Sleep

 

Why sleep matters

Sleep is one of the most important things in order for us to be healthy and support our overall wellbeing. Our quality of sleep affects many things including the way we feel, our appetite and how quickly we can recover from injuries and illnesses.

Getting enough sleep also boosts our ability to remember and recall information, which is vital during the exam season and longer term!

Daytime tips

Routine 

Keeping a routine is really key to consistently getting a good night’s sleep. Your routine helps align your body’s circadian rhythm, which controls when we feel most awake and when we feel most tired. This routine planner can help you map out your days and weeks. 

Try setting yourself a wake up and wind down time that you stick to each day (yes, even on weekends!). This will help you to feel more alert in the mornings and tired at night. You should also try and get out in daylight for at least 30 minutes each day as part of your routine. 

Keeping active

Keeping active is an essential part of being healthy. Whether you want to do a 10K run or just make sure you’re moving a little bit every hour, all activity is good for you. Find what works best for your body! Physical movement also means we can use up our energy, leading to a better quality of sleep. Just make sure you finish any strenuous exercise at least an hour before you want to go to sleep for a restful night. For more ideas, visit our Be Active page.

If you have a specific fitness aim in mind, try using this goal planner to keep on target.

Night-time tips

Create a personalised evening wind down routine

This helps signal to your body and brain that it’s time for sleep. This could include taking a warm bath or shower, drinking a relaxing warm drink or reading a book in bed for a while. You could also set an alarm an hour before you want to go to sleep to remind you to start settling down for the night. Whatever helps you to relax, try it out and see what works best for you. 

If you need some help, check out this six ways and sleep planner for ideas linked to the Six Ways to Wellbeing. 

Mindfulness 

Mindfulness practice can be really useful for helping us to ease feelings of anxiety and worry by helping us be less judgemental of our own thoughts. This is great for sleep as it reduces the amount of sleep-preventing stress hormones that we produce. By reducing our feelings of anxiety before sleep, we can also minimise sleep-disrupting vivid dreams (or nightmares).

Try a mindfulness practice just before you get into bed, or use the bedtime stories feature on Headspace or Calm as you're drifting off. Check out our Take Notice page for more tips on how to stay present. 

Gratitude

Ending the day on a positive note can also reduce anxious thoughts. Try using this gratitude planner just before bed to go to sleep with a positive mindset. 

Create the right environment

To get the best possible night’s sleep, we need to set up our bedroom’s the right way. Try to limit the amount of light in your room, especially blue light from electronics. Too much light can confuse our bodies into thinking it’s still daytime. It’s also important to keep our rooms cool and free of clutter, as cooler temperatures and a clean space are better for a restful sleep.

Useful resources