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Help - I Can’t Sleep

(27 Posts)
Blossoming Wed 01-Sep-21 17:40:58

An article in The Independent details the following method, apparently used by the army, for getting to sleep quickly. Has anybody tried it? What do you think? It doesn’t mention how you make sure you stay asleep though …

Detailed in the book Relax and Win: Championship Performance, 1981, the technique is thought to have been developed by army chiefs to ensure soldiers didn’t make life-threatening mistakes due to exhaustion.

Here’s how to do it:
Relax the muscles in your face, including tongue, jaw and the muscles around the eyes
Drop your shoulders as far down as they’ll go, followed by your upper and lower arm, one side at a time
Breathe out, relaxing your chest followed by your legs, starting from the thighs and working down
You should then spend 10 seconds trying to clear your mind before thinking about one of the three following images:
You’re lying in a canoe on a calm lake with nothing but a clear blue sky above you
You’re lying in a black velvet hammock in a pitch-black room
You say “don’t think, don’t think, don’t think” to yourself over and over for about 10 seconds.

The technique is said to work for 96 per cent of people after six weeks of practice.

MerylStreep Wed 01-Sep-21 17:55:24

Many years ago I went to a sleep therapist.
What your describing works but not for the reasons stated.
The secret is that you, do, think, imagine the same thing every night
The theory is the brain gets into the habit of thinking ah, this is where I go to sleep
I do the relaxing face thing. This system has worked for me for years. I’ve been doing it for so long that my brain automatically goes into it.

MayBee70 Wed 01-Sep-21 17:59:08

I use the Paul McKenna Sleep hypnotism tape. There was another system I used years ago but I can’t remember what it was. Might have been in my Barefoot Doctor book (whatever happened to him?).

Lucca Wed 01-Sep-21 18:03:57


BlueBelle Wed 01-Sep-21 18:28:57

I used to always imagined a school blackboard in front of me with nothing on it I should have written a book I might be rich my now

MamaCaz Wed 01-Sep-21 18:34:14

I wish these things would work for me, but my brain has found a way of throwing restless legs into the mix at the very last minute(or even after I have fallen asleep) to scupper any potentially good methods!

Mattsmum2 Wed 01-Sep-21 18:37:44

I just pull the duvet over my ear, my hair must already be covering my ear too as I lay on my side, foetal position and off I go!

silverlining48 Wed 01-Sep-21 20:13:25

I get to sleep but don’t stay asleep and wake after an hour or so.
Last night was typical, bed at 11 and woke at 12.30. Heard my usual programmes, Sailing By, the Shipping Forecast and world Service. Woke through the night,
Woe woe and thrice woe.

cornergran Wed 01-Sep-21 20:25:36

It’s a fairly standard relaxation technique blossoming, repetition is important. It’s taught in NHS groups in some areas. As meryl says go into it with the expectation of sleep, if that’s the wanted outcome and eventually it will become the switch that turns off wakefulness. If you wake in the night simply do it again. This may sound odd but I use it to combat white coat syndrome. My BP shoots up in a medical setting, if I can have ten minutes to use a modified version of this pre appointment my BP is normal enough not to scare clinicians.

Jaxjacky Wed 01-Sep-21 21:02:25

I’ve used the alphabet of girls/boys names, fruit, vegetables, cars, flowers etc to get off to sleep if struggling. I now use GN user names, bit stuck on Q….

Callistemon Wed 01-Sep-21 21:02:29

It sounds rather like the relaxation technique after a yoga session.

Just as everyone nods off, the teacher starts waking everyone up gently.

Shinamae Wed 01-Sep-21 21:06:18

I work in a care home that has 39 rooms and to help me sleep I sometimes put the person in the room 1 to 39 I’m very open I dropped off before I get to 39….

Shinamae Wed 01-Sep-21 21:06:49

Very often!🤦‍♀️

Jillyjosie Wed 01-Sep-21 21:44:35

The technique is what I would call a body scan. It works as a habit I think and as long as you are in a state to allow yourself to relax. It doesn't work for me if I'm obsessing about something or if I'm over tired or too alert.
I hate insomnia. At the moment, I'm falling asleep but waking a couple of hours later and then am awake for hours. Camomile tea helps, also magnesium. I believe the latter relaxes your muscles.

silverlining48 Wed 01-Sep-21 22:26:23

Am in bed now hoping for a better night.
Sleep dreams all, zzzzzzz

nadateturbe Thu 02-Sep-21 16:06:02

Its a standard relaxation method. There are lots. They usually work.
The difficult part is staying asleep or getting back to sleep if you wake for the loo.
I can be awake from 1-5am. There is no pattern to when I get back to sleep quickly or stay awake for hours.
Camomile tea does help.

MiniMoon Thu 02-Sep-21 17:39:54

I ask Alexa to play Sleep by Max Richter, ans set a sleep timer for 45 minutes.
If you don't have an echo smart speaker, try reciting a poem that you have committed to memory. Do it over and over, blocking out everyday thoughts, that works for me too.

M0nica Thu 02-Sep-21 18:49:18

I can get to sleep, but not quite, about 95-99%, I am too far to sleep to use any techniques, or even get out of bed, read a book or listen to music, but I am not quite there and my mind is floating aimlessly between dream status and awareness.

That is what I need help for, just getting over the edge into full sleep.

Newquay Thu 02-Sep-21 18:55:14

I’ve tried everything sadly with little success. I say I sleep like a baby-I wake every two hours.
Can’t have a drink-need the loo several times at night despite restricting drinks after 6pm. It’s not caused by meds.
My relaxing is counting backwards from
1000 subtracting 7.
I also have a headband radio and listen to that on a timer

TrendyNannie6 Thu 02-Sep-21 19:07:51

I must be very lucky as I am asleep within literally a few mins lay on left side, foetal position, duvet pulled up high, and I’m away 🛏 8 hrs

Septimia Thu 02-Sep-21 19:12:42

Jaxjacky I use similar methods - currently working through the names of places in Britain, but I have tried British rivers. I'm not sure, though, that the effort of thinking doesn't keep me awake!

Lillie Thu 02-Sep-21 19:38:21


I’ve used the alphabet of girls/boys names, fruit, vegetables, cars, flowers etc to get off to sleep if struggling. I now use GN user names, bit stuck on Q….

does it have to be alphabetical or just a random list

Ro60 Fri 03-Sep-21 00:20:51

Happy to give it a try. If I'd done a 20 hike and a full on army day I might well drop off!

I do wonder if these more sedentary 18 months have contributed to my insomnia or is it just getting older?

I remember my grandmother always woke at 6 am.

grannyqueenie Fri 03-Sep-21 00:55:52

Jax, feel free to use me and give me a wave as you do, chances are I’ll be awake too 😬

nadateturbe Fri 03-Sep-21 03:31:26


I must be very lucky as I am asleep within literally a few mins lay on left side, foetal position, duvet pulled up high, and I’m away 🛏 8 hrs

You are!