How can I quickly get my sleep back to normal? Kick-start that sleep schedule.

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Not sleeping well?  Feeling tired when you shouldn’t and awake when you’re trying to sleep?

Here’s some quick steps that work.

In the 1970’s a Professor Richard Bootzin developed six steps to get people with sleeping disorders sleeping normally.  These steps work great for anyone wanting to ‘recondition’ their sleeping back to normal. The six steps are:

  1. Only go to bed when you are tired.  Even is this means staying awake until late.
  2. Only use the bed for sleeping or sex.  Do not read, watch TV, work, think, whatever.
  3. If you’re not asleep within about 20 minutes of going to bed get up and go to another room and do something (that doesn’t involve looking at a screen, phone, tablet or TV).  Wait until you feel tired again then, have another go.
  4. Repeat step 1 – 3 until you fall asleep (keep going, it will happen!)
  5. Get up at the same time every day.  Use an alarm. Do not snooze or lie in.  Do this no matter how little sleep you may have had.
  6. Do not nap.  Ever.

That’s it.  This might mean you’re pretty shattered for a few days and it might take some getting used to.  It’s well worth it though. This will work.


If you want some more in-depth blogs on why not to look at screens or why not to use an alarm, explore our longer blogs here.

Written by
Sam Billington

Sam is our sleep guru. I am fascinated by sleep and I've used my science training to research and learn about sleep. I have been providing sleep advice and personal sleep plans for years. My day job is Head of Workplace Culture in Defra, I live in London with my wife and have a PhD in Ecology and Biology.