. Then you clear your mind of all stress.
To do this, advises Augustine, imagine one of two scenarios; the first is lying in a canoe in a calm, clear lake, with blue skies above you. The other is lying in a black velvet hammock under a pitch black sky.
Each time your thoughts try to distract you, repeat the words “don’t think” 10 times.
Sounds simple enough, right? Well, Augustin explains, it would have to be done every day for six weeks for it to work effectively enough to fall asleep in two minutes.
But I tried it for just one night and it turns out to be quite effective, even if you’re doing it for the first time. A few times after trying it, I actually knocked myself out.
It’s important to note that the night before I tried this, I barely slept, meaning I was pretty exhausted when I tried this trick (so it’s possible I fell asleep right away ).
Relaxing your body and imagining warm light passing through you was easier than I thought, and my brain actually tricked me into feeling warmth pass through me. But clearing the mind proved trickier. I tried to say “don’t think” several times, but eventually got distracted. But in the middle of this distraction, I fell asleep at some point. And I will try again.
And Augustine too, it seems.
Augustin had been inspired to try the method – which has been viewed more than 3.6 million times on his TikTok – after reading an article describing military training for falling asleep quickly.
“I am determined to complete the six-week training. It would be a great skill to acquire in the end. I take it as a personal challenge,” he told HuffPost UK.
“I’m currently on day two of a six-week trial and it’s definitely a great form of meditation. It reminds me of Yoga Nidra, a form of guided meditation that I assume the military adopted.
“It’s a great way to decompress, reduce stress through controlled breathing, and relieve muscle tension, factors that can keep people up at night.
So what does a sleep expert think of the fast falling asleep model?
James Wilson – the sleep behavior and environment expert behind ‘The Sleep Geek’ – says he’s a bit doubtful this technique could be so successful every time.
“There is not a living human being who can fall asleep in two minutes night after night after night,” he says.
“However, this technique encourages the body to relax, and the feeling of physical and emotional security that comes with relaxation leads to a lower heart rate, which means we’re ready to sleep.
“My advice would be that it’s a technique that would be useful as part of a toolkit to help you sleep better, but if your mattress doesn’t suit you for example, you can do this technique until cows come home, I can pretty much guarantee you’re not going to sleep well, until you replace your mattress.
Wilson has another alternative that may work if this one doesn’t.
“Try listening to a talking book, especially one you’ve read before. It gets your mind to wander rather than wonder and help you fall asleep,” he says.
“You can also try box breathing. Interestingly, it has been claimed that this technique is used by the SAS to help them sleep in stressful situations. You inhale for four, hold for four, exhale for four, and rest for four. Keep doing this for four minutes and sleep usually comes.
Here’s to a good night’s sleep.