The surprising 15-minute rule when you can’t fall asleep, scientists reveal

A SURPRISING hack might be just what you need for a good night’s sleep.

The so-called 15-minute or quarter-hour rule was developed by sleep experts for those who need it lying awake at night.

If you're awake for at least 15 minutes, get up and do an activity, experts say


If you’re awake for at least 15 minutes, get up and do an activity, experts sayPhoto credit: Getty

dr Bryony Sheaves and University of Oxford Professor Colin Espie described the sleep hack in a guide.

Both belong to the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences Medical Sciences Division, a center for the study of diseases of the nervous system.

the couple wrote: “According to studies, about one third of the general population has problems falling asleep or sleeping through the night (insomnia).

“So while lying can feel like a lonely experience awake at nightthere are many people who have similar experiences.

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“Sleep difficulties are often short-lived and get better on their own, but for some people, they may need extra help.”

One of her 10 tips was the “fifteen hour rule,” and it might sound counterintuitive at first.

dr Sheaves and Prof Espie wrote: “If you have trouble sleeping, you’ve probably noticed that you spend a lot of time in bed awake.

“This means bed can be associated with wakefulness, frustration or anxiety about sleep.

“To foster your bed-sleep connection, follow the quarter-hour rule…

“If within about 15 minutes of going to bed you notice you’re not sleeping, try to get up, go to another room, walk around your room turn off the routine until you feel sleepy and tired and ready to go back to bed to sleep.

“However, there is no need to look at the clock; just guess a quarter of an hour.”

Experts say that it is better not to get up and get up tired than to lie restless in bed.

The latter can make you more anxious for sleep, making it even harder to nod off.

By getting up and focusing on another task, you’re more likely to appreciate your bed when you return to it in a calm state of mind.

You might worry that getting up will rob you of precious sleep.

But it can actually help build up a “sleep pressure” the next day that makes you go to bed earlier.

The experts also gave some other suggestions to help those who toss and turn at night.

They wrote, “Avoid bright lights before bed to encourage melatonin production.”

Melatonin is a sleep hormone that builds up in the evening. But it relies on the light being dimmed down, mimicking that of the sunset.

“Conversely, try to expose yourself to plenty of natural daylight when it’s time to wake up (especially early in the morning). This will help you feel awake, alert and ready for the day.”

dr Sheaves and Prof. Espie also recommended at least 90 minutes of window time before bed.

They said: “Some ideas might be reading a book, listening to soothing music, or doing relaxation exercises.

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“If you find your mind racing when you go to bed, you can use some of that time to find a way to wrap up the day.

“Perhaps write a journal to calm your thoughts, or make a plan of things you want to do the next day so those thoughts don’t arise when you’re in bed.” The surprising 15-minute rule when you can’t fall asleep, scientists reveal

Fry Electronics Team

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