Health & Spirit

The to-do list: your new sleeping pill?

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

In "The Bucket List" Carter (Morgan Freeman) and Edward (Jack Nicholson) are two unlikely friends who circle the globe hoping to check off their undone wishes before succumbing to the cancer that soon may be the end of them both. That idea -- making sure you get to do often-quirky adventures before you die -- fascinates folks. One survey found that almost 70 percent of people have such a list. It seems those wish lists make difficult-to-accomplish goals seem more likely to come true.

Well, it turns out the power of the list isn't just to make dreams come true -- it's to make dreams, period! Researchers at Baylor's Sleep Neuroscience and Cognition Laboratory have discovered that you'll fall asleep faster if you write out a to-do list before turning off the lights.

In their recent study, the scientists divided 57 young adults ages 18 to 30 into two groups. Before going to sleep, one group spent five minutes writing down all the things they had to do over the next few days. The other group wrote about things they'd already accomplished. Then they hit the hay while the researchers monitored their brain activity. Those who had written the to-do list fell asleep much more quickly than those reflecting on past activities.

So if you're one of the 30 percent of adults who contend with occasional insomnia, create a to-do list before bedtime so you know you won't forget your goals. That may offload potential worries, clear your mind and help you sleep better.



Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2018 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2018 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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