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People Swear by the 'Drunken Monkey' Exercise for Better Sleep: 'You'll Sleep Better, I Promise'

This quick and simple bedtime exercise may help you sleep through the night.

If you struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep, you're likely always on the lookout for new relaxation techniques to add to your bedtime routine. You can count on social media to be a treasure trove of tried-and-true hacks, tips, and tricks. One of the latest nighttime trends people swear by is the "drunken monkey" exercise, which TikTokers claim can help you sleep like a baby. We linked up with Dorsey Standish, MS, a mechanical engineer, neuroscientist, wellness expert, and CEO of Mastermind Meditate, who shares everything you need to know about the trend—and if it lives up to the hype.

Read on to learn more, and when you're finished, be sure to check out I Tried 3 Pairs of Brooks Running Shoes & One Beats the Rest by a Mile.

What is the "drunken monkey" exercise?

The "drunken monkey" is a silly little exercise or "movement practice" that's meant to boost blood flow to your extremities, Standish explains. "It involves taking a wide-legged stance, shifting the hips back and forth, and moving the arms around in alternating circular motions," she adds. "[Managing Partner of USA Medical] Jake Crossman, who posted the movement to USA Medical's TikTok account, shares that he does the movements for about a minute before bed and can feel the tingling in his hips and shoulders."

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Crossman shares in the TikTok video, which received over 58K likes, "I started doing this one thing before bed, and now I'm sleeping better every single night. It's so stupid and easy, but I've been sleeping for the full night the last three nights."

He then walks viewers through the "drunken monkey." You'll assume a wide stance, then shift your weight from side to side while keeping your hips loose. Then, incorporate a full shoulder rotation into the mix. "I know it looks silly. And you do this for a minute, and then you speed it up. And seriously, after one minute, you're going to feel it in your shoulders and your hips. It hurts, but you'll sleep better, I promise."

One TikToker replied to the video and wrote, "​​I did yesterday and fell asleep faster as I recently had troubles with that. And I love dancing… It's true, thank you!" Another TikTok user shared, "Couldn't sleep last night due to restless legs… then I did this and [fell] right asleep. Coincidence or not?"

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How can the "drunken monkey" exercise help you sleep better?

woman sleeping peacefully

While people claim this bedtime technique really does improve their sleep hygiene, there's no scientific research linking it to better quality sleep or faster sleep onset. However, Standish points out, "There is evidence that gentle mindful movements such as stretching, yoga, or qigong can offer those benefits. Gentle movement before bed can relieve tension and tightness, promote healthy blood flow, and calm the nervous system to prepare the mind and body for sleep. So, if the drunken monkey practice doesn't work for you, you can also try a few minutes of evidence-based practices like stretching or yoga to help you get good quality sleep."

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa
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