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Tics and their triggers

Every person is different and there will be triggers for tics which are specific to each person. Research does shows that there some things we are exposed to that can make tics worse.

These include:

Stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety impacts tics the most. When we are stressed, it can cause muscle tension which can then disrupt nerve energy and body signals. If you, or someone around you, is having tics there is nothing wrong with this and there is no reason for you, or them, to feel ashamed.

Click here if you would like more information on anxiety.

Tiredness and lack of sleep

If you have tics, you might experience sleep problems such as difficulty falling asleep, frequent waking at night, difficulty getting back to sleep and an increase in non-tic movements such as tossing and turning in bed.

Click here if you would like some tips on improving your sleep.

Lack of exercise

Physical activities are a fantastic way to improve your mood, improve your health, reduce your stress levels, and have fun.

Click here if you would like more information on exercise and its benefits.


Feeling bored can make tics worse. You can help with boredom by doing something fun that exercises your brain in the process; exercising your brain is as important as exercising your body!

Here are some examples of ways you can exercise your brain:

  • Socialising with friends
  • Reading a book
  • Completing a puzzle
  • Playing a game
  • Learning something new (such as learning to play a certain instrument

Fun fact, did you know tics are often most prominent when watching television?

Poor diet

Although there is no medical evidence to suggest that a particular diet is better suited to people with tics, many young people with tics say that their tics worsen when they eat food that contains additives and artificial colourings.

Click here if you would like more information on a healthy diet.

How to get help

If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your school nurse.

Cross Hatch

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Find out what services are available to you in your area. Remember your school nurse is always there to give you confidential help and support.

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