News and Updates

The latest updates and tips from the Teen Sleep Hub

Sleep Better… Make the Swap!

Did you know that making some simple lifestyle swaps can help you to sleep better?

Watch what you drink: Cut back on energy drinks, coffee and cola and enjoy a herbal tea or glass of water instead. Fuelling yourself with energy drinks will make it harder to nod off. Caffeine can influence how long it takes you to fall asleep, how long you sleep for, and the quality of your sleep. Caffeine is also hidden in lots of products that we might associate with bedtime, such as hot chocolate. It’s best to avoid them in the evening before you go to sleep. Did you know that chamomile tea is known for its calming effects?

Turn it off:  Avoid the temptation to play on your phone all night by picking up a good book to read or listening to music which allows you to relax naturally and switch off from everyday stresses and worries. Screens at bedtime are bad for sleep. According to some research, using screens before you go to bed can double the length of time it takes you to fall asleep, as it suppresses the production of your sleep hormone, melatonin. Ditch your phone, tablet or games console in the hour leading up to your bedtime and do something else that you find relaxing.

Sleep in your bed… not study: The bed should be a place to relax, so consider doing school work somewhere else in the home. Revising from your bed may seem appealing but it’s no good for your posture or productivity. If you can’t do your schoolwork in another part of the house, zone areas of your bedroom for work, rest and play.  Keep the bed just for sleeping – it builds up a strong sleep association.

Sometimes bedtimes can just be too late: On average, you need around 8 to 9 hours sleep per night. It can be difficult to fall asleep in your teenage years as changes happen in the brain, meaning you produce the sleep hormone, melatonin, later at night meaning you don’t feel sleepy until later.  There are things you can do to help ease this shift, such as having a consistent routine. For something to become routine we need to repeat it a number of times and do the same thing at the same time each day. This will strengthen our body clock and help to aid a good night’s sleep.  Keeping a consistent bedtime and wake up routine will help.

Watch what you eat: You may be tempted to reach for a bag of crisps or a chocolate bar – which are full of sugar and fat –as a bedtime snack, but try to avoid the temptation. Instead, there are some foods that we can eat in the run up to bedtime to help promote sleep and encourage the body to produce melatonin. Snacks like low sugar cereal and milk, bananas, cherries and even cheese are all good healthier, sleepier choices.

You need to move yourself: Instead of sitting around gaming, make time for exercise – whatever you enjoy doing most.  Working out effectively gradually tires your body, promoting a better night’s sleep. Releasing pent -up tension through exercise is also highly beneficial, helping to reduce stress before bedtime. Exercising is also followed by a drop in your body’s temperature, which aids better sleep. Haul your bum off the sofa and away from gaming and the TV and make time for 30 minutes of exercise a day.

Don’t be afraid of the dark: Light interferes with – and works against – your natural body clock. It disrupts your circadian rhythms, keeping you alert and feeling less sleepy. Having a dimmed environment in the run up to and during sleep time helps aid better sleep. Keep your room as dark as possible to help increase the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin. Consider heavy-lined curtains, a blackout blind and even an eye mask to block out light!

Make the swap and sleep better.

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It really is that simple!

Problem Sleeping?

Call our National Sleep Helpline, open between 7pm and 9pm five days a week, Sunday to Thursday.

03303 530 541