TikTok: How the ‘cricket feet’ hack can help you fall asleep

Next time you can’t fall asleep, you might want to try cricketing

Falling asleep can be a challenge for some, and there are all sorts of self-soothing techniques that claim they can help, from white noise machines to blackout curtain. But if these haven’t done the trick, you might want to try the latest viral TikTok hack: cricketing.

Not to be confused with the British sport, cricketing is when you rub your feet together in a repetitive rhythmic motion. Cricketing has become a viral phenomenon in recent weeks, with more than 99.3 billion views on the the platform.

“Engaging in such actions can be a self-soothing mechanism, similar to rocking or tapping,” explained Jennifer Worley, a licensed marriage and family therapist and clinical director of First Light Recovery, in Health.

Cricketing isn’t recognized in a clinical sense, noted the outlet, but it is recognized by healthcare professionals as an adequate self-soothing technique that can help you fall asleep.

“Physical movements, including this behavior, help relax the body when tired and stressed,” said Lee Phillips, LCSW, CSAC, a psychotherapist and certified sex and couples therapist. “It is interesting that half of the time, people do not even know they are aware they are doing it.”

Cricketing and other repetitive motions can reduce stress and anxiety while serving as an “emotional regulator” for those with neurodivergent disorders such as ADHD or autism. Cricketing can also be a sign of restless leg syndrome — a condition that 10% of the U.S. population suffers from.

While experts say there’s no harm in cricketing, the need for self-soothing to fall asleep may be a sign of deeper mental or emotional stresses.

“Everyone exists experiencing emotional and physical discomfort, but we differ in the ability to identify, cope, tolerate, and manage the impact of the stressors,” explained Sydelcis Mendez, MA, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist, in Well and Good. “If you find yourself using cricketing or other repetitive behaviors, know first and foremost that these behaviors likely developed initially as a protective response.”