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To Sam

scared to sleep

im too scared to sleep. every night when i go to sleep i get rlly upset and my breathing stops and i get a headache so now im to scared to sleep. ill keep myself awake for hours to avoid this feeling. but now am exhausted all day and school is hard and i dont know what to do

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Sleep is a really important part of feeling good - if you don't get enough sleep it can make it harder to have the energy to do things the next day and concentrate at school. If you aren’t getting enough sleep it can have long-term effects on your physical and mental health. Some problems with sleeping are psychological and can be helped with changes to your environment and routine. Sometimes there might be a medical problem which stops you sleeping.

From what you describe, one possible reason you could be struggling to sleep is sleep apnoea. This is a medical condition which affects your breathing while you sleep. It can cause things like headaches and tiredness. Only a doctor can tell you for sure that you have this, so try making an appointment with your GP to get this checked out.

Sometimes making changes to your environment can help you to sleep more peacefully. Getting the lighting, temperature and noise level right for you is important. This might not always mean dark, warm or quiet - some people sleep better with a window open, or a fan running. It might take some experimenting to find out what's best for you. Childline has some more top tips to make sleep easier.

Try to get into a routine before bedtime - sometimes having a bath or shower before bed can help you to relax and feel ready for sleep. Staying off social media and avoiding games, TV or films  that might make your brain keep working can help you feel calmer when you're trying to sleep. Some people find reading a book can help, whilst others prefer to listen to music or a podcast before bed. Some people like to keep those things playing whilst they fall asleep. Whatever you decide, try to make it a routine and stick to it every night.

Childline has lots of advice about getting to sleep, staying healthy and coping with stress and anxiety. You can also talk to a Childline counsellor online or on the phone, whenever you want to.

Thanks for writing to me, I hope this has helped.


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