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This is what people really do before going to sleep, and it explains our insomnia problem

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Hollie Richardson
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Before I go to sleep tips

In one of the most relatable hashtags to be created on Twitter, people are sharing the things they really do before going to bed – and they explain why none of us are getting a good night’s sleep.

We are a generation of insomniacs. If you thought you were the only one wide awake at night, flicking through a mental Rolodex of anxieties and problems – you are definitely not alone. In fact, an Aviva study in 2017 found that insomnia is a regular thing for nearly 16 million adults. This means that they are getting less than five hours of sleep per night.

But it’s not like we don’t all try to get a full eight hours sleep, right? There are loads of things we can try to get a better night’s snooze, including breathing exercises, listening to soothing podcasts, cutting down screen time and caffeine and even trialling cognitive behavioural therapy. And yet, the land of nod can still seem so far away come bedtime. 

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But a new Twitter hashtag about what people really do before going to bed explains everything. Hashtag Roundup asked people to share their honest #BeforeIFallAsleep rituals, and the people have delivered. Some are funny, others are frustrating – but most of them are highly relatable. And they suggest that we might not be making much effort to get a better night’s sleep after all. 

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Ruminating on anxieties, scrolling through Twitter, watching that next episode of a Netflix series and making space for the cat were all popular answers. And, of course, there were the people who literally pray not to wake up halfway through the night and truly believe they just weren’t designed for sleep. 

Going through a checklist of anxieties

“I go through my checklist of anxieties,” wrote one user.

Scrolling through Twitter

“I usually drop my phone on my face while scrolling through Twitter,” added another, before adding, “This happens more than I’d like to admit.”

Making space for the cat

“I make room on the bed for my cat,” said another person, along with many other feline friends.

Praying not to wake up halfway through the night

“I pray that I don’t wake up at 2/4 in the morning. Only to fall back asleep at 5 for my alarm to sound off at 6:30,” chipped in another user. 

Fully believing that sleep is a myth

“I never believe I’m ready to sleep,” summed up one woman.

Thinking negatively about work

“I thank God for giving me patience for yet another day dealing with certain imbeciles in the workplace,” tweeted one person, who spoke for frustrated members of staff everywhere. 

Mentally replaying every embarrassing moment ever

“I remember all the awkward and embarrassing things I’ve ever said and done,” concluded someone who we can all relate to. 

Although it’s comforting to share the stress of not being able to sleep, what steps can we actually take to break these bad habits?

The NHS website advises: 

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day – only go to bed when you feel tired.
  • Relax at least 1 hour before bed – for example, take a bath or read a book.
  • Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet – use thick curtains, blinds, an eye mask or ear plugs. 
  • Exercise regularly during the day.
  • Make sure your mattress, pillows and covers are comfortable. 
  • Do not smoke or drink alcohol, tea or coffee at least 6 hours before going to bed.
  • Do not eat a big meal late at night.
  • Do not exercise at least 4 hours before bed.
  • Do not watch television or use devices right before going to bed – the bright light makes you more awake.
  • Do not nap during the day.
  • Do not sleep in after a bad night’s sleep – stick to your regular sleeping hours instead.

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Images: Getty

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…

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