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Sleep Series Part 2: The Clock

Do you have a clock in your bedroom? Chances are you do and you can see it from your bed when you roll over in the middle of the night. If you are generally a good sleeper this comes in handy, right? You wake up, hope it’s not time to get up, and check the clock. It reads 1:00 a.m. and you are ecstatic that you have 5 more hours of delicious sleep ahead of you. Clocks can help us regulate our sleep schedules and provide piece of mind that we won’t be late for that early morning meeting or appointment.

Sleep Anxiety

If you are having difficulty sleeping, however, and are waking periodically throughout the night, your clock may actually be exacerbating your sleep troubles. In this case, the moment that you look at the time, your mind starts racing: “it’s only been 20 minutes since the last time I woke,” “why do I always wake at 3 a.m.?, “if I get to sleep in 30 minutes, that means I will get 2 more hours of sleep when I really need 3.” Sleep anxiety (i.e., anxiety about falling and/or staying asleep) can make it more difficult to settle and return to sleep. Watching the minutes tick by can increase worry and feelings of frustration.

Tip

*Cover the face of your clock or turn it away from your bed. It doesn’t matter what time it is-all you need to know is that the alarm is set and if it hasn’t gone off, it is not time to get up.