Can’t sleep? Count your to-dos instead of sheep

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Jotting down your to-do list for tomorrow can help you fall asleep more quickly tonight, according to researchers at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

to-do listResearchers studied 57 university students, asking half the group to spend five minutes writing down what they needed to do the next day on a to-do list and asking the other half to spend five minutes writing down what they had accomplished during that day, according to a news release.

The group that made a list of things they needed to accomplish the next day fell asleep up to 10 minutes faster than the group that wrote about the day’s accomplishments.

“We live in a 24/7 culture in which our to-do lists seem to be constantly growing and causing us to worry about unfinished tasks at bedtime,” says Michael K. Scullin, lead author of the study and director of Baylor’s Sleep Neuroscience and Cognition Laboratory. “Most people just cycle through their to-do lists in their heads, and so we wanted to explore whether the act of writing them down could counteract nighttime difficulties with falling asleep.”

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