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To Sam

Checking the time

Dear Sam, I can never sleep at night and i worry about the time so I check it often. I have to do it on my phone though because 1) I have problems telling the time and analog time is harder 2) I don't have a clock in my room And 3) If I don't check it i get really worried for no reason Do you know what I could do about this? Thanks, Anonymous

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Lots of things can make it difficult to get to sleep, like stress, what you eat or being too hot or cold. Checking the time or worrying about not sleeping can make getting to sleep even harder as your mind can end up focusing too much on this and struggle to switch off.

It’s natural to sleep better some nights and to feel more restless at other times. It can help to turn off devices an hour before bed and try not to have a big meal or exercise a lot just before bed. You can also find more tips for a good night sleep here.

Some people find a bedtime routine helps them to wind down and get ready to sleep. Start by getting things ready for the morning, pack your bag, put your clothes out for the next day and write down anything important you need to remember.

Then set an alarm and put it somewhere you can hear but can’t see from your bed so you’re less tempted to look at the time. You could also ask someone to wake you up so you don’t need to worry about oversleeping, or set two alarms so you know one will definitely go off.

Remember, checking what time it is won’t help you to get to sleep and is probably adding to your stress. Think about all the times your alarm has worked and woken you up when needed. If you remember this it helps you to trust that it will go off and you don’t need to worry about what time it is.

If things don’t get better and sleep is worrying you or affecting how you feel it’s important to speak to an adult you trust or to your doctor. And Childline counsellors are here to support you with anything that’s bothering you. You can also speak to other young people who might be experiencing similar things on the Childline message boards.

Take care,


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