How to stop watching clock at night.

I have a bad habit of looking at the clock when I’m in bed, and worry if I’m not asleep in 10-20 minutes. I’ve tried turning the clock over, but I still look at it. How do I stop?

Move the clock to where you can’t see it from bed. Use an alarm to know when it’s time to get up.

That advice came from my sleep doctor.

I tried that. I still look at it.

If you can’t see it, how are you looking at it? Do you get out of bed to look at it?

My alarm is my cellphone. It’s switched off, so I can stare at it till the cows come home and all I’ll see is “black”. Neither particularly interesting, nor terribly informative; it definitely doesn’t tell me how long has it been since the last time I looked in the direction of the bedside table.



The issue is not the clock.

You are obsessing. If there was no clock within a hundred miles you would just obsess about something else.

Thinking about “What to do about the clock?” ignores what is really go on. Take one step back and get some help about stopping obsessions.

You’d say I have more of an anxiety problem than a sleeping problem?

Maybe just a habit, but they are hard to break. Maybe a deeper issue.
I used to do that. Discovered a case of depression with the help of an excellent psychiatrist.
Not that I went to her for my clock watching habit alone.
If you are having trouble sleeping please don’t go the general practitioner for a sleeping pill Rx.
Therapy can be beneficial.

You did say that you “worry if I’m not asleep in 10-20 minutes”.

Maybe you could try putting on some music or a podcast. That way you concentrate on it instead. Find something you don’t dislike, but also won’t end up staying awake to listen to it. Keep the volume low enough that once you fall asleep it won’t wake you back up.

Have you tried closing your eyes?

Alcohol. Select your spirit of choice and every time you look at the clock, do a shot. Repeat as needed.

This might make waking up difficult.

There are a whole lot of guided meditation/sleep videos on youtube. You could try listening to one of those.

When I am having difficulty falling asleep and tempted to watch the clock, I tell myself that even if I am not sleeping, I am in bed and resting. That usually helps me relax enough to fall asleep. Otherwise, I go out to the living room and read something just a little on the dry side for 20 minutes and that will usually get me drowsy again.

Moderator Action

I think the OP needs more advice and opinions than just sharing, plus possibly some medical or mental health advice regarding anxiety and sleep issues. So let’s move this to IMHO (from MPSIMS).


I have pretty severe insomnia sometimes, my mind races and I watch the clock. I discovered that if I put on a podcast either on stereo or headphones, I can be asleep i a couple of minutes.

I used to go to bed at 10:30, but last year, I started going to bed at 9:30. Am I just going to bed too early?

This happens to me when I’m agitated and my mind is working. I try to sleep, and I can’t sleep. Eventually I get angry about the fact that I can’t sleep. Then I’m dwelling on how much my day is going to suck and I’m calculating how many hours I might get if I could only sleep RIGHT NOW. It sucks.

I agree that watching the clock is the symptom rather than the cause. When I can’t sleep, it is almost always because I’m anxious or agitated about something. You might want to try deliberately ‘shutting down’ as a process rather than just jumping in bed. Eat something warm and filling, turn down the lights, read a boring book, and DON’T look at your phone or internet. I go to sleep faster when I manage it in stages.

I also often use the mental equivalent of ‘counting sheep.’ This is going to sound stupid, but I try to recall step-by-step the plot of a movie or my favorite video game. It’s very boring but that’s the point. I usually wink out pretty quickly. You can also try breathing exercises to calm your mind if you are agitated.

Sounds pretty early to me. What time do you get up?


I have done this on a few occasions, in the particular case that I went to bed very late and had to get up super early. I’d be thinking, “oh no, I better fall asleep or I will only have 5 hours of sleep tomorrow!” And pretty soon it’s down to 4 hours… etc.

The best way to avoid this, I find, is to just think about something else. Force yourself to think about something particular, but if you get sidetracked by anything OTHER than wondering about the time, let your mind take you on a journey. But don’t think about the time! It might feel forced at first, and you WILL think about the time, but just concentrate on other stuff that you’re genuinely interested in.

If I’m not asleep in 10-20 minutes, I take a sleep formula. I’m worried that I’ll go through withdrawals if I stop taking it.