A good sleep at night helps you manage better during the day.
Did you know that around 90% of young people don’t get enough sleep?
Getting the right amount of sleep can make a massive difference to how you feel. 8 or 9 hours’ sleep a night means you can start the day with a brain that’s switched on and ready to go.
Not getting enough sleep, or over-sleeping, is often the first sign that things are not going well for us.
Tips on how to get a good night’s sleep:
- Aim to go to bed at the same time every day – your brain and body likes routine.
- Power down an hour before bed. Doing something calm and relaxing, and keeping out of bright light, tells our brain to start winding down.
- Lower the brightness on your phone and computer screens at night. Some phones have a night mode which is one way to do this.
- No screen time in bed. Screen time can interfere with your body’s natural sleep rhythm. It can also sometimes trick your body into thinking it’s daytime. Move devices into another room so you are not tempted.
- Wake up at the same time every day by setting an alarm (buy an alarm clock or ask someone to wake you). Tell your brain it’s time to wake up by turning on the light or opening curtains.
- Set up a sleepy room. For the best sleep, aim to have a quiet and dark room, that’s not too hot and not too cold. If you don’t have curtains, or can’t control noise levels, try covering your eyes with something and use ear plugs.
- Eat well. Avoid coffee, heavy meals, alcohol and smoking before bedtime.
- Get moving. Thirty minutes a day of physical activity can really make a difference.
- No nana naps. If you’re having major trouble sleeping, try not to nap during the day. If you find you need to nap, it’s ok but only for a short time (under an hour).
- Sleep in on the weekends if you need – tell people in your household ahead of time that you are catching up on sleep that you’ve missed out on during the week. This way they can support you to sleep in. But only for up to 2 hours more than your usual wake up time.
When those annoying thoughts keep you awake…
- Still can’t sleep? Get up. If you are lying in bed awake after 20–30 minutes of trying to sleep, don’t push it. Instead, leave your bed and do something – read, watch TV, etc… don’t try going back to bed until you are sleepy.
- Don’t watch the clock too much. Checking the time a lot during the night can wake you up and reinforces negative thoughts such as “oh no, I’m not going to get my 8 hours’ sleep!”
- Schedule a “worry break” into your day: worrying about the past or future are all unhelpful thoughts and feelings that can keep you from a good night’s sleep. Schedule in 20 minutes a day to write down all the things that worry you. Put them in a drawer or “worry jar”.
- Little details stressing you out? If you keep being woken up, worried you are going to forget something important the next day, write it down. The next time you start to wake, take comfort knowing “I’ve got it noted, I can fix it tomorrow”.
- Every time a big upcoming task keeps you up, remind yourself, “I have plenty of time to get lots of work on it tomorrow, the best thing now is to rest”.