For people who struggle with sleep, the discovery of a truly reliable tactic for successfully drifting off into slumber likely outranks the question of intelligent life in the universe as life’s most compelling mystery. After all, we’re living in a sleep-deprived world—one in which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calculates that more than 30% of adults get insufficient sleep. (Given that those figures are pre-pandemic, you can only wonder what the percentage would realistically look like today…)
TikTok’s Trick for Falling Asleep Fast
But leave it to the fitness and health-obsessed masses on TikTok to argue over one supposed fall-asleep trick, which was touted as “life-changing” by one psychology graduate student in the United Kingdom who goes by the handle Psychologee.
@psychologeeThis changed my life! #learnontiktok #psychology #uni #tiktoktutorial #sleep #fyp #tiktokpartner♬ Rasputin (7″ Version) – Boney M.
“My psychology proffessor [sic] told me this trick to fall asleep in 5 mins,” writes the user. “It cured my insomnia.”
She explains: “Start listing things in your head but make sure they aren’t directly related. E.g. Potatoes, tarzan [sic], seggs, Violin… The more random, the better.”
So far, the brief clip has been viewed well more than 3.7 million times, has 1.1 million likes, and has generated no shortage of chatter. “Omg thank you so much for this trick!,” commented @aliciar. “It literally changed my sleeping game and I’ve tried everything!”
“THIS WORKSSSSSSSSSSSS,” says @Peppy. “I have always had the WORST insomnia but the past week I’ve been doing this and fall asleep sooooo quick.”
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Others aren’t so sure. “This doesn’t work,” says @albamoeller. “Some days my insomnia wants me to play random scenarios. Sometimes think of nothing at all.”
Other users simply aren’t sold on trying it. “But how am I gonna do this AND fantasize life with Tom Holland?” asks @morganauten.
Daily Habits That May Be Affecting Your Sleep
If you’re struggling with insomnia, there are countless things you might be doing that are affecting your sleep—many of which happen far away from your bedroom and long before you’re in bed and struggling for what to think about. If you don’t have a regular rhythm to your day—and if you’re eating your dinner too late—you’re not priming your body for better sleep. Your caffeine intake and alcohol habits can also affect your sleep. You could be engaged in these nine eating habits that damage your sleep. And, of course, there’s also stress and anxiety.
What You Can Do to Log Better Z’s
But assuming you’re not sabotaging your sleep with your lifestyle decisions, sleep specialist Suzanne Bertische, MD, MPH, of Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center in Boston, has some nighttime tips she provided to Harvard that can potentially help you out.
- You should always rise at the same time every day, even on weekends.
- You should go to bed when you are actually sleepy. Trying to snooze before or after you’re tired is less effective at helping you fall asleep fast. If you’re sleepy and still can’t fall asleep, Dr. Bertische advises you to physically write down the things that may be keeping you awake, practice yoga or slow breathing, and try other relaxation techniques (arguably, like the TikTok tip above attempts to do!).
- You should keep your room cold and dark, and definitely stop using your electronics at least two hours before you get in bed.
- Use your bed for only two things: sleep and sex, Dr. Bertische advises. Working or doing other activities in bed will only confirm in your mind that it’s meant to be an active place.
If it works for you to engage in a free-association of random topics in your mind as you drift off, go for it. And for more healthy living advice from TikTok, see why This Crazy-Popular Walking Workout Totally Works, Say Fitness Experts.