Can’t sleep? We might finally have a solution for you. Luc Beaudoin, a cognitive scientist from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, invented a method to help people fall asleep.
When people struggle to fall asleep, they usually think about not being able to sleep, which then makes it even harder to fall asleep. He came up with a technique called “cognitive shuffling,” which is meant to distract the brain and lull it into that groggy state that proceeds a sleep cycle.
How do you do the cognitive shuffle?
It’s a simple word game that you play in your head. Pick a word that contains at least five letters. Take the first letter, and create a new list of words that begin with it, then vividly picture each in your mind. When you run out of ideas, move on to the next letter. When you finish all of those letters, think of a new word.
Let’s try it out:
Which starts with the letter “C” so:
- Cat, camp, candy, Christmas, cow. . .
The next letter in CARING is “A” so:
- Apple, avenue, angel, athlete. . .
If you don’t feel like doing all that thinking, you can download his app mySleepButton. Turn it on, close your eyes, and listen to a voice read out a list of random things. Imagine them in your mind as you fall asleep. For example, you might hear “a girl adjusting her ponytail” followed by “a child talking to Superman.” Seems odd, but the mix of these mental images distracts the conscious brain while your body gets on with the natural process of drifting off to sleep.