Military Sleep Method vs Navy SEAL sleep technique to fall asleep fast: Which is best?

A man sleeps in a canoe on a clear day, while a woman lays on the floor with her legs elevated onto a sofa
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When choosing the best sleep technique for falling asleep fast, it usually comes down to the Military Sleep Method vs the Navy SEAL sleep technique. Both are often recommended by experts and both claim to help you fall asleep in two minutes (with regular practice), but which technique is better for daytime naps and which is best for nighttime sleep? 

At night, there’s plenty of things you can do to induce sleep – such as sticking to a consistent bedtime or choosing the best mattress for your body and sleeping positon. However, daytime napping is a little trickier, as we’re biologically wired to sleep when it’s dark and not when the sun is out. That’s where the Military Sleep Method and the Navy SEAL sleep technique come in handy. 

For Sleep Awareness Week 2024, we’re looking at the key differences between each sleep method, how they work, and how to choose between the Military Sleep Method vs Navy SEAL sleep technique for daytime naps or nighttime sleep.

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What is the Military Sleep Method?

A woman relaxeson a boat on a calm lake under clear blue sky

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Military Sleep Method is a popular sleep technique that originated as a way to help soldiers fall asleep at any time. Its popularity stems from the fact that it promises to help you fall asleep in 2 minutes flat. Our Military Sleep Method guide goes into full detail of the technique, but here’s quick breakdown of how to perform it in seven steps: 

1. Relax your face muscles, drop your shoulders, and keep your arms loose by your sides, with relaxed fingers and hands.
2. Exhale to relax your chest
3. Relax muscles in legs and feet
4. Imagine a relaxing, warm sensation washing over your body
5. Inhale and exhale while clearing your mind of all thoughts
6. Imagine one of the following scenarios: You’re lying on your back in a canoe of a tranquil lake below a clear blue sky OR you're lying in a black velvet hammock in a pitch black room
7. Repeat the words “don’t think” in your head over and over for 10 seconds if you feel other thoughts creeping back into your mind. 

What is the Navy SEAL sleep technique?

The Navy SEAL sleep technique has gained popularity thanks to its status as a TikTok trend. It was initially shared by a former Navy SEAL officer, but was further popularised by lifestyle coach Nick Vetello. Our Navy SEAL sleep technique guide goes into further detail about how to perform the sleep hack, but here’s a quick breakdown in three steps: 

1. Lay on the floor
2. Elevate your legs onto the edge of bed, couch, or chair while still lying on the floor, so they’re at a 90 to 120 degree angle.
3. Close your eyes and wake up feeling refreshed.

A woman lies on the floor with her feet elevated on a radiator

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Military Sleep Method vs Navy SEAL sleep technique: Which is best for falling asleep fast?

While the Military Sleep Method promises to help people fall asleep within just two minutes, the Navy SEAL Sleep technique makes no such promises. In fact, there’s no estimated time stamp on how long it takes to fall asleep using the method. 

Two minutes is a very short timespan, and at first glance the Military Sleep Method does seem like the way to go for an instant snooze. However, the Navy SEAL technique is a much simpler technique with less steps to remember, so it may be that this three-step sleep technique is actually the faster method.

It should also be noted that the Military Sleep Method requires practice, so you may not fall asleep in two minutes the first few times you try it. However, after several weeks of using the sleep method every night you might be falling asleep in two minutes without issue.

Military Sleep Method vs Navy SEAL sleep technique: Which is best for naps?

If you're looking for a way to squeeze in a daytime power nap, the Navy SEAL sleep technique is definitely the way to go as it's designed for short, restorative naps that last for eight to 10 minutes. This short duration stems from the fact that those in the Navy are advised to take afternoon naps during breaks in combat.

If you want to make sure that the nap doesn’t last longer than the required time, set your alarm for 10 minutes. Do this after your legs are elevated but before you close your eyes to sleep.

However, if you prefer the Military Sleep Method compared to the Navy SEAL sleep technique, you can still use the former, as the method was designed to help soldiers fall asleep at any time of day – just remember to set your alarm for around the 20 minute mark to avoid going deeper into a sleep cycle. 

Woman relaxing in acanoe performing the Navy SEAL and military sleep method

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Military Sleep Method vs Navy SEAL sleep technique: Which is best for nighttime sleep?

As the Navy SEAL sleep technique is designed to wake you up after approximately 10 minutes, it isn’t ideal for those who want to sleep throughout the night. This is why we recommend using the Military Sleep Method for fall asleep fast and sleeping through the night.

The Military Sleep Method also requires a lot of thinking and visualizing, which is easier to do during the still of the night. Plus, it’s likely that you’ll want to spend the night in bed, rather than on the floor of your bedroom. 

Is it possible to fall asleep in two minutes? 

Sleep expert James Wilson points out that falling asleep shouldn't typically happen in an instant: “To fall asleep healthily, it should take you between five to 30 minutes to drop off,” he explained while discussing tips to get to sleep fast. "Falling asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow is not a good thing and is a sign of sleep deprivation. It suggests that you are not meeting your sleep needs.” 

However, while falling asleep fast may signal extreme tiredness and sleep deprivation, is it actually possible to fall asleep in two minutes using one of the above techniques? Claire Davies, Sleep Editor and Certified Sleep Science Coach at Tom's Guide has used both techniques. "I practised the Military Sleep Method for three months straight and by around the second month, I was falling asleep very quickly – after just a few minutes (if not two) of visualization. 

"So yes, I believe it is possible to fall asleep in two minutes but with a few caveats: you put the work in beforehand, over a series of nights or even weeks, training your brain with the same sleep visualization. You also do this in a dark, cool, quiet and comfy bedroom with zero distractions."

Frances Daniels
Sleep Staff Writer

Frances Daniels is a Sleep Staff Writer at Tom's Guide and her role includes covering all mattress and sleep news, in addition to mattress reviews and buyer's guides, plus sleep accessories such as pillows and mattress toppers. Frances is a PPA-accredited journalist and is hugely interested in the relationship between good sleep and overall health. When not writing about mattresses and sleep for Tom's Guide, Frances enjoys writing about women's issues, health and wellbeing, the environment, and her native Wales.