Home News Struggling to fall asleep? Try this simple trick to drift off quickly

Struggling to fall asleep? Try this simple trick to drift off quickly

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Struggling to fall asleep? Try this simple trick to drift off quickly

For those who are struggling to get enough sleep, the ABCs may be the key to getting more Zzzs.

A sleep shortcut that’s making the rounds on TikTok uses the alphabet to help people drift off.

Sleep experts shared their input on the unconventional route to restful nights.

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The technique isn’t new, but it’s been circulating on social media in recent weeks. 

Here’s how it works: The wanna-be sleeper chooses a category — whether it’s song titles, vacation destinations or anything that strikes their fancy — and then thinks of something for every letter of the alphabet.

Woman having trouble sleeping

A sleep shortcut that’s making the rounds on TikTok uses the alphabet to help people drift off. (iStock)

For instance, if the category is colors, A might be Aqua, B could be Blue, C could be Chartreuse, and so on.

The idea is that, over time, the exercise will lull the person to sleep.

There are other variations of the alphabet hack, such as picturing each letter being written and erased to help induce sleep.

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Sleep expert Jeff Kahn, the Chicago-based CEO and co-founder of Rise Science, maker of the sleep and energy tracker app RISE, pointed out that the alphabet method hasn’t been studied, but that it likely works by distracting the person from focusing on the inability to sleep. 

“This is how the larger category of distraction techniques can help with sleep, anxiety and managing pain, among other challenges,” he told Fox News Digital.

“You can’t force sleep — and thinking about falling asleep or about how you can’t fall asleep is a surefire way to delay it.”

doctor's office

If lack of sleep is interfering with your quality of life, experts recommend speaking with a doctor about getting assessed for a sleep disorder or other underlying medical conditions. (iStock)

Dr. Chelsie Rohrscheib, a neuroscientist and sleep specialist at Wesper in New York, noted that many people experience an overactive mind when they’re trying to sleep, which makes it difficult for the brain and body to relax — leading to insomnia and poor sleep quality.

“The alphabet hack forces you to stop focusing on stimulating or stressful thoughts, which calms your brain activity and helps the brain enter the first sleep stage,” she told Fox News Digital.

Alternative sleep hacks

If the alphabet method doesn’t work, there are other creative techniques that could help you fall asleep.

“Alternatives include meditation and deep breathing exercises, which focus on not only quieting the mind, but also slowing your heart rate and breathing, which make it easier to enter sleep,” Rohr said.

“You can’t force sleep — and thinking about falling asleep is a surefire way to delay it.”

If none of these techniques are effective, he recommends getting out of bed and going to another quiet, dim area to do a relaxing activity, like reading or listening to music, until you feel sleepy.

Kahn agreed with that advice.

Sleep triple split

“You can’t force sleep — and thinking about falling asleep or about how you can’t fall asleep is a surefire way to delay it,” an expert said. (iStock)

“A good rule of thumb is, if you can’t fall asleep within 20 to 30 minutes, abandon the pursuit, leave your bed, and do things that are relaxing and distracting, in low or as little light as possible,” he advised. 

“Let sleepiness wash over you, which it will, and then head back to bed. Sleep doctors call this a ‘sleep reset.’”

Another technique that works for a lot of people is progressive muscle tension and relaxation, both experts said.

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“A warm shower immediately before bed also helps to drop your core body temperature quickly once you get out, which stimulates the brain to feel sleepy,” Rohr added.

Optimizing sleep hygiene

“Decades of sleep science research shows that having excellent sleep hygiene is your best bet to regularly fall sleep, stay asleep, and to feel and function your best while awake,” Kahn told Fox News Digital.

Girl sleeping

Optimizing your sleep hygiene is the best way to “regularly fall sleep, stay asleep, and to feel and function your best while awake,” a sleep doctor warned. (iStock)

Common best practices include keeping a very regular sleep schedule, cutting off caffeine 12 hours before bedtime, avoiding late meals and alcohol, getting sunlight every morning — and keeping your bedroom as cool, dark and quiet as possible.

When to seek help

If you’ve tried everything — including optimizing your sleep environment and routine — and lack of sleep is still interfering with your quality of life, experts recommend speaking with a doctor about getting assessed for a sleep disorder or other underlying medical conditions.

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“Because anxiety about sleep can precipitate more sleeplessness and sleeplessness feeds anxiety, I recommend seeking help sooner rather than later,” Kahn said.

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