Two-minute sleep hack could indicate sleep deprivation - expert

Morning Talk 04/09/2018
Photo: Getty

A old sleep hack suggests there's a way to fall asleep within two minutes, but a psychiatrist says snoozing so quickly could indicate a deeper problem.

A book called Relax and Win: Championship Performance claims to have a solution developed by the US military which could see you snoozing within 120 seconds. The trick, which boasts a 96 percent success rate after six weeks, was developed to keep soldiers alert and avoid making mistakes due to tiredness.

While Dr Tony Fernando agrees the trick could help with insomnia, he argues that falling asleep in under two minutes has “dangerous” implications.  

“If that happens it can be quite dangerous because that means that you’re quite sleep deprived. A lot of normal sleepers fall asleep within 10, 15 or 20 minutes,” says Dr Fernando, a psychiatrist and sleep specialist at the Auckland University School of Medicine.

Falling asleep quickly can mean that the brain and body are hungry for sleep, which Dr Fernando says can be a sign “that something is going wrong”.

Nevertheless, he says the military sleep trick is a combination of common sleep techniques that people can use to aid in restlessness or waking up in the middle of the night.  

When you’ve been tossing and turning in bed for countless minutes or even hours, a two-minute sleep trick sure does sound like a good alternative.

The military sleep trick describes the following:

  • Inhale and exhale slowly and deeply while relaxing your facial muscles. Focus on releasing tension in your forehead, jaw and around your eyes.
  • Relax your entire body, beginning with your shoulders. Drop them as low as possible, followed by your upper arm and lower arms from one side to the other.
  • Keep inhaling and exhaling slowly, and then relax your legs starting with your thighs.
  • Once you’re entire body is free from tension for at least ten seconds, clear your mind. 

The book suggests one of three scenarios to help clear the mind:

  1. Imagine lying in a canoe on a calm lake with crystal blue sky above.
  2. Imagine lying on a black velvet hammock in a pitch-black room, cosy and warm
  3. Repeat the phrase ‘don’t think’ over and over for ten seconds in your head.

Listen to the full interview with Tony Fernando above.

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