Sleep, like healthy eating and exercise, is important for our minds and bodies to work at their best. Sleep affects our ability to learn, our skills, our memory, our health and our mood.
To maximise your health and well being, aim for about nine to ten hours of sleep every night.
Tips for a better nights sleep:
- Try and follow the same “sleep time” routine every night. For about the last hour before bed, do the same things each night to get ready – your brain will associate this routine with going to sleep.
- If you usually find yourself worrying about things as you try to go to sleep, write out a list of your worries at the beginning of your “sleep time” routine. It may also be helpful to find someone to talk to about your worries.
- Stay away from loud music, the computer and exercise for at least a couple of hours before going to bed.
- Have a relaxing soak in the bath with your favourite bubbles or oils. If you don’t have a bath, or really don’t have time for one, take a warm shower instead.
- A small drink of warm milk can help you to relax before bed – but stay away from tea, coffee, cola and any other drinks with caffeine at night.
- Make your bedroom feel as relaxing, safe and peaceful as you can. To add to the calm, try playing some quiet music and putting some lavender oil on a tissue under your pillow.
- Keep computers and televisions out of your bedroom and turn off your mobile at night.
- Keep your bed for rest and sleep. Try not to do your homework or any other work studies on your bed. If you don’t have a desk, find somewhere where you can create a quiet study area.
- When you lie down in your bed, try to relax the muscles in your body in stages. Start with your face. Tense all the muscles and hold for a couple of seconds and then relax. Move on to your neck and then move down – shoulders, arms, hands, stomach and so on. You might find that you fall asleep before you reach your feet.
- Don’t just ignore nightmares. If a nightmare wakes you up, you might find it helpful to write down what you remember and in the day find someone you can talk to and get some support.