To Do Sleep | Psychology Today

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Can writing a simple to do list right before bed let you fall asleep faster?  Recent research says yes.  Which points out that if people do simple cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, or CBT-I, they can make their sleep and waking lives a whole lot easier.

The Study

Young people 18-30 who weren’t having a lot of sleep issues were randomly sorted into two groups at Baylor Medical School.  For five minutes before 10:30 they were given two different  tasks: either write a to-do list for the next few days, or write about the tasks they completed in the last few days.

Those who did their to do lists fell asleep a lot faster.  The more specific the list and requirements they set themselves, the quicker the slumber.

The folks who went over what they had accomplished the previous few days fell asleep a lot less quickly.  The more specific their descriptions, the slower they went to sleep.

Planning helps. Knowing what you want and need to do helps you sleep. Cognition set matters, particularly when you can do simple cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia.

Expectations Versus Reality

The American “Lie Down and Die Model” of sleep  is not physiologically sound.  Most studies of multiple cultures, particularly pre-electronic ones, demonstrate triphasic sleep: a first sleep with a waking in the middle of the night; a second sleep generally ending around dawn (many languages include phrases for “first” and…

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