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Insomnia and anxiety creep up again. You toss and turn, look at the clock and see it’s been 2 hours since you first got into bed.

How many times have you woken up in the middle of the night only to realize it’s too early to get up, and you start doing the math – if you don’t go back to sleep, you’ll only get ‘x’ number of hours of sleep?

Have you looked at the clock and said “OK! Time for bed, it’s 11pm and I need 8 hours!”, forcing yourself to try and sleep even when you’re not tired?

Insomnia and Anxiety

I call this sleep math. You start stressing when you think of the number of hours you have left to sleep, so you stay awake and ruminate how time is passing by. You fear you won’t sleep, so then you don’t sleep. Insomnia and anxiety meet again.

I have a super simple solution to that problem – don’t look at your clocks so you can’t do sleep math. Avoid looking at them like the plague.

To this day, I still don’t look at the time. Once 10pm hits, that’s it for me. I fall asleep when I’m tired, and that’s what matters.

Here’s a few pointers

  • Set your alarm early in the evening (after dinner) so you don’t have to look at your alarm clock right before you go to bed.
  • If you use an alarm clock, turn it away from your view.
  • If you use your phone for an alarm, face the screen down so if your screen happens to flash, you won’t see the time.  Always put it on night mode or silent.

I’ve even been able to look at my phone briefly by covering part of it with my hand so I won’t see the time.

A major things with insomnia is feeling like you should be asleep, or you shouldn’t be awake at this time.

Once you start going to bed only when you’re tired, you’ll start training your brain that your bed equals sleep. I’ve also written about getting out of bed, which also re-trains your brain. 

If you happen to fall asleep later than what you want, that’s okay. You’ve survived worse.