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Sleep is really important for feeling well and taking care of your physical and emotional health. During sleep your body rests but also makes repairs to your cells and immune system. Good sleep is linked to improved mental function such as memory, managing emotions, moods, problem-solving and decision-making.

There are lots of reasons your sleep might be affected as you enter teenage years and young adulthood; from exam stress, change in routine and worries; to differences in diet, leisure activities, and exercise. We also know that young people experience different circadian rhythms from children and older adults. This is the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle and is influenced by the production of a hormone called melatonin which changes during teenage years.

But don’t worry there are lots of simple things you can do to get a better night’s sleep!

What you can do to help

Sleep hygiene is the process of developing a good routine and healthy behaviours to promote sleep, this includes things like:

  • Have a set bedtime and try to stick to it.
  • Get up at the same time everyday.
  • Try not to take daytime naps.
  • Do the same thing each evening, so your body and mind know that you are getting ready for sleep (e.g. warm bath, put on pyjamas, do something to wind down).
  • Try some relaxation, meditation or mindfulness activities.
  • Avoid screen time in the hour before planning to sleep as this can interrupt the natural production of the hormone melatonin.
  • Avoid stimulating activities in the hour before bed.
  • Avoid food or drink that contains caffeine such as chocolate, tea, coffee, energy drinks or cola late in the afternoon (caffeine can affect sleep up to 6 hours after it’s been consumed). Alcohol, nicotine and other substances can also interfere with the quality of your sleep.
  • Try to get some exercise each day, but not too close to your chosen bedtime.
  • Make sure your room is a comfortable temperature, dark and quiet.
  • Try not to eat a large meal late in the evening, although a small light snack or glass of milk before bedtime might help with sleep.
  • Listening to gentle music, soundscapes or white noise can help with drifting off.
  • Keep a diary and jot down any worries or unhelpful thoughts which might stop you from sleeping.
  • If you are lying awake and can’t sleep, get up, do something calm and try to sleep again a bit later.

If you have tried these things and they haven’t worked, or you are worried about sleep have a look at more resources on the links below or get in touch with us for a chat.

Sometimes difficulty sleeping can be linked to other health conditions so it’s best to speak to someone for advice if the problem does not go away or gets worse.

Who can help?

For more advice about sleep speak to one of our team. You can Call Us on 0300 029 50 50 or Text Us on 07520 649887 to start a conversation. **Monday to Friday 9.30am - 4.30pm excluding bank holidays**

Older children (aged 11-19) can ask advice from a school nurse by texting our confidential ChatHealth service on 07480 635 443.

Need more information?

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Delivering excellence in Children and Young People’s Services:
a partnership between Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust and
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust.
Funded by Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council

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