World Sleep Day: 5 math tricks you can use to get your Zzzzs

On World Sleep Day, we round up some easy number-related tricks (apart from counting sheep) that will help you drift off into the world of nod.

World Sleep Day: 5 math tricks you can use to get your Zzzzs

Friday March 18, 2022,

5 min Read

The quandary of sleepless nights and constant screen or clock watching can get truly exasperating.

The past two years have not made things easy. Worries about personal and professional life have contributed to lack of sleep for many. In fact, there are plenty of research papers that have highlighted lack of sleep, and it’s a fact that the word ‘insomnia’ was Googled in the past two years more than it was ever before.

Now, we understand that it’s a challenge to immediately move from being an insomniac to getting a good night’s sleep overnight. However, there are a few ways that can help you, and they are math-related!

That’s right. Math-related.

Studies show that there are some tricks that involve numbers (besides counting sheep) that will help you drift off into the world of nod. On the occasion of World Sleep Day, we share some of these tips.

Unwind from 1,2,3… and start counting in digits of 3. The conventional approach seems too easy to distract your mind from any worries or thoughts before your bedtime. Dr Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist, found that counting backward from 300 makes the process so mathematically complicated that you can’t do anything else, and it’s so boring that you instantly fall asleep. So, forget 1,2,3… and start counting 300, 299,298… to fall asleep faster.


Calculate what’s in your bowl before bedtime. It is highly recommended to keep a gap of at least three hours between your meal and bedtime. Besides, the fun here lies in using math ratios, percentages, fractions, and pie charts to consider what constitutes a healthy portion of a meal before bed. For example, if you consume 300 calories in your meal on an average, then your plate would constitute one chapati (71 calories), 1/4th portion of rice (~58 calories), a leafy vegetable (calories differ), and one small bowl of dal (~159 calories).

Remember, unhealthy eating habits like overeating or starving (or having a midnight snack) can impact your sleep schedule. A quick tip would be to work out a nutrition-rich diet to help your body get enough sleep.

An eight-hour sleep can help you get better grades. With an increasing sleep-deprived population, it is becoming normal to sleep less, sleep for a longer stretch, or pull all-nighters. But, do you know students who sleep better are found to develop more cognitive ability that enhances their performance academically. As a result, they score better. Now, you do the math. Follow that eight-hour sleep metric to better your grades.

Solve the sleep quality equation to unveil the secret to better sleep. Yes, you read that right! There’s an equation that assesses the quality of your sleep:

Sleep Quality = [(T x Bt) + C] / [Ha + S + L + (H x D)]

The score is measured between 0-2. A score of two is a great night’s sleep, one is average, and zero is tossing and turning all night.

Here’s what the expressions in the equation stand for:

T = Tiredness = Number of hours since you last slept – hours of naps you’ve taken since then + hours you have worked/exercised during the day

Bt = Bedtime = Per day’s bedtime/Overall average bedtime on a regular basis

C = Comfort = Comfort of pillow + comfort of bedding + comfort of mattress – 9

Each one is rated from 1-5, with 5 being very comfortable

Ha = Hours Awake During the Day = Total amount of time you were awake for before you fell asleep

S = Sound = Rate the noise within the room during your sleep on a scale of 0-5, with 0 being soft soothing noises and 5 being loud disturbances

L = Light = Rate the light within the room on a scale of 0-2, 0.1 would be little light and 2 would be very bright lights

H = Heat in Celsius = Temperature of the room, which is calculated by the number of degrees difference from 16 degree celcius. Take that number and divide it by 10

D = Duvet = Measured in relation to its effectiveness with the room temperature, on a 0-3’s scale. 0 means perfect for the overall room temp. 3 means that it does not compensate well and can leave you either too cold or too hot.

Use the BODMAS rule to diffuse the order of equation and identify what needs to be improved in your sleep cycle to improve the quality of your sleep.

Be a 90 degree/180 degree Sleeper. Last but not least, the most recommended sleep position is to be a back sleeper or a side sleeper. Avoid curled-up sleep positions for they might trigger body aches.

Math out these tricks on your way to sleeping peacefully and effectively. Remember, investing in a consistent and healthy sleep routine will facilitate your cognitive and physical health, and as a result, MAKE YOUR DAY!

Manan Khurma is Founder and Chairman, Cuemath.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

Edited by Teja Lele