If you’re the like the millions of us who are plagued by insomnia, you’d probably try anything to get a good night’s sleep more often. One method that may be successful for you involves just six steps and uses good old Pavlovian psychology.Photo by Hobvias Sudeneighm
PsyBlog outlines the six steps of Stimulus Control Therapy:
- Lie down to go to sleep only when you are sleepy.
- Do not use your bed for anything except sleep; that is, do not read, watch television, eat, or worry in bed. Sexual activity is the only exception to this rule. On such occasions, the instructions are to be followed afterwards, when you intend to go to sleep.
- If you find yourself unable to fall asleep, get up and go into another room. Stay up as long as you wish and then return to the bedroom to sleep. Although we do not want you to watch the clock, we want you to get out of bed if you do not fall asleep immediately. Remember the goal is to associate your bed with falling asleep quickly! If you are in bed more than about 10 minutes without falling asleep and have not gotten up, you are not following this instruction.
- If you still cannot fall asleep, repeat step 3. Do this as often as is necessary throughout the night.
- Set your alarm and get up at the same time every morning irrespective of how much sleep you got during the night. This will help your body acquire a consistent sleep rhythm.
- Do not nap during the day.
Step 3 is the most difficult part, but what you’re doing by forcing yourself out of bed is learning to associate your bed only with sleep (except for sex), much like in Pavlov’s famous experiments his dogs associated a ringing bell with food, causing a physical reaction (salivating). The physical reaction we want when we lie down is immediate, blissful sleep.
We’ve previously discussed lots of sleep hacks, including expert tips for ending insomnia and other sleep problems, finding your perfect bedtime, and cooling your head off, but for sleep success, you may need a lot of tricks in your arsenal. Got any advice for falling asleep faster? Share them with us in the comments.
6 Easy Steps to Falling Asleep Fast [PsyBlog]