New York Magazine discusses the counterintuitive—yet evidence-backed—power of sleep restriction therapy.

But sleep restriction, to put it mildly, is hard. Really, really hard. For insomniacs, resisting the pull of sleep when it blessedly, finally makes itself known goes against their every instinct. Ben Johnson, a librarian in Seattle, tried it for about four weeks in September, after a nine-month bout of chronic insomnia. By nature and by profession Johnson is a meticulous researcher, so he thought he knew what he was in for, yet it was still much more difficult than he expected. “The first week was hard, but then by week two the cool new factor of the whole thing had worn off. You know, This grand experiment! This will help me out! By the second week I was just sort of like, Well, this is helping, because I’m sleeping more soundly, but at the same time I was also like, Screw this, this is terrible,” Johnson said.