Getting enough sleep is important for keeping our bodies and minds healthy. This is really important for teenagers. Sleep is a really important part of all the changes taking place in the body and the especailly the amazing teenage brain…
Most of us don’t get enough sleep…
The pandemic and lockdown haven’t helped! Sleep can be affected by worries and the lack of routine (no need to get up early for school / work) has affected the sleep patterns of many people.
Going back to school means getting back to usual sleep routine… and that might take a bit of work… Try out this fab advice from our friends at Hunrosa! www.hunrosa.co.uk @hunrosasleep
The fab childline website has loads of advice and info about sleep, goig to school and more.
From Team Sleep Hub... Do you feel the need to be in touch with your friends all the time? Worried about missing out? You’re not the only one to feel like that BUT it’s really important you understand that it’s equally important to give your brain to ‘switch off’.Screen activity too close to bedtime interferes with your sleep, making it harder to fall asleep and leaving you looking less than fresh the next day– not a good look for that morning Instagram post!
ONE - Light and Dark
For the first two thirds of the day get plenty of bright light. Then reduce the lighting and light from screens.
Try to not use screens in the hour before bed.
Get outdoors, fresh air and walking or exercise will help. Vitamin D from sunlight is important for sleep.
If you are indoors, spend some time looking out of the window, the sun is brighter than any lamp in your house, even on a grey day!
TWO - Sensory
If we are worrying feeling stressed our senses are on high alert and this can affect our sleep. Plan and do something before you go to bed which will help you feel calmer:
- Have a bath
- Wear a cuddly jumper
- Do some stretching exercise
- Read a book (a proper book with pages, not on a screen!)
- Do a jigsaw!
You could also switch off notifications on your devices to give yourself ‘down time’ during the day.
THREE - Routine
Stick to a bedtime routine and a structure to your day.
If your routine has changed during lockdown and you have been having a later wake up time check out the Getting back to a routine tips (link anchor)
Eat and drink at regular times. Avoid caffeine after 4pm (even better after 12pm) and be aware that it can be found in chocolate and energy drinks.
Make to do lists to remove worries at bedtime. Avoid using social media before bedtime. Prioritise relaxation and sleep.
Four - Keeping Calm
If you are feeling anxious, plan some time for breathing exercises or yoga.
Check out this terrific yoga sleep sequence kindly shared by our fab colleague and yoga teacher, Suzanne (PW = feelingsleepy) Thanks Suzanne!
There are many apps or websites such as Calm or Headspace with specific exercises to follow. Try the app 'Moshi Twilight' as it has great bedtime stories.
Aim to have an hour of relaxation before bed, whilst ensuring you stick with the same bedtime each night. Make sure you go to sleep when you’re feeling tired.
The only way to fix not being sleepy is to stay awake. If you can’t sleep, even with your relaxation app, get up and do something absorbing but with no purpose, boring even.
If you think you may wake in the night, place a book on your favourite chair ready to read if you wake.
Five - Everyone’s Different
Everyone is different and every night’s sleep is different. For adults usually 7 to 10 hours sleep is regarded as acceptable. For school aged children anything between 7
and 12 hours sleep is fine, for teens between 7 and 11 hours. If you don’t feel sleepy during the day then you're probably getting the right amount of sleep.
Once you are falling asleep within 30 minutes of your usual bedtime, aim to go to bed 15 minutes earlier and wake 15 minutes earlier each day. Take it gradually.
- If you’re finding it difficult to fall asleep at bedtime, don’t try moving bedtime earlier: move the bedtime earlier once falling to sleep within 30 minutes. Go to bed when you feel tired enough.
- Wind down - Gradually slow down at least an hour before bedtime. Do not go to bed until the body feels it is time to sleep. Exercise in the morning if you can.
- Relax - There are many mindfulness apps or relaxation tips online. Put the day to rest - write down concerns during the day and plan how to tackle them.
- Avoid using your devices 1 hour before bedtime. Turn off notifications or even better turn it off. Avoid caffeine drinks, especially in the evenings.
- If possible, your bedroom should be a cool, quiet, dark environment, clutter free and calm.
- Light sets the biological clock. Get outside and into the daylight.
Napping in the day will make it harder to fall asleep at night.
The Teen Sleep Hub
The Teen Sleep Hub - Top Tips!
Here are some top tips if you are struggling with your sleep.
Nobody’s sleep needs are exactly the same!
Don’t compare your sleep needs to those of your friends. One size doesn’t fit all! Having a plan that works for you is more important than having one plan fits all approach.
Don’t be afraid of the dark
When it is dark, you produce a hormone called melatonin and this helps you to fall asleep. Dim the lights in the hour before bed to help produce melatonin.
Limit screen time in the run up to bedtime. Ideally, avoid using screens in the hour before bed as this can interfere with the body’s natural production of the hormone melatonin, which is important for sleep! Also the activities you do on these devices that keeps you awake and alert at the wrong end of the day.
Wind it down
A bedtime routine is not just for kids! Having a consistent wind down sleep schedule relaxes you before bed and helps with feelings of sleepiness.
Keep your internal body clock on track by waking up at the same time every day - including the weekends! This will help to support your circadian rhythm, meaning waking up is easier.