Doctor's hack to fall asleep easier goes viral on TikTok

·2-min read
Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

You've just nodded off on the sofa after binge-watching Sex and the City for the 32584th time. Bleary eyed, you head up to bed, ready for a restful night's sleep. But as soon as your head hits the pillow, you suddenly feel wide awake – something which no amount of sheep counting seems to rectify.

If the above scenario sounds familiar, then you're not alone. In fact, research has shown that 36% of adults in the UK struggle to get to sleep at least on a weekly basis. Thankfully, one doctor is on a mission to change that, and his latest hack to help make falling asleep easier is making the rounds on TikTok.

"You fall asleep on the couch but as soon as you get into bed, you stop feeling tired. This is a phenomenon known as learned or conditioned arousal," Dr Karan Raj told his 4.9 million TikTok followers. "You've accidentally trained your body to associate your bed with being awake by doing stuff that stimulates you."

Dr Raj went on: "Watching Netflix, scrolling on your phone, doing office work and even eating food – all these things teach your brain that your bed isn't just a place to sleep."

As for how to combat conditioned arousal when it comes to bed time, the expert explains, "Do all of these things in a different room before getting into bed."

He continued, "If you spend more than 20 minutes trying to fall asleep, get out of bed and move to a different part of the house until you feel sleepy again. You need to break that association between your bed and feeling restless."

And clearly, he knows what he's talking about, as his sleep tip is echoed by the NHS. "If you are lying awake unable to sleep, do not force it," the NHS advises. "Get up and do something relaxing for a bit, and return to bed when you feel sleepier."

Other NHS tips to help make bedtimes that little bit easier include cutting back on caffeine throughout the day, ensuring you stick to a proper nighttime routine and being more mindful about your sleep worries. "Going to bed when you feel tired and getting up at roughly the same time helps teach your body to sleep better," the NHS recommends. "If you often lie awake worrying about tomorrow, set aside time before bed to make a list for the next day. This can help put your mind at rest."

This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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