Want to fall asleep faster? Try this

Want to fall asleep faster? Try this

Tired of lying awake at night trying to fall asleep?

How often do you find yourself calculating how many hours of sleep you’ll get if you could start sleeping that moment?

There may be a solution, according to a recent study published in theĀ Journal of Experimental Psychology.

Researchers sought to determine if writing down future-focused thoughts before bed could help people sleep faster. They studied the sleep patterns of nearly 60 participants between the ages of 18-30 as they slept overnight in a lab. Half of the participants were asked to spend five minutes before bed writing down a to-do list of things they’d like to complete in the next few days.

The other half of participants were told to spend five minutes writing a “completed” list of things they had accomplished in the last few days.

The results were promising.

The participants who wrote to-do lists fell asleep nine minutes faster than those who wrote completed lists. Also worth noting – those who wrote longer, more specific lists fell asleep faster than those who wrote shorter, more general ones.

“My experience has shown that this type of technique can work very well for some people,” says Dr. Kevin Krippner, clinical psychologist with Advocate Medical Group.

“Many people have a hard time falling asleep because they are thinking about problems or their work for the next day. Making a list of tasks that will need to be addressed during the next day can help many people let go of their worries, as they have a plan in place for addressing the issues.”

Dr. Krippner cautions that some people may become more anxious by pulling together a list of uncompleted tasks.

“It would be important for someone who is considering this strategy to determine if making a list would make them more or less anxious,” he says.

How can you tell?

“The best way might be to try the strategy for a few days and see how it impacts the length of time it takes to fall asleep,” says Dr. Krippner.

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  1. Is this for real? Getting people to worry about all the things they have to do the next day is supposed to make them fall asleep faster? That’s usually *why* I can’t fall asleep! Seems more like driving them to get out of bed and start working on getting their to-do list out of the way. Where do you people find these stupid studies?

    • Peter Drypolcher January 25, 2018 at 1:57 pm · Reply

      This works well for me. Writing down the six things I want to accomplish the next day leaves them on the list, not in my mind.

    • @Dienne, the things you have to do the next day are always going to be there. Instead of rolling around in bed going over them you are committing them to paper and resting with the knowledge that you can get up in the morning and tackle them.

  2. NEVER take tomorrow to bed with you!

About the Author

Holly Brenza
Holly Brenza

Holly Brenza, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator at Advocate Health Care in Downers Grove. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her free time, Holly enjoys reading, watching the White Sox and Blackhawks and playing with her dog, Bear and cats, Demi and Elle.