The Good Bedtime Habit That Could Be Making Your Sleep Worse

Struggle to sleep at night? If you suffer with sleep problems or insomnia, going to bed later could actually help you fall asleep quicker.

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It's the worst feeling in the world. Tossing and turning until the early hours of the morning. Body's rigid, eyes are wide awake and staring vacantly at the ceiling, when all you really want to do is drift off and fall into a peaceful slumber. 

For many insomniacs, getting an early night seems like the best way to catch up on your sleep. But this could be the reason you're struggling to snooze in the first place, according to new research.

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If you try to turn in a little later than usual, and limit the amount of time spent in bed, this could actually help you fall asleep much quicker, according to research conducted by the University of Pennsylvania.

Between 70 and 80 per cent of people can alleviate their sleeping problems by spending less time in bed, the researchers say. 

It's already an effective tactic used to treat insomniacs. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is commonly used to change people's sleeping patterns, so they can control or eliminate the negative thoughts that are keeping them awake. 

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But part of this treatment includes 'sleep restriction', which works to decrease the amount of time you spend in bed. This should make you feel more tired the next night, and in turn will help you to fall asleep much quicker.

Last month, The American College of Physicians recommended that chronic sufferers of insomnia should be trying CBT before being prescribed drugs as researchers found the therapy improved symptoms and didn't have any side-effects.

Talking to the Mail Online, Dr Michael Perlis, director of the Penn Behavioural Sleep Medicine Programme, said: 'Those with insomnia typically extend their sleep opportunity.

'They go to bed early, get out of bed late, and they nap.


'While this seems a reasonable thing to do, and may well be in the short term, the problem in the longer term is it creates a mismatch between the individual's current sleep ability [which is low] and their current sleep opportunity [which is vast, as it has been extended] – and this fuels insomnia.

'It's estimated that one third of Brits don't get enough sleep with one in ten people in the UK suffering with some form of insomnia each year. Whether you suffer with insomnia or find it difficult to relax when you hit they hay, this simple technique could be key in helping to regulate your sleep pattern. 

via The Good Housekeeping Team 

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