A good sleep routine is really important for health and wellbeing. In your teenage years your sleep will change due to developments in your brain and body. 

We all have evenings when we find it hard to fall asleep or find ourselves waking up in the night. How we sleep and how much sleep we need is different for all of us and changes as we get older.

Sleep problems usually sort themselves out within about a month. But longer stretches of bad sleep can start to affect our lives. It can cause extreme tiredness and make usually manageable tasks harder.

If you regularly have problems sleeping, you may be experiencing insomnia. Insomnia can last for months or even years, but usually improves if you change your sleeping habits.

Sleep problems are common, and the tips on this page should help. But if they have not worked, or you have had trouble sleeping for months and it affects your daily life in a way that makes it hard to cope, you could benefit from further support.

  • Different people need different amounts of sleep. Take time to understand how much sleep you actually need before you adjust anything else.

  • Keep regular sleep hours. Going to bed when you feel tired and getting up at roughly the same time helps teach your body to sleep better. Try to avoid napping where possible.

  • Teenagers body clocks shift later so you may find it hard to fall asleep at the same time as the rest of your family. If you are lying awake for hours, trying to fall asleep, try going to bed a bit later, until you are regularly falling asleep quickly. Don’t spend lots of time lying in bed when you’re not trying to sleep.

  • Caffeine and alcohol can stop you falling asleep and prevent deep sleep. Try to cut down on caffeine, especially close to bedtime.

  • Move more to help you sleep better. Being active in the day can help you sleep better, just remember not to do vigorous activity near bedtime as this can affect your sleep.

  • Turn the brightness down on any screens in the evening and stop using your phone or tablet at least an hour before bed. If you can charge your phone anywhere but your bedroom, this stops you being tempted to check it when you’re trying to sleep

  • Building a restful environment: Build a calm bedtime routine and use relaxation strategies to help you wind down. Dark, quiet and cool environments generally make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.

  • Put your mind at rest. If you are lying awake worrying, set some time aside to write down your worries or make a list for the next day to put your mind at rest.

  • If you can’t get to sleep, try not to give yourself a hard time about it and do not force it. Get up and do something relaxing for a bit, and return to bed when you feel sleepier.