Ask Sam letter


To Sam

I just can't seem to sleep

Erm hey,

Yeah well its almost been a week and I just can't seem to sleep or i'll get an hour if i'm lucky. It's not like I don't want to sleep I do try to and just end up watching the sun rise again. I have tried things that friends have suggested and nothing seems to make me fall asleep. It's really annoying because its the summer holidays and its meant to be a break from stress yet my lack of sleep is making me more stressed and down about everything than  ever. So if you have any suggestions that would be nice. Thanks.

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thanks for your letter. It sounds like your problems with sleeping are incredibly stressful for you. I imagine it’s been particularly frustrating that you’ve tried different ways to help yourself and they don’t seem to work. It’s great that you’ve written to me for help. It shows you’re concerned about your health and want to do something about it.

Sometimes the summer holidays can interfere with your normal sleeping pattern because of the change to your normal routine. You may be getting up later than you would if you were going to school, so your body isn’t as tired at bedtime. Your brain also gets used to sleeping at a particular time and it can get confused when you go to bed at a different time each night.

Feeling stressed about not sleeping makes it even harder to fall asleep, because your body will be totally unrelaxed. You can quickly get into a vicious cycle, exactly like you’ve described, where every time you go to bed you worry about not sleeping. The best thing to do is to try not to feel too worried about falling asleep, although I know that is easier said than done!

So maybe you could try a few things to get back into a regular pattern again.  It’s a good idea not to eat close to bedtime, or have energy drinks or drinks with caffeine like cola or coffee that keep you awake. I’m wondering if you are active during the day so that your body is tired? If not maybe you could do something active in the morning or afternoon.

If you feel like you are worrying about anything or just having too many thoughts in your head, you could try some relaxation techniques, listen to some music or read a good book while you’re in bed. The NHS have some tips on getting to sleep.

If you’re still having problems sleeping after trying these suggestions it would be a good idea to see your doctor. If you think you have got a lot on your mind you can always talk it through with one of our counsellors at Childline by calling 0800 1111 or by using our online chat or email.

Take care,


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