Insomnia? There’s an app for that

By Katya Hodge Fall 2016

Insomnia? There’s an app for that

 

Not getting enough sleep? Well you’re not alone. One third of the adult population experience insomnia symptoms, and according to studies, women are twice as likely as men to have sleep issues.

There are different types of insomnia: some people have trouble falling asleep, while others have trouble with staying asleep or waking up too early. Whatever the type, sleeplessness can take its toll on your energy, mood, health and ability to function during the day.

Luc Beaudoin, adjunct professor and cognitive sciences expert at Simon Fraser University has created an app, called MySleepButton, to help people get to sleep by using what he calls a “cognitive shuffle.”

His method cues individuals to visualize a sequence of random words, one at a time, for a few seconds each. The idea is that while you are busy “shuffling” your thoughts, you won’t be thinking about the things that are keeping you awake.

“A racing mind, worries and uncontrollable thoughts are common bedtime complaints among poor sleepers,” explains Beaudoin.

According to his research, the scrambling of thoughts helps quiet the mind and triggers the sleep switch.

If apps aren’t your thing, Beaudoin offers a simple DIY version: Pick a random word with at least five letters. For each letter of the word, think of an item that starts with that letter. Imagine that word. Think of as many words as you can that start with that first letter, then move on to the next letter and start again. You should be snoring away before you reach the last letter of the word.

So next time you’re in bed, anxious, and your mind is running a million miles a minute, consider harnessing your imagination and shuffling your thoughts to sleep. Sweet dreams!

 

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