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Self-help program

4. Worry time

With insomnia comes the tendency to toss and turn in bed, worrying and stewing over things.

The worry time technique is perfect for such situations. It involves scheduling a time during the day that is devoted to worrying.

Your worry time should happen at the same time every day.

How can practising help?

The technique can help you to change the way you think about insomnia:



Physical sensations


Exercise: Worry time


Rather than worrying about things throughout the day, learn to set aside a specific time of the day to worry about everything that is troubling you. 


For a period of one week, set aside between 15 and 30 minutes each day to work through your worries. Make sure that your worry time is not too close to your bedtime.

As anxious thoughts arise during the day or at night, write them down on a piece of paper. Resist the urge to think about your worries at that moment. Save them instead until your worry time.

Spend your worry time addressing each of the worries that has troubled you in the previous 24 hours. You can develop your own technique or use the questions below to guide you:

  • What if the issue is not resolved?
  • What happens then?
  • What does that mean to me? What does it tell me about the situation?


Worry: “I will never get to sleep”.

What if the issue is not resolved?: “I will not get my work done or I will not perform as well as I should and will be told off.”

What happens then?: “I will no longer be considered a good employee.”

What does that mean to me and what does it tell me about the situation?: “I value good sleep and I value my work, and I am a conscientious person. I can be a little black and white in my thinking.”

What worries should I try to accept?: “I will try to accept the fact that I cannot fully control whether or not I get a good night’s sleep.”