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I’m a sleep expert – I tell all insomniacs to follow my 15-minute rule, it seems counterintuitive but really works

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WATCHING the clock when you can’t fall asleep practically guarantees you’ll be awake all night, but one hack turns your bad sleep habit into a tool to fight sleeplessness.

If you suffer from bouts of insomnia, you can send yourself off to dreamland in no time with a “fifteen-minute rule” developed by sleep scientists.

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Watching the clock before bed is a source of sleep anxiety[/caption]

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Scientists developed a ’15-minute rule’ to beat bad sleep habits[/caption]

The advice comes following the results of a comprehensive study from the University of Oxford, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, and the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute.

Dr Bryony Sheaves and Professor Colin Espie wrote a guide for implementing the findings.

“If you have difficulties sleeping you’ve probably noticed that you spend lots of time in bed awake,” the experts wrote.

As a result, just being in bed can become connected with restlessness, frustration, or feelings of anxiety about sleep.

Insomnia can be fixed in as little as fifteen minutes with the team’s counterintuitive solution.

“To promote your bed-sleep connection, follow the quarter-of-an-hour rule.

“If you notice that you aren’t asleep within around 15 minutes of going to bed, try getting out of bed,” the experts advised.

What you do with that 15 minutes is up to you.


You can go to another room, distract yourself with a book, or go through your wind-down routine until you are feeling sleepy again.

Just don’t spend time on your phone or the computer, as the blue light exposure can make it harder for you to fall asleep.

“There’s no need to clock-watch,” the study authors wrote. “Just estimate quarter-of-an-hour.”

After that, you should be able to fall asleep with ease – keep your eyes off the clock when you get back to bed.

Even when you’ve had difficulty falling asleep, make sure to get up on time the next day instead of sleeping in.

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“Set a regular rise time and see if you can stick to it seven nights a week,” the experts advised.

To make sure you wake up on time, incentivize yourself with positive reinforcement: “perhaps a lively piece of music, a nice breakfast or a shower,” the pro guide suggested.

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A 15-minute ‘break’ from trying to sleep can reset your restlessness[/caption]

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