I tried TikTok’s favorite hypnosis technique for falling asleep fast — here’s what happened

A woman lies in bed looking peaceful and relaxed
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What is sleep hypnosis?

Guided sleep hypnosis instructs you to relax your body and mind so you can distract yourself from stressful thoughts and fall asleep. You can find sleep hypnosis videos on sites such as YouTube and TikTok, as well as specialist apps such as Calm.

I write about sleep for a living, but that doesn't mean I always find it easy to drift off. I'm frequently looking for new ways to improve my sleep habits, which is how I came across TikTok's latest wellness trend – sleep hypnosis.

If you see the words sleep hypnosis and picture a gently swaying pocket watch and a voice telling you you're about to get "very sleepy", then you might be skeptical about just how effective this technique can be. I was at first, and was pleasantly surprised to find TikTok hypnosis is calming sleep meditation, and not a circus trick.

TikTok sleep hypnosis also isn't hypnotherapy, a doctor-led therapeutic approach to severe sleep issues. Online sleep hypnosis is a type of guided meditation that encourages you to almost trick yourself into falling asleep by telling your brain and body you're becoming more tired.

I opted to use Hypnosis for Sleep by Anthony Serino, TikTok's hypnotist, a short video that has gained more than 2.6 million views on TikTok. I tried using it for a week in addition to my usual nighttime routine. Here's how it went...


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How to use sleep hypnosis

Anthony Serino's sleep hypnosis videos are available on TikTok for free, and they're easy to incorporate into a nighttime routine. It's best to get comfortable in bed before starting the video, as the intention of the meditation is to be asleep (or very close to it) by the end.

You can listen to the meditation through headphones or aloud, but keep in mind you want to be ready to drift off when the video ends. You don't need to actually watch the video (Anthony tells you to close your eyes at the start), so you can really settle into bed before pressing play.

The hypnosis video I've been using has a short runtime of just over five minutes, but Anthony has made longer sleep hypnosis videos for those who prefer a more in-depth hypnosis process.

What happened when I tried hypnosis for sleep

Night 1

I had quickly viewed the sleep hypnosis video during the day, so I knew to get ready for bed before properly settling into watch. My first hurdle came when I opened TikTok, prepared to head to my likes where I'd saved the sleep hypnosis guide, only to find myself sucked into my FYP instead. It took some harsh words, but I eventually got started with the hypnosis.

Anthony begins by instructing you to get comfortable and close your eyes. He advises that "you are the one to make this happen" and that it's a collaborative process. You get back what you put in, so if you think the video won't work, it won't work – there's no room for skepticism here. 

A woman sits on her white mattress practicing a guided sleep meditation to help her fall asleep faster

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Calming music plays in the background as Anthony slowly counts down from ten, encouraging the listener to focus on their body and on becoming relaxed. The video ends with Anthony quietly counting you down from three, and finishing with the word "sleep" at which point you "allow" yourself to fall sleep. This didn't happen for me, but I was feeling comfortable and relaxed. 

...And then the video started looping again. I had to take myself out of my drowsy state to switch off TikTok before once again getting myself comfortable in bed. While it didn't completely destroy my sleep-ready feel, it was annoying. And I have to admit, it was tempting to navigate away from the hypnosis video and towards my FYP, which would have woken me right back up.

Night 2

For night two I ditched the phone and decided to listen to the hypnosis from my laptop, which instantly improved the experience. I could get comfortable, press play, and then allow my laptop to quietly switch to standby after the video had ended.

Anthony guides you to imagine yourself going to an "even deeper level of relaxation", which I found much easier now that I didn't have to worry about turning my phone off. I was still awake when Anthony finished talking, but I was able to stay tucked up and was soon asleep.

Man asleep in bed, lying on his stomach

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Night 3

By night three the video felt well integrated in my routine and a good way to switch off when in bed. Again, I didn't have that sudden switch off sleep moment that I might have expected, but I was pleasantly drowsy when the video came to an end.

This also happened to be one of the hottest nights of the year, and even a soothing hypnosis video couldn't make me forget the uncomfortable warmth in my bedroom. After waking up in the night and tossing and turning for a while, I decided to give the video another go – and found it pretty effective. I wasn't entirely asleep, but I wasn't thinking about the heat anymore and it didn't take me much longer to drift off.

How does hypnosis for sleep work?

Sleep hypnosis works by helping you to focus on the idea of sleep, with an experienced practitioner guiding you in your relaxation. As the instructor talks, you're encouraged to notice your brain and body getting sleepier until you should be ready to close your eyes and switch off.

These calming videos should help prevent racing thoughts from keeping you awake. Instead of focusing on stress and worries that have a tendency to crowd the mind at night, you're guided to convince your brain and body that you're ready to fall asleep.

Online guided hypnosis is different to hypnotherapy, a type of therapy that encourages those with severe sleep issues to change negative patterns and approaches to rest. If you want to explore hypnotherapy for sleep, speak to your doctor about whether this is the right path for you.

A woman with dark hair lies in bed yawning because she is so tired and ready to sleep

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Alternatives to sleep hypnosis

If hypnosis doesn't appeal to you, there are alternative sleep methods that can help ease racing thoughts. Consider guided meditation for deep sleep, which our sleep editor found helped them drift off "relaxed and quiet of mind".

Alternatively, breathing methods for sleep can calm the body – and you don't need your phone to use them. The 4-7-8 breathing method is hugely popular, while moon breathing is an easy technique to pick up. Or you can combine deep breathing with meditation using the military sleep method.

While these hacks can help aid rest, they're best used in a supportive sleep environment. Make sure you have the best mattress and best pillow for your body type and sleep style, so you can make the most of these soothing wellness techniques.

Ruth Jones
Sleep staff Writer

Ruth Jones has recently joined the Tom's Guide team as a sleep staff writer, covering all things mattresses and sleep. Ruth previously worked as a sleep and mattress writer for our sister website TechRadar, and has a deep interest in sleep and how it affects our day to day wellbeing. Ruth is a self-confessed stomach sleeper with a penchant for medium-firm mattresses, and also loves a good eye mask for helping her to fall asleep easier at night.