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If you have trouble sleeping, there is a 5 minute activity that might help

This story is part of try thisCNET’s collection of simple tips to improve your life fast.

Falling asleep was a terrible struggle in my high school years. Maybe it was the hormones pounding my body, the all too common teenage angst, or just that I was operating Pacific Time long before I moved to the West Coast. Whatever the reason, bedtime usually consisted of lying awake for hours, desperate to get to sleep, but rarely getting more than 4 or 5 hours of sleep a night. I could sleep through an earthquake when I finally slept, but when it came to the process of falling asleep, insomnia plagued me.

It was an agonizing vicious circle. And because I knew I was having trouble falling asleep, I was restless before it was time for bed. I wasn’t alone – insomnia is estimated to affect almost half the population.

Luckily, over time I was able to regain control of my sleep pattern and most nights I’m now asleep within 15 minutes. A lot has changed in my life since then, but one change had a surprisingly positive effect on my sleep: I started writing to-do lists every night before bed. Here’s what I do to fall asleep — and sleep through the night. And if you’re looking for more tips to help you fall asleep, I spoke to a sleep expert for more ideas on getting a good night’s sleep.

And for more tips that will make your life easier in general, click here how to pit an avocado So you don’t get an “avocado hand” and how Stop junk mail.

Try making a to-do list for falling asleep and staying asleep

When I first started making nightly to-do lists, I had no idea it would help me sleep — I just wanted a way to better track my priorities and productivity day-to-day. So every night before I went to bed, I wrote down three things I wanted to do the next day. I also want to mention one good thing that happened during the day, no matter how small. The whole process takes me no more than 5 minutes.

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I later learned that there might be a connection between clearing our minds and falling asleep. According to a study by researchers from Baylor and Emory Universities, making a list of upcoming tasks can help you fall asleep faster.

Baylor and Emory’s study looked at people who wrote down tasks and activities they did before bed and compared them to a second group who made a to-do list of things to do over the next day or two before bed had to do. The study showed that writing to-do lists helped people fall asleep significantly faster than writing about completed activities.

The researchers speculate that writing to-do lists reduces the stress and anxiety about upcoming events that tends to keep people up at night. In short, writing things down can help shift worries from your brain to the page.

More ways to sleep better at night

If you’re curious about other ways to get a good night’s sleep, Dr. Saroja Sripathi, director of sleep medicine at Kaiser Permanente Northern California, for additional ideas. She said good sleep is a matter of three factors: the quality of sleep, how long you sleep, and when you sleep. The best way to maximize all three is to focus on what sleep experts “sleep hygiene‘ – essentially the behaviors that help you sleep better.

The choices we make throughout the day—such as what and when we drink, how much we eat, and when we go to bed—affect our ability to sleep at night.

If you have trouble falling asleep at night, Sripathi has research-backed recommendations to improve your sleep quality:

  • Stay away from electronic screens for at least half an hour before bed.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed (alcohol can help you fall asleep but is likely to decrease sleep quality).
  • Create a consistent routine that signals your body that it’s time to sleep.
  • Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning.
  • STORE YOUR BED FOR SLEEP AND SEX – Keep your reading, snacking and TV in other parts of your home.
  • If you need to unwind at the end of the night, listen to podcasts or guided meditations instead of scrolling through social media or other websites.

If you’ve tried these techniques and are still having trouble sleeping, it might be time to seek professional help. Your doctor can work with you to diagnose and treat any problems you may have.

What Are the Benefits of Better Sleep?

Getting good, adequate sleep can be a challenge. For most of us, there’s usually more to do than we can fit in a day, and it’s tempting to cut time from the more than 7 hours that experts recommend adults sleep each night. But how important is sleep really?

Sripathi told me that sleep affects more than just how rested you feel the next day. “Our overall physical and emotional well-being is affected by sleep,” she said, so making sleep a priority is important.

hearing about the Benefits of good sleep made me realize how much of an impact sleep has on our lives. Here are a few things Sripathi says affect sleep:

  • our mood: Good sleep improves mood, and people with problems like depression and anxiety typically complain of trouble sleeping.
  • Our verdict: Better sleep quality recharges our minds and can help us think more clearly so we can make better decisions. We have better judgment and can work faster.
  • our memory: Calling all college students – staying up all night while studying is ultimately counterproductive because our brains must sleep to consolidate what you have learned for the day.
  • Our immune system: Better sleep can help us stay healthy because our bodies look for diseases while we sleep. Sleep can even help with heart health, an important factor in preventing heart disease.
  • our bodies: For children, sleep helps in physical development. That’s why children need more sleep than adults – up to 18 hours a day for newborns.

By creating a good sleeping environment and establishing healthy sleeping habits, you stand a good chance of programming your body to sleep better at night. For me, making a to-do list for the next day was a helpful part of that programming, and I’ve been sleeping a lot easier ever since.

For more information on sleeping, see our exploration of the best sleeping positions, how to eat to sleep better and Tips to fix a messed up sleep schedule.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions about a medical condition or health goals.

https://www.cnet.com/health/sleep/if-you-have-trouble-sleeping-theres-a-5-minute-activity-that-could-help/ If you have trouble sleeping, there is a 5 minute activity that might help

Chris Barrese

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