Insomnia - How to Fall Asleep Faster

Can writing down a to-do list help with sleep difficulties?

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Having problems falling asleep at night? A new study by Baylor University in Texas, US found out that listing down your unfinished business might actually help you fall asleep faster.

The exercise was carried out with 57 participants divided into two groups. Both groups were given a five-minute writing assignment before going to sleep. One group was tasked to write down everything they needed to remember to do the next day or in the coming days, whereas the other group was instructed to list down the tasks they had completed in the previous few days. Both groups had to go to bed at the same time.

A sleep measurement test — polysomnography — was carried out overnight and was used to monitor electrical brain activity using electrodes. Results were surprising — it turns out that those who wrote a “to-do” list fell asleep nine minutes faster than those who wrote down what they had completed.

“Most people breeze through their to-do lists in their head. Hence, we wanted to explore whether the act of writing them down could help them sleep better or better manage their sleep difficulties,” said lead author Dr Michael K Scullin .

The researchers have acknowledged that a larger future study would need to be conducted in order for the results to be of any value.

FAST FACT:

The blue light given off by phones, tablets and TVs prevents the production of melatonin, which helps you fall asleep. If you don’t want to give up using your iPad in bed, follow this advice from a 2013 Mayo Clinic study: keep the device at least 35 centimetres or 14 inches from your face and turn down the screen’s brightness to reduce your risk of light-related sleep problems.

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Insomnia - How to Fall Asleep Faster

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