Want to Sleep Better at Night? Psychologists Say to Write a To-Do List

Next time you have trouble falling asleep, write down what you need to get done tomorrow—science says it could help stop you from worrying at night.
Marc Gingras
Insights
September 16, 2022
4 minute read

You’ve heard it before: sleeping well requires consistency. Dedication. Healthy habits that are regularly practiced and then formed.

Take a warm bath before bed.

Consume less alcohol.

Avoid big meals.

Keep the bedroom almost unbearably cold.

Minimize disruptions at night (that one’s tough to do with kids).

Invest in a new mattress.

Purchase a real alarm clock.

Get enough sun (30 minutes a day should do).

Try supplements (but don’t take too many).

Nap (but not for too long).

Watch less TV.

Don’t look at your phone (in fact, leave it on the other side of the room).

Avoid stimulation.

Yawwwn 🥱

Following a regular sleep schedule and developing proper sleep habits are important. But life is rarely easy. Often, it can prevent you from accomplishing even the simplest, most virtuous goals. 

And while suggestions on how to sleep better are welcomed, sometimes they can seem more like rules for taking care of a gremlin than practical advice.

They also often ignore the mental health side of things, which are proven to impact getting a good night of sleep—as well as your ability to think clearly—as much (if not more) than stacking habits.

So here’s what I’d like you to consider doing next time you have trouble falling asleep:

Rather than wasting your time trying to find the right sleep playlist on Spotify before bed, take five minutes to write down what you need to get done the next day.

The Science of Sleep

According to a 2018 study published in The Journal of Experimental Psychology, writing a to-do list before bed can help you fall asleep faster.

In the experiment, participants went to bed at 10:30 p.m. and were asked to spend five minutes writing about their upcoming tasks. Participants fell asleep nine minutes faster (and woke up less throughout the night) than a separate group, who followed the same rules but wrote about tasks they had already completed. Additionally, participants who wrote their to-do lists in greater detail fell asleep even more quickly.

This may only seem like a marginal gain. But when one considers that the average American only gets roughly six and a half hours of sleep per night and 40% report difficulties falling asleep, any little improvement helps.

By offloading the unfinished tasks that cycle through our heads each day, research suggests our brains are better able to “hit the pause button,” decreasing worry and rumination. 

"Having stuff on your mind is one of the main barriers to falling asleep at night,” says Michael Scullin, the report’s lead author.

Next time unfinished tasks keep you up at night, try writing them down.

For more productivity insights and advice, visit the Nook blog and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Whether you’re a sales superstar, in-demand consultant, busy recruiter, or someone who simply needs to schedule a lot of meetings, one thing’s for sure—you’ve probably booked a lot of them over the past two years.

Hybrid work has forced the majority of our meetings online, and while we appreciate being able to wear sweatpants during normal work hours, the time-consuming ballet that is sharing your availability, finding a time to meet, and adding it to your calendar isn’t quite as enjoyable. 

Speaking with everyone from solopreneurs to seasoned professionals, it seems like a lot of people find meeting scheduling software either costly, impersonal, or just plain boring. And Calendly and other alternatives don’t always cut it.

We hear you. 

Everyone is different, and so is how they work. Making good first impressions is important, and you shouldn’t have to pay a premium for them or basic customizations and integrations with your meeting booking system.

Nook Calendar’s meeting proposal feature is already used by tons of high-performing teams for selecting and proposing meeting times outside of their organization. 

Now, we’re making things even easier by letting you build personal pages with shareable calendar-booking links, right in Nook Calendar. Add them to your LinkedIn profile, email signature, website, or messages when finding a time to meet.

We think it’s the best meeting scheduling software out there, and we’re excited for you to give it a try, so let’s get started.

Here’s How to Set Up a Personal Booking Page in Nook Calendar

First off, if you’re new to Nook Calendar—hello! (If you’re already a Nook user, you can skip ahead.)

You’re going to start by syncing your calendar—either from Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook—and entering your work email address.

Once you approve any necessary permissions, you’ll set up your People Bar. Search for any connections and add the people you interact with the most when scheduling meetings.

From there, you can add any additional calendars you want to see (add your personal one, if you like, to further prevent any overlaps when scheduling meetings), integrate with Zoom (so you can launch calls straight from your calendar), and choose your preferred display setting—select Match OS, Light Mode, or Dark Mode.

Launch Nook Calendar, and you’re ready to set up your online meeting scheduler.

Now, the fun begins

You’re going to start by claiming your unique URL for sharing your meeting availability page. 

Your first name appears by default, but really, it can be anything. We recommend using your full name (e.g., /john-smith).

(You can always change your URL in the future, as long as it’s still available.)

From there, you want to complete your profile. 

Your profile pic is automatically pulled in from your Microsoft or GCal account.

But you can add your name, job title, welcome message, and links to social media profiles or professional website, so guests know a bit more about you when booking a meeting. 

Then, you can start setting your weekly availability.

Nook Calendar defaults to traditional time blocks—9–12 a.m. and 1–5 p.m. These are the hours someone can book a meeting from your personal page. Adjust them based on your availability. 

Your timezone is automatically set to your local time, but you can change it if you primarily work with people in a different timezone and it’s better to visualize that when setting your availability.

Choose which calendar you want to accept meetings in—it can only be booked in one, but Nook Calendar will automatically reference your availability in other calendars you’ve synced to prevent double-bookings when someone schedules a meeting.

Now, it’s time to set up some paramaters. 

You can set up your preferred meeting duration in either 15, 30, 45-minute or one-hour increments (or a custom time).

You can also add buffer time to give yourself a break between meetings, or set a lead time of up to 24 hours, so no one can book any last-minute meetings.

And you’re all set! You can preview what the page will look like, then share it with contacts or add it to your LinkedIn profile (we suggest adding it as a secondary URL), email signature, and anywhere else you do business.

Once someone books time in your calendar, you’ll receive an email and get a notification in the Pulse.

If you ever need to make any changes, you can access your personal meeting page in the bottom of the Magic Panel and make any adjustments—either to your weekly availability or personal information.

You can also remove your availability by simply creating events in Nook Calendar and marking them as Busy to block off time and prevent any bookings.

Nook Calendar’s new personal pages for sharing meeting availability are available on Web, iOS, and Android. 
If you have any questions or thoughts, we’d love to hear them. Hit us up in our Slack Community or contact us through Support.  
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