Life

This one simple trick could help you fall asleep faster

Posted by
Sonya Barber
Published

Forget counting sheep, this is how you can easily drop off.

If your brain is buzzing when you get into bed and you find it tough to switch off, this easy trick could be the answer: writing a to-do list before you turn out the lights.

Yes, it’s that simple. Researchers from Baylor University in Texas found that people who wrote a to-do list fell asleep faster.

Dr Michael Scullin and his team studied 57 people aged between 18-30. Participants spent the night in their lab, where they were split into two groups and given a writing task five minutes before bedtime.

One group wrote about things they had already done that day, while the other wrote down a list of tasks they still needed to do.

The researchers found that the people in the ‘to do’ group went to sleep an average of 16 minutes past their official bedtime, while those in the ‘completed’ group drifted off an average of 25 minutes later.

Writing in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, Scullin and his team say that worrying about future tasks “is a significant contributor to difficulty in falling asleep”.

They add: “The more specifically participants wrote their to-do list, the faster they subsequently fell asleep, whereas the opposite trend was observed when participants wrote about completed activities.” 

They concluded that “to facilitate falling asleep, individuals may derive benefit from writing a very specific to-do list for five minutes at bedtime rather than journaling about completed activities”.

So when you get into bed tonight, write down a very detailed list of everything you need to achieve tomorrow and then (fingers crossed) you can forget all about it and gently drift off into the land of nod.

Although, we’ll admit that this does sound a little too good to be true. If you’re still struggling to switch off once your to-do list is written, you could use this sleep spray from Lush that everyone went wild for last year, listen to Stephen Fry’s calming voice or the Sleep With Me podcast, or try ‘pink noise’. 

Find out about more sleep trends for 2018 here.

Images: Zohre Nemati / Kinga Cichewicz