How to Improve Your Sleep Habits

Most of us will have problems with our sleep at some point in our lives so it is important to have strategies in place to help us sleep better.

‘Sleep hygiene’ refers to the healthy habits that you can practice; helping you have a good night’s sleep. Different strategies will work for different people so try these and see if you feel less tired.

  1. Routine – Setting a regular sleep/wake time has been shown to be one of the most beneficial things you can do for your sleep. We are all different so need different amounts of sleep. On average 11–16-year-olds are recommended to get 8-10 hours of sleep a night, therefore if you need to wake up at 7am you should try to fall asleep between 9-11pm. If you wake up still feeling tired, try to go to sleep 15 minutes earlier.
  2. Movement – Try adding some more movement to your day, this could be going for a walk, dancing around your room, or playing a sport. Be careful not to be too active before going to bed as this can prevent you from falling asleep.
  3. Environment – In general, a cool, dark and quiet environment helps people to fall asleep fastest.
  4. Screens – Melatonin helps us to feel sleepy, if we do not produce as much, we do not feel as sleepy, and our sleep is of poor quality. When we are exposed to artificial light our body does not produce as much melatonin. Try to stay away from all electronic devices an hour before sleeping and dim all lights. Instead, choose to do something relaxing like listening to soft music, reading a book or listening to a sleep story. If you choose to still go on your phone or electronic device, reduce the brightness.
  5. Relaxation – Try to do relaxing activities before bed such as meditation or mindfulness. You could also try these relaxation tips for sleep.


Where to go for help:

If you are struggling with your sleep, you can talk to your School Nurse or to your GP. The NHS Better Health Website also has some more support to help you sleep better.