Can’t get to sleep? Try the ‘open eye’ sleep hack to fall asleep quickly

This doctor-approved open eye sleep hack will have you asleep in minutes

Woman under the covers with her eyes open, wellness tips, sleep hacks
(Image credit: Ketut Subiyanto / Pexels)

Do you struggle to fall asleep at night? Then this doctor-approved open eye sleep hack might help you fall asleep quicker and feel more rested.

Sometimes, the biggest hurdle to getting the best night’s sleep is the initial act of falling asleep. According to Sleep Foundation, it should take the average person 15-20 minutes to fall asleep. But if you find yourself tossing and turning for hours after hitting the hay, this reduces the amount of sleep you get and may leave you feeling stressed, irritable and exhausted in the morning – and that’s not how you want to start the day.

From the military sleep hack to brain tapping, there are so many sleep tricks that some people swear by and others have issues with. If nothing has worked for you so far, this new trick approved by NHS doctors is currently confusing and astounding people: the open eye sleep hack. So, what is it and does it actually work? Keep reading to find out.

What is the open eye sleep hack?

The open eye sleep hack that’s been promoted and approved by Dr Karan Raj and Dr Daisy Mae is where you lie in bed with your eyes open and tell yourself not to go to sleep. While this might sound counterintuitive, the act of forcing yourself to stay awake can actually help you fall asleep faster because of ‘paradoxical intention’.

Paradoxical intention is a cognitive technique that in the context of insomnia, attempts to remove the anxiety associated with not being able to sleep by telling yourself to stay awake. By doing this, you begin to remove this anxiety and by diverting your attention, you’re more likely to relax and fall asleep instead of worrying. Essentially, the open eye sleep hack is a way for you to trick yourself into falling asleep and by keeping your eyes open, the eyes muscles will eventually start to tire, making it easier to drift off.

It’s worth noting here that when doing the open eye sleep hack, you shouldn’t be doing anything else other than staying awake and repeating to yourself to do so. If you read a book, turn on the TV or scroll on your phone, this will make you stay awake for longer. This is mainly because you’re taking in blue light from screens and by doing a task, you’re engaging your brain too much so it doesn’t want to go to sleep.

TikTok sleep hack, sleep & wellness tips

(Image credit: cottonbro studio / Pexels)

Does the open eye sleep hack work?

Now for the big question: does it actually work? While hacks like this are recommended and approved by doctors and experts, it will depend on whether it will work for you or not, because everyone’s sleep habits are different. After Dr Raj’s TikTok video about the open eye sleep trick, it quickly went viral with many users saying that it works for them and others saying they weren’t too sure.

I’ve tried many different sleep hacks and nap tricks and even though I don’t tend to have too many issues with falling asleep, I thought I’d give the open eye trick a go when I was finding it difficult to drop off. Overall, the act of keeping your eyes open was very strange for me, as I’m more of a cognitive sleep shuffle fan where you close your eyes and think of random words to lull you to sleep.

But, my eyes did eventually get tired and naturally closed on their own. Repeating to myself not to go to sleep definitely cleared my mind and I found myself falling asleep without stressing or overthinking. In general, the open eye sleep hack does work for people, myself included, so if you’re getting frustrated that you can’t fall asleep, it’s definitely a trick worth trying.

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Home Editor

Beth is Home Editor for T3, looking after style, living and wellness. From the comfiest mattresses to what strange things you can cook in an air fryer, Beth covers sleep, yoga, smart home, coffee machines, grooming tools, fragrances, gardening and much more. If it's something that goes in your house, chances are Beth knows about it and has the latest reviews and recommendations! She's also in the know about the latest deals and discount codes from top brands and retailers.

Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory, TechRadar, CreativeBloq and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting craft projects that will probably end in disaster!