The #1 Mistake People Make When Trying To Get Better Sleep

Sleep expert Rebecca Robbins, PhD shares three unexpected tips for getting better sleep.

Katie Sue Webber
Katie Sue Webber
Mom to two sweet little boys. Helping moms is her passion.
Last updated
February 14, 2023

When we can't sleep, it is tempting to stay in bed and try to force ourselves to sleep. However, this can actually make the insomnia worse. Rebecca Robbins, PhD, recommends getting out of bed and doing something mindless like folding laundry or reading a book is much more helpful. Caffeine, eating dinner too late, and exercising too close to bedtime can also cause insomnia. To help you fall asleep, Robbins suggests three specific tips:

1. Carve out time in the evening to worry

“This just means taking a few moments before bedtime to write down any worries that are on your mind, whether they are small or large”

2. Use paradoxical intention

“It’s just about staying in bed and saying to yourself, ‘I’m going to stay awake,’ without doing anything else or looking at any screens.” doing this has a certain reverse psychology on your brain and enables you to be able to fall asleep faster than just trying to will yourself to sleep.

3. Practice the “cognitive shuffle”

This practice consists of choosing a letter consisting of five letters or more, "like “evergreen.” From there, you’d spell it out in your head, and for each letter of the word, think of as many words as you can that start with that letter. In this case, that would mean starting with “e” and thinking up words like “eggs,” “echo,” “entryway,” and so on." As you think of each word, try picturing it in your head. If you aren't asleep by the end of the word, pick a new one and try the same technique.

All of these techniques can help to reset the brain, allowing us to get a better night's sleep.

Read more here (via Well and Good)

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