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To Sam

Can’t sleep

Hello sam,

Ever since I went back to school, I find it very hard to sleep. The first day I only got to sleep at 3 am and cried a lot. Recently I have been feeling very down and I feel so anxious about going to bed/sleeping every night.

I really dont like this and I dont know where I can go to find help for it.


Ask Sam


Hi there

Whether it's a change in routine or feelings of stress, anxiety or depression, it can all affect your sleep. Not sleeping can make you feel tearful, upset or irritable, and tiredness can make everyday things seem harder to deal with. So getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis can improve your mood and help you cope with day to day stresses.

Having a bedtime routine can help your sleep pattern. Try going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time in the morning, even at weekends. Writing a next-day checklist before bed can also be useful, and being organised can help you to relax and switch off.

You could also try getting everything you need ready for the morning - things like choosing your clothes and packing your school bag. If you're still worried, how about sleeping with a book and pen next to your bed? That way, you can write down anything you’ve forgotten or that’s worrying you if you wake up in the night. Knowing that you won’t forget anything important should help you get to sleep.

Wind-down time before bed is important too. It's easy to get distracted by messages or notifications on your phone, so putting your devices away helps. Avoiding exercise and eating before bed can also make you feel calm. Once you’ve done everything you need to, try spending half an hour doing something relaxing that you enjoy.

How much sleep you need varies from person to person, so try different bedtimes, but aim for between 8 and 10 hours sleep a night.  Start by deciding what time you need to get up in the morning then set your bedtime 10 hours before that. It’s also good to go to bed when you feel tired. At first, this might mean that you're still going to bed late, but if you gradually start bringing your bedtime forward by 10 or 15 minutes each night, you'll soon get to the best time for you.

It’s okay to get out of bed for a short time if you can’t get to sleep. When that happens, you can do something relaxing or write down what’s on your mind to let go of any worries. But try to keep bedtime for sleeping, relaxing and meditation.

It’s often hard to get back into a healthy routine after holidays, and lockdown has been hard, but stick with it and you should start to notice the difference in a few weeks. If things don’t improve after a week or two or you’re finding things especially tough, then try talking to your doctor about the problems you’re having. As well as that, you can always speak to one of our counsellors. They're always here to listen, or you can get support and advice from the online community on our message boards.

I hope my advice helps. Take care,


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