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Self-help program

11. The 15-minute rule (SOS)

Getting out of bed if you cannot sleep is one of the most effective strategies to address insomnia.

Insomnia often creates an association of bed with frustration and worry. The 15-minute rule is designed to help the mind to associate bed with sleep and reduce the feelings of frustration that can often come with insomnia.

How can practising help?

The 15-minute rule alleviates insomnia through action.




Physical sensations

The 15-minute rule

The 15-minute rule is simple: If after 15 minutes you are not asleep, get out of bed. This may seem counterintuitive, annoying or even scary.

The right time to get out of bed is usually the moment when you realize that you cannot sleep and start to feel frustrated about it. Do not get back into bed until you feel sleepy.

If you still cannot sleep, get out of bed again. Prepare an alternative relaxation spot, such as a comfortable chair or a sofa, before you go to bed.

Once you are up, try to find a relaxing, low-impact activity. We have listed some suggestions below. Choose an activity that appeals to you.

Exercise: Getting out of bed and engaging in a sleep-friendly activity


Identify sleep-friendly activities for when you get out of bed following the 15-minute rule.


Try the following relaxing, low-impact activities to find one that suits you. Make a plan and stick to it.

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Something else you can do, what?

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