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How do military fall asleep fast?

Military personnel often need to fall asleep quickly and get high quality rest in short periods of time due to their demanding schedules and environments. Getting adequate sleep is crucial for military members to perform at their best mentally and physically. In this article, we will explore the techniques and strategies used by military personnel to optimize their sleep and fall asleep fast.

Maintain a Regular Sleep Schedule

One of the most important things military members can do is stick to a regular sleep schedule as much as possible. Going to bed and waking up at consistent times trains the body’s internal clock and promotes better sleep at night. Even if they only have a few hours to rest between shifts or missions, anchoring it to a routine makes it easier to fall asleep and wake up. This regulates circadian rhythms and creates an association between the bed/pillow and sleep.

Optimize the Sleep Environment

Military members often have to sleep in less than ideal environments like barracks, tents, bunks or even vehicles. While it’s not always possible to control the sleep setting, optimizing it as much as possible can make a big difference. Strategies include:

– Blocking out light and noise using eye masks, ear plugs, sleep headphones or other gear

– Using comfortable neck pillows and bedding if sleeping upright

– Keeping the area cool in temperature

– Finding the most isolated, dark and quiet space possible

– Using white noise or ambient sound machines to drown out unpredictable noise

The more conducive the sleep environment, the easier it will be to fall asleep.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

Relaxing the body and mind before bed helps clear away the mental clutter of the day. Military members can practice quick relaxation techniques to induce sleepiness:

– Deep breathing exercises – inhale through the nose, exhale through the mouth

– Progressive muscle relaxation – Tense and release muscle groups one by one

– Visualization – Picture a peaceful, calming scene

– Meditation – Focus on clearing the mind

-Stretching and light yoga poses to release tension

These relaxation techniques are easy to do without any equipment or technology needed. Even 5-10 minutes can make a difference in falling asleep faster.

Avoid Pre-Sleep Stimulation

In the hours leading up to bedtime, military personnel should avoid activities that are stimulating and disruptive to sleep. This includes:

– Exercising within 2-3 hours of bed – raises core body temperature

– Large, heavy meals – triggers digestive processes

– Bright lights from phones, tablets and computers – suppresses melatonin

– Stressful conversations or tasks – increases cognitive arousal

– Caffeine, alcohol, nicotine – chemicals that interfere with sleep cycles

Minimizing stimulation and activity in the pre-sleep window encourages faster sleep onset.

Use Relaxing Pre-Sleep Rituals

Establishing consistent pre-sleep routines trains the body to wind down and prepare for rest. Relaxing rituals in the 60-90 minutes before bed can help military members unwind and prime for better sleep. Examples include:

– Taking a warm shower or bath

– Drinking herbal tea

– Reading fiction (not news or exciting stories)

– Light stretches or foam rolling

– Listening to soothing music or white noise

– Dimming the lights

– Practicing breathwork or meditation

Military members can develop pre-sleep routines that work best for their needs and preferences. The key is being consistent from night to night.

Take Strategic Naps

When facing sustained operations, unpredictable schedules and sleep disruptions, strategic napping can help military personnel optimize their rest. Short, concentrated daytime sleeps can enhance cognitive performance, learning and decision-making. Tips for effective napping:

– Limit to 10-30 minutes – longer can induce grogginess

– Time naps appropriately – early to mid-afternoon works best

– Find a comfortable, isolated place if possible

– Set alarms to avoid oversleeping

– Drink caffeine beforehand for a timed boost after waking

Planned, short naps can substantially boost alertness and readiness when getting continuous overnight sleep isn’t possible.

Try Sleep Aids as a Last Resort

If natural sleep strategies aren’t working, military members can consider using sleep medication or supplements as a temporary aid under a doctor’s direction. Some options include:

– Over-the-counter supplements like melatonin, magnesium, valerian root

– Prescription hypnotics like Ambien (zolpidem) or Lunesta (eszopiclone)

– Antihistamines like Benadryl (diphenhydramine) that induce drowsiness

Sleep aids should be used cautiously due to side effects. Natural sleep hygiene methods are preferable when possible. But medications can provide help getting sleep when under extreme circumstances.

Don’t Stay in Bed Awake for Long Periods

If unable to fall asleep after 20-30 minutes in bed, military members should get up temporarily until feeling sleepy again. Lying awake in bed for long periods trains the brain that the bed is not for sleeping. Moving to another space to do a quiet activity makes it easier to fall asleep when returning to bed.


Despite challenging environments and schedules, military members can optimize their ability to fall asleep quickly and get adequate rest through discipline and smart sleep strategies. Maintaining healthy sleep hygiene gives them an edge in performing at their peak physically, cognitively and emotionally during demanding missions and roles. Prioritizing sleep pays dividends in overall readiness and resilience.

Strategy Description
Maintain a regular sleep schedule Go to bed and wake up at consistent times to regulate circadian rhythm
Optimize the sleep environment Block out light/noise, use comfortable bedding, keep area cool and quiet
Practice relaxation techniques Deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, meditation
Avoid pre-sleep stimulation Avoid exercise, heavy meals, lights from devices, stressful tasks, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine before bed
Use relaxing pre-sleep rituals Warm showers, herbal tea, reading, stretches, meditation, dimming lights
Take strategic naps Short 10-30 minute daytime naps to boost alertness and performance
Try sleep aids as a last resort Melatonin, magnesium, prescription medications under doctor supervision
Don’t stay in bed awake Get up temporarily after 20-30 minutes until feeling sleepy again