Sleep is essential to your physical, emotional and mental wellbeing, however it often gets overlooked. When you don’t get enough sleep, it could begin have a negative impact on many areas of your life, for example:
It can affect the way you interact with your friends and family and make it difficult to maintain healthy relationships due to mood changes and feelings of irritability.
It can affect your concentration and it may be harder to retain information when learning and perform tasks to the best of your ability which could result in feelings of stress.
You’re more likely to feel down and lethargic which can stop you engaging with enjoyable and rewarding activities- Ongoing poor sleep can be a huge risk factor for the development of depression.
There is a close relationship between quality of sleep and our mental health. Lack of sleep can affect mental health, however mental health problems can also affect the quality of sleep we have and so it’s equally important to look and address both issues.
Here are a few helpful things to consider trying if you’re currently struggling with your sleep or wellbeing:
1. Sleep Schedule - Stick to regular sleep and wake times.
Going to bed and waking up at about the same time every day makes your body “prepared” to fall asleep and wake up when you need to. Teens- aim for 9 hours... You need more sleep than the average adult due to rapid changes in development at this time! If you stick to the new sleep routine, your body clock should naturally start to adjust to a new sleep schedule. Avoid napping throughout the day!
2. Create the right conditions for sleep.
People often sleep better when it is dark, cool in temperature, quiet and free from distractions and clutter.
Light suppresses melatonin (the naturally occurring hormone that helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythm and helps you drift off to sleep). Make your bedroom a relaxing environment, put away any stressors such as homework/paperwork that may make you feel worried, introduce some nice calming smells to help you relax.
3. Limit distractions and put down your devices
Devices such as mobiles and tablets expose us to artificial light (blue light). This light disrupts our circadian rhythms by mimicking sunlight. This then sends a signal to the brain to slow down the production of melatonin (which makes us feel sleepy). The screen and content on our devices are also visually exciting which makes us more alert- the advice is to put our phones and devices away where possible. Finish and put away any homework/tasks a few hours before going to bed.
Getting active and working out tires the body and releases tension which helps to promote a good night's sleep. Aim for 20-30 minutes exercise each day, however, do not do this too close to bedtime as the effects of adrenaline and endorphins may keep you awake! - Aim to limit exercise at least two to three hours before bed.
Ideas- Walking, yoga/pilates, light stretches, swimming, running, gym, bike riding…
5. Routine leading to bedtime & relaxation
Create a relaxing routine leading up to bedtime. Avoid eating large meals 2-3 hours before bed and also avoid consuming drinks containing caffeine (includes tea, coffee, cola, energy drinks, alcohol)- Caffeine is a stimulant that keeps you awake.. Consider activities such as a nice warm shower or bath and some wind down time to relax; limit screen time, consider journaling/write down your thoughts and worries, consider reading, listening to calming music, meditation, mindfulness or relaxation activities. Examples;
- - Deep breathing exercises
- -Body scan
- -Progressive muscle relaxation
If you would like further help and advice on this issue, please feel free to get in touch with us on 01642 505580.
Keep checking our socials for more tips on maintaining a positive wellbeing!
The teen sleep hub.