Sleep is amazing and has a whole host of benefits that help us feel restored, relaxed and help our mood. We also know that it’s vital for growth and development.
Not getting enough sleep can affect our hunger levels, which means we could end up wanting to eat more and upsetting our energy balance. You might also find it harder to retain information at school or work, find it difficult to make decisions or feel cranky when you are under-rested.
5-7 year olds: 10 – 11 hours
8-11 year olds: 9 – 10 hours
12-16 year olds: 9 hours
Adults: 6-9 hours
Having a routine before we sleep can help us drift off.
For example: Make sure homework is completed & your room is tidy > get everything ready for the next day (including clothes, food & bag) > get in to pyjamas so that you can start relaxing > brush your teeth > get in to bed on time.
Your bedroom should encourage sleep which can be achieved in a range of ways. Making sure that it’s dark, cool and quiet can help you drift off.
Also reduce screen time in the evenings – blue light emitted from screens can affect our brains ability to produce melatonin, which is the hormone that helps us sleep. You can download a blue light blocking app on to any smart phones, tablets and laptops which can help with this.
Adults should also aim to reduce caffeine consumption in the evenings, as it stays in our bodies and can keep us awake at night. This includes tea, coffee and fizzy drinks.
If you are active throughout the day and follow the recommended guidelines of 60 minutes moderate physical activity per day, you can use up extra energy. When we exercise, it can make us tired and being tired is obviously great to help with sleep.
If you are finding that you can’t sleep because you are stressed, have something on your mind or that you are thinking about what you need to do the next day, you can write a to do list or write your thoughts down so that they are not on your mind. Alternatively, try reading a book, this seems to help most people nod off.