Did you know that we need nine or 10 hours of sleep each night to be at our best? Sleep is fuel! Without enough of it, we feel run down, our brains don’t work as well and we aren’t able to make the best decisions or get the most out of our lives.
So how do we guarantee a good night’s sleep? This page explains how to get more sleep and sleep better.
Find out how much sleep you get already
If we need 10 hours sleep, how much more sleep do you need to get? What days of the week are a problem in particular? When do you need to get up? When do you need to go to bed?
This is really important! What time do you have to get up for school?
What’s ten hours before that? That is the golden time we need to keep in mind. To help understand your sleep:
- First make a sleep chart to track how much sleep you’re getting already.
- Then make a plan for which nights in particular you need to work on getting to bed earlier.
Make your move
What are you going to do to sleep better?
Now you know when you need to get more sleep, it’s time to think about what you’re going to do to make sure it happens, and that you get the best night’s sleep you can.
Here are some suggestions for ways you can help yourself when you make your move:
- Turning off your computer, TV and phone ONE HOUR before you want to go to sleep.
- Reading a book before bedtime - give yourself a target, such as 10 pages.
- Sitting quietly before bedtime.
- Eating earlier - at least two hours before you go to bed.
- Having a cup of hot milk or another caffeine-free warm drink (no tea or coffee!) before you go to bed.
- Having a bath or a shower before bedtime.
- Feeling calm – taking deep breaths, listening to relaxing music.
Think about how to make things easier
It’s not always easy. If you find it hard to get to bed earlier, to switch off screens or to get a good night's sleep once you are in bed, here are some things to think about.
Who do we need to tell? It's probably a good idea to let your parent or carer know what you’re trying to do – they’ll probably be able to help!
We’re serious. If your curtains let in light, talk about getting some blackout liners or try hanging a towel over the window. Something this simple might really help you sleep better once you are in bed.
Going to bed earlier and switching off screens doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy TV. For example, is there a TV programme you really want to watch that's on after your golden bedtime? Lots of programmes are on more than once or can be watched on catch-up. Why not see if you can watch it another time? If you can’t, you might have to make the big choice: which is more important?
Keep track of what’s working
Keep using the sleep chart so you can keep track of how much sleep you’re getting.
Use a notebook or diary to make a note of how you’re feeling.
- What’s it like when you get more sleep?
- How does it feel to go to bed after a warm bath or listening to chilled music?
- What helps you get to sleep?
- What makes it harder?
Keep using what you learn to make small changes and get an even better night’s sleep.