Wednesday, June 05, 2013

How to get into a good sleep routine

My first post is all about sleep. Sleep is very important, no matter what age you are. Everyone needs a good amount of sleep in order for their brain to function normally and efficiently. Little sleep can cause you to become tired, stressed, lethargic, lazy, and moody. It can and most likely will affect your day to day living, especially school work, hence why a good sleep routine for teenagers is very important.

Why do we need sleep? What's so important?

Everybody needs sleep, full stop. You couldn't live without it, literally! I'm sure you know when you've had "a bad night's sleep", you're generally grouchy and tired all day long, all you long to do is climb into your comfy bed and nod off for hours on end. Mostly all teenagers will hear their parents moan about you not getting enough sleep, staying up until the early hours of the morning, only to be late getting up for school. Don't get me wrong, some people including teenagers can genuinely have a sleeping problem called Insomnia where they find it mentally and physically impossible to fall asleep, no matter how tired they are.

Sleep is seen as the body healing itself from a long, hard, stressful day. You should wake up feeling less stressed than when you went to sleep. You may still be tired, but you throughout the day you should find you have more energy to carry out daily tasks. Everyday is different, every sleep is different, so it's hard to tell what your morning is going to be like. But this doesn't mean you can blame it on that alone, it is also to do with your routine of sleep, and how much sleep you get. 
Does this look familiar to you? Unable to stay awake during class? Your sleep pattern may not be right for you, and you'll most likely need to "train" your brain to get into a habit of sleeping.

 For example; if you get roughly 8 hours sleep every night and you wake up around the same time every morning, you will most likely find it easier to get up, and you should feel more awake when you wake up. But if you get a variety of sleep every night, say one night you sleep 4 hours, the next you sleep 6, the next you sleep 5, you will notice your body cannot find a pattern to settle into. You might wake up easy on certain days, usually when you get less sleep, this doesn't mean you've had enough sleep, it means your body isn't used to the pattern and hasn't fully fell into a deep sleep whilst you were sleeping. So you might feel wide awake for a few hours, but you'll most likely crash and feel tired and weak the next few hours.

How do I get into a "sleep routine"?

Your sleep routine is personal to you, it will most likely vary from your friends as we are all different and our sleep needs vary. Firstly, you need to study yourself and get to know how your body works. You may have to experiment with different amounts of sleep for a few nights to see how well your body copes everyday. Once you know how much is enough for you, then you will find it easier to slip into a routine. 

Sunday night; you have school in the morning and you need to be up by 7am. For the first night, you could choose to get 6 hours sleep, meaning you'll go to sleep by 1am. When you wake up, note down how you feel as soon as you wake up, and just before you leave for school. Then note down how you felt throughout the day energy wise when you get home.

Monday night; you will increase your sleep to 7 hours, meaning you'll go to sleep by 12am. You will repeat the note taking process throughout the day.

Tuesday night; you will increase your sleep to 8 hours meaning you'll go to sleep by 11pm. You will repeat the note taking process throughout the day.

Wednesday night; you will increase your sleep to 9 hours meaning you'll go to sleep by 10pm. You will repeat the note taking process throughout the day.

Thursday night; you will increase your sleep to 10 hours meaning you'll go to sleep by 9pm. You will repeat the note taking process throughout the day. 

Once you have done that, on the Friday or the weekend you can look back to your notes of each day and assess the days. Which day did you have the most energy throughout the day? Which morning did you wake up feeling most awake and alert? Which day did you feel most tired? You will then find out the amount of sleep your body roughly needs to be able to function each day. Most teenagers need 8-10 hours of sleep per night, this can be hard to achieve but you must attempt to try and get at least 8 hours. 

 What else can help me get into a good routine?

A lot of factors can affect your quality and quantity of sleep. This again is personal and you need to find out what you like and dislike when going to sleep. Do you like lights in your room on or off? Do you like doors open or closed? Do you like windows open or closed? Is your room too hot or too cold? Are you comfortable in your bed? Is your bed clean and comfy? Follow some of these tips and you might find some may help you get a better night's sleep!
  • Clean bed sheets and pajamas.
  • Taking a shower/bath before bed.
  • Burning a scented candle for 15-20 minutes before you go to sleep.
  • Getting your clothes out for the next day so they are ready and easily available.
  • Making your lunch for the next day so you don't have to do it in the morning. 
  • Getting darker blinds/curtains.
  • Keeping the room cool/warm.
  • Having a humidifier (especially if you have chest problems such as Asthma).
  • Tidying your room before you sleep.
  • Drinking a hot drink such as decaffinated coffee or tea before sleeping.
  • Having a glass of water before bed.
  • Turning off all switches and lights.
  • Shutting doors and windows if necessary.
  • Having a night light on.
  • New bed sheets, pillows or duvets.
  • Exercising an hour or two before bed.
  • Not eating an hour before you want to sleep.
  • Turn the TV, laptop, and lights off.
  • Get everything that needs to be done that day and the next day done before you sleep. 
  • Take medications before you sleep, or when you wake up.

I hope some of these tips help you to get to sleep from now on, don't be scared to experiment with how your room is, changing the temperature or darkness/lightness. Do what relaxes you and tires you out. Some people do yoga before going to bed as it makes them sleepy, whilst others have a hot drink or bath. Another tip: DON'T nap in the day. Turn off your laptops and computers, tvs, anything that will keep you up. 

Let me know whether any of this advice helps you, and any of your own advice which could help others!

1 comment:

  1. I found your blog on Pinterest, I'm loving it so far. Great job! :)