In our recent Dean’s Assembly, Ms Montgomery, our Guidance Counselor spoke to the Year 11s about taking care of ones self. She included a range of messages, including the importance of 8+ hours of sleep per night. Below is some more detail taken from some useful handouts that Ms Montgomery uses.
Adopting new habits to help you sleep
- Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and cool. Noise, light, and heat can interfere with sleep. Try using a sound machine or earplugs to hide outside noise, an open window or fan to keep the room cool, and blackout curtains or a sleep mask to block out light.
- Stick to a regular sleep schedule. Support your biological clock by going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, including weekends, even if you’re tired. This will help you get back in a regular sleep rhythm. Brush teeth, PJs, read in bed half hour then light off. If awake 40 mins turn light on and read 10 mins or write down worries then light off and try sleep again.
- Avoid naps. Napping during the day can make it more difficult to sleep at night.
- Avoid stimulating activity and stressful situations before bedtime. This includes vigorous exercise; big discussions or arguments; and TV, computer, or video game use. Instead, focus on quiet, soothing activities, such as reading, knitting, or listening to soft music, while keeping lights low.
- Don’t read from a backlit device (such as an iPad). If you use an eReader, opt for one that is not backlit, i.e. one that requires an additional light source. NO SCREENS 1 hour before bed.
- Limit caffeine and high sugar food and drink. Stop drinking caffeinated beverages at least eight hours before bed. Avoid high sugar food and drinks from 3pm.
- Exercise regularly during the day.
Preparing your brain for sleep
- Your brain produces the hormone melatonin to help regulate your sleep-wake cycle. As melatonin is controlled by light exposure, not enough natural light during the day can make your brain feel sleepy, while too much artificial light at night can suppress production of melatonin and make it harder to sleep. To help naturally regulate your sleep-wake cycle and prepare your brain for sleep:
- Increase light exposure during the day. Take breaks outside in sunlight, remove
- Limit artificial light at night. To boost melatonin production, use low-wattage bulbs, cover windows and electrical displays in your bedroom, avoid bright light and turn off television, smartphone, and computer screens at least one hour before bed. If you can’t make your bedroom dark enough, try using a sleep mask.
- If these do not improve sleep see your doctor.
Simple Steps to improve your Sleep
- Avoid caffeine and high sugar drinks. (Can effect sleep if have them too late at night, or too many.)
- Turn your bedroom into a sleep-inducing environment (quiet, dark, peaceful environment. Don’t have your cell phone in the bedroom as this tends to keep your brain on “listen out” mode.)
- Establish a sleep routine. (Keep same routine every night. Brush teeth, PJs on, read for 15 mins etc. Have calm conversations, reduce tension. Keep internal sleep clock consistent by going to bed and getting up at the same time everyday.
- Go to sleep when tired. (If you wait you will get over tired it is harder to get to sleep.)
- Don’t watch the clock. (Just adds stress and pressure to fall asleep.)
- Do not nap after 4pm. (If you do nap at all during the day keep it short 20 mins, set an alarm.)
- Don’t go to bed on a full stomach. (Finish dinner several hours before. Snack on light foods like fruit or warm milk before)
- Drink plenty of fluids. (Drink through the day, but not as must just before bed).
- 30 mins exercise daily. (Don’t do excessive exercise 2 hours before bed).
- No screen time for 1 hour before bed. (Backlighting and flashing from screens stimulates the brain).
- Still awake after 30 minutes. (Turn light on and do something quite for 10 minutes (read, write) then light off and try to sleep again).