Doctor explains how ‘reverse’ sleep hack helped him beat struggle with insomnia

Sometimes, counting sheep just doesn’t cut it, and you need something a little more robust in your night-time routine to help you drift off.

Counting down the hours, minutes, seconds and milliseconds of sleep you’ll fit in when you can drift off is counter-productive and will likely make you more stressed.

A recent study found that 36% of UK adults struggle to get to sleep on a weekly basis – that’s a lot of people not getting enough shut-eye.

Thankfully, it seems there might be a solution for the more bleary-eyed of us courtesy of TikTok’s Dr Karan Raj.

Taking to the social media platform to share his sleep hack, Dr Raj told his followers: “When I first started as a doctor, I struggled with insomnia.”

He went on to explain he’d come across a trick that he instantly dismissed, believing it wouldn’t work.

But, when he gave it a go he realised it did.

“Basically, you tell yourself. ‘I’m not going to sleep’ and you stay awake. You don’t read a book and you don’t go on your phone, no TV, nothing. You just lie in bed [with your] eyes open,” he said.

Dr Raj continued: “You’re forcing yourself to stay awake, tell yourself, ‘don’t go to sleep’. In many cases, you will feel tired and fall asleep. That worked for me.”

“By the way,” he added in the comments section, “This is called ‘paradoxical intention’. If I tell you NOT to think about a polar bear… guess what you think of first? Works the same way!”

So, you’re tricking your mind into falling asleep, and someone pointed this out in the comments, writing: “Reverse psychology.”

Since suffering from insomnia – which the NHS describes as when you “regularly have problems sleeping” – Dr Raj has clearly mastered the art of a good night’s sleep, as several of his must-know sleep hacks have proven popular, including one explaining circadian rhythm, and the importance of keeping a regular sleep pattern.