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Good sleeping habits

It’s important to establish a good routine and habits around sleeping and bedtime. In this article, we highlight helpful techniques to improve sleep.

Watch Dr Faith Orchard explain some of the processes involved in sleep, and how these can be affected when we’re feeling low.

Sleep is hugely important for both our physical and mental health, and teenagers in particular are vulnerable to sleeping difficulties, due to changes in their biology. During times of social isolation, you may have found your sleep habits have changed or become even more challenging.

Sleep tips

It’s important to establish a good routine and habits around sleeping and bedtime. As much as possible, go to sleep, wake up and get out of bed at the same times each day. It’s tempting to sleep in for much longer or stay up much later when we don’t need to go to school or be at other places. However, this will play havoc with your biological clock and can eventually make it much more difficult to get good sleep.

Another tip is to make sure your bedroom is associated with sleeping and not with being awake and active.

This might be difficult if you’re restricted to being at home, where you might be living closely with a number of family members. If you’re able to spend time in other parts of the house, try and treat your bedroom as an important sleep environment. If this isn’t possible, set up a comfy beanbag or blanket in your bedroom to help you avoid doing all of your activities in bed. We’ve highlighted a range of other helpful techniques that can improve sleep below.

An inforgraphic divided into square sections that list the following tips: Beds are made for sleeping: Avoid using your bed for anything but sleeping. Watch films, check your phone and so on somewhere else. Use a desk or table to do your homework, and if you can, in another room. Avoid bright lights: Give yourself a cut off to stop using any electronics (such as mobile phone, TV, tablet) before going to bed, for example, 30 minutes. Keep all your screens in a different room so you’re not tempted to look at them in bed. Prepare for sleep: Set up a relaxing bedtime routine and atmosphere for yourself. Hear are some tips: Have some ‘quiet time’ before going to bed Dim the lights Have a warm bath Read a book Listen to quiet music Use comfortable bedding Wear comfortable pyjamas. Set a good temperature in your room Avoid caffeine: Cut down on caffeine. Food and drink such as soft drinks, chocolate, coffee, tea contain large amounts of caffeine making it harder to sleep. Stay physically active: Exercise will encourage night-time sleepiness. You can combine your exposure to daylight with some daily exercise. For example: Pick a room that gets good daylight to exercise Follow an online exercise course Practice yoga in your garden Go for a cycle, walk or jog close to where you live. Getting up: Setting an alarm clock will encourage you to get up. Consider using a traditional alarm clock/radio alarm rather than relying on your phone alarm. Remember, you’re trying to avoid taking any mobile devices to bed with you. Distract yourself: If you find it difficult to fall asleep and/or you’re tossing and turning, try going to a different room to distract yourself for 15 minutes with a quiet activity (such as reading) before returning to bed. If you don’t fall asleep - repeat the process. Be OK with it: Try not to worry about sleeping well. Accept that it isn’t good at the moment, but you have lots of ideas for improvements. Reset your internal clock: Try and get as much daylight as you can. In the morning, draw back your curtains to let the natural light in. Daylight stimulates serotonin (a hormone that helps control your sleep and wake cycles) and helps to reset your internal clock.

This article draws on material from our Understanding Depression and Low Mood in Young People course, where we explore adolescent sleep and sleep intervention in more detail.

This article is from the free online

Helping Young People Manage Low Mood and Depression

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