Did you catch Netflix’s latest hit, Fool Me Once? With a staggering 37 million views since its January 1st release, it’s now a top 10 show in 91 countries.
But here’s the catch: after the adrenaline rush, how do you wind down for a good night’s sleep?
MattressNextDay’s CEO and sleep expert, Martin Seeley, shares his top seven tips before explaining why people are likely to struggle to sleep after binge-watching the series.
1. Talk about the plot and rationalise
There’s a reason for the phrase: a problem shared is a problem halved. After you’ve finished your final episode and before you plan on going to bed, speak to your partner about it or text someone else who is watching it. Not only does this let out those built-up emotions, but rationalising the events and discussing plot twists can help put your mind at ease, distinguishing fiction from reality.
2. Make sure to finish watching TV at least an hour before bedtime
When watching a thriller such as Fool Me Once, it’s incredibly important to be smart about the timing. Make sure to finish your last episode of the night at least an hour before you plan on going to sleep. This way, your mind has enough time to wind down from the intense scenes, making it easier to drift off to sleep.
Staying clear of a TV screen in your final hour of the day will also help regulate your body clock, otherwise known as your circadian rhythm. This is because the blue light emitted from the TV screen suppresses the production of melatonin, otherwise known as the sleep hormone, therefore making it harder to fall asleep.
3. Watch Michelle Keegan in a comedy
To shift from the intensity of a thriller to a more relaxed state, opt for something lighter. Start watching Brassic, a comedy that also features Michelle Keegan, as laughing out loud releases endorphins, which can help fight off stress and promote a positive mood. There are also physical benefits; laughter can relieve physical tension and relax the muscles for up to 45 minutes afterwards. This makes comedy the perfect way to sleep post-Fool Me Once.
4. Lightly brush your skin with a feather
While this may seem odd, it’s a real thing, otherwise known as knismesis tickle therapy, and is aimed to release physical and emotional tension, promote relaxation, and soothe the mind and body – all through touch. While a person’s response to sensory stimuli can vary, it’s worth trying due to how easy it is to do.
Simply brush your skin lightly with a feather and see if it reduces tension in your body. You may feel a weirdly calming sensation that helps shift your focus away from the plot of the thriller. It may even be a good technique to carry out while watching a thriller, as it can distract you from any sudden scenes that make you jolt.
5. Make yourself a cup of sleepy tea
Many variations of tea, such as back tea, green tea, chamomile, and lavender, have all been found to contain active ingredients that not only boost relaxation but reduce stress, therefore making it easier to drift off at night. This is because the relaxing effects help activate pathways in the brain that make it easier to fall asleep while breaking the cycle of stress and poor sleep.
6. Listen to a sleep podcast
Listening to a guided storytelling podcast after watching a thriller can be a helpful way to wind down and transition to a more relaxed state before sleep. This is because sleep-focused podcasts, such as those featuring bedtime stories, guided meditations, and soothing narratives, are all designed specifically to promote relaxation before bed. Depending on your preference for podcasts, they each have calming elements, such as soft melodies, gentle narrations, or calming meditative instructions, each of which will help you wind down and reduce your stress levels.
7. Tense your toes for 10 seconds
If you’re lying in bed and still struggling to sleep, this easy but effective move should do the trick. Known as progressive muscle relaxation (PMR), it’s a well-established method that can relax your muscles, reduce stress, and promote relaxation. All you need to do is squeeze your toes, count to ten, and then let go. Repeat this a couple of times to feel the effect.
Why do people struggle to sleep after watching “Fool Me Once”?
Martin Seeley, the CEO and sleep expert at MattressNextDay, said: “People often struggle to sleep after watching a thriller due to the psychological effect of the TV show. Thrillers and scary movies are created with the intention of triggering your body’s “fight or flight” response. However, the unfortunate outcome is that it also increases your body’s cortisol levels, which are known as the stress hormone. Naturally, this heightened state of stress – and sometimes even adrenaline – can make it difficult for the body to transition to the relaxed state required for sleep. I’d, therefore, recommend spending an hour before bed focusing on relaxation techniques that lower your cortisol levels.”