How to Fall Asleep Easier As a Teen
Balancing school, activities, and homework makes it hard for teens to get the recommended amount of sleep each night. That balancing act is even tougher to manage if you’re up late tossing and turning. Try to relax and clear your mind if you have trouble falling asleep. To prevent insomnia, make your bedroom as sleep-friendly as possible, and work on developing a relaxing nightly routine.
Dealing with Insomnia
Don’t check the time.Keep your phone screen off and turn your clock away from your bed so you can’t see the time. Checking your clock will only stress you out and prevent you from falling asleep. Relax and trust that you’ll fall asleep instead of checking the time and thinking, “If I fall asleep now, I can still get 6 hours of sleep.”
- Additionally, checking the time on your phone will expose your eyes to blue light. Blue light tells your brain that it’s daytime, so avoid checking your phone.
- If you're worried about waking up on time, set 2 alarms on your phone 15 minutes apart. This can stop you from waking up and checking the time. If you miss the first alarm, the second alarm will wake you.
Do breathing and visualization exercises to relax.Try breathing in slowly and deeply as you count to 4. Then exhale slowly as you count to 8, and imagine tension leaving your body with each breath. As you control your breathing, imagine a place, memory, or story that you find comforting.
- If a worrying thought comes to mind, imagine it passing away as you exhale, then return to your calming place.
Create a night-time ritual before going to bed.If you do the same thing every night, it will tell your brain that it is time to go to bed. Do things that relax you, like drinking herbal tea or taking a bath.
Have a small, high-carb snack.A small, filling snack can help you fall asleep, provided it’s not too sweet. Good options include crackers with cheese or peanut butter, toast with jam or honey, vanilla wafers, or a small bowl of cereal. You could also soothe yourself with a glass of warm milk or hot, caffeine-free herbal tea.
- Just go for a small snack. A big meal can keep you up, so try not to have big meals before you go to bed.
Read something relaxing or boring.Choose a book or magazine that won’t get you excited instead of something action-packed or suspenseful. Relaxing choices might include a reflective personal essay, calming poetry, or a travel magazine.
- Don't read a school textbook. A textbook might be boring, but you could get stressed about homework and responsibilities if you read one.
- Some people also find a coloring or activity book helps them relax when they can’t fall asleep.
Take a hot shower, if you haven’t already.Your body temperature decreases slightly when you fall asleep. After a hot shower or bath, your temperature also begins to decrease, which lets your body know it’s time to go to sleep. If you’re stressed out, a shower or bath can also help calm your thoughts.
Write a list or write in your journal if your mind is racing.If you can’t get stressful thoughts out of your head, try writing them down by hand in a journal or notebook. Don’t read your list or journal entry after writing it or dwell on what’s worrying you. Instead, focus on the worrying thoughts leaving your mind as you write.
- Say to yourself, “I’m worried about making making my presentation tomorrow, but now isn’t the time to think about it. I’m writing it down, it’s leaving my mind, and I'm ready to relax.”
Creating a Relaxing Sleep Environment
Use your bed only for sleeping.Avoid doing your homework, eating, talking on the phone, or thinking about stressful things in bed. Try to associate your bed only with restful sleep.
- This will help train your brain to start the process of falling asleep when you crawl into bed.
Keep your room cool at night.Your body temperature needs to decrease when you go to sleep. A hot room can prevent this, so do your best to keep the temperature around 68 °F (20 °C).
- Use a fan if it’s hot, or talk to your parents about lowering your room’s temperature.
Dim and turn off the lights in your bedroom.If your overhead light doesn't have a dimmer, turn it off and use a lamp to light your room at night. Turn off the all lights in your room when you're ready to go to sleep.
- Keeping the lights dim or off will also help create the right environment for sleep.
- If your room is too bright at night, get a lightweight sleeping mask. If the rising sun is a problem, ask your parents for blackout curtains.
Turn off your electronics or take them out of your room.When you go to bed, keep your phone screen off, don’t watch TV, and don’t use your computer. Light from the screen will trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime.
- If you can’t resist the urge to check your phone or computer in the middle of the night, think about removing electronic devices from your room.
- Mute your phone or turn it on silent. If you have a "do not disturb" setting on your phone, turn it on before you go to bed.
- If you have a clock that ticks in your room, consider removing it. If you don't want to, put it in a desk or drawer for the night while you sleep.
Do your best to keep your room clean.It might be annoying when your parents nag you about cleaning your room. However, clean sheets and a clutter-free space can help put you at ease.
Use soothing scents in your room.A soothing air freshener, bed linens spray, or diffuser could also help you relax at bedtime. Relaxing scents include orange blossom, chamomile, and lavender.
- You can buy scented drawer liners that come in many different relaxing scents as well. Look for them at department stores, home goods stores, and online.
Developing a Healthy Sleep Routine
Try not to stay up and sleep in more than 2 hours on the weekends.Do your best to go to bed and wake up at the same times every day. Since it’s tough for teens to get the recommended 9 to 10 hours of sleep nightly, you might need to catch up on shuteye over the weekend. Just try to go to bed and wake up no later than 2 hours later than you do during the week.
- If you normally go to bed at 11 and wake up at 7, try to stick to that schedule as closely as possible. If you don't, you may feel extra tired Monday morning.
- Sleeping in on the weekends can curb a sleep deficit, but oversleeping too much can ruin your sleep schedule.
Stay away from caffeine 4 to 6 hours before bedtime.Coffee and tea are obvious sources of caffeine, and you should avoid drinking them at night. Additionally, steer clear of lesser-known caffeine sources, such as soft drinks, chocolate, some pain relievers, and decaf coffee.
Begin your relaxation routine about an hour before bedtime.If you try to head to bed after stimulating or strenuous activity, you’ll probably end up tossing and turning for a while. An hour before bed, do relaxing activities, such as listening to soothing music, reading, and taking a hot shower or bath.
- Your hour of relaxation time should be quiet. Try not to have stressful or stimulating conversations. Do not watch an action-packed TV show or listen to fast and loud music.
Power down your electronics at least an hour before bed.Electronic screens emit blue light, which your brain mistakes for afternoon sunlight. Additionally, browsing social media or watching an exciting show before bed can make it harder to calm down and go to sleep.
- If you have to use your phone or computer before bed, lower the brightness an install an app that filters blue light. For example, the app F.lux automatically warms the colors emitted from screens when it gets dark outside.
Shower and brush your teeth to let your body know it’s bedtime.Following a nightly hygiene routine before bed can send a message to your brain that it’s almost time for sleep. Read or listen to calming music for around 30 minutes, then take a shower or bath, put on your pajamas, and brush your teeth.
- Remember a hot shower or bath can help you falling asleep by lowering your body temperature.
QuestionMy sleep schedule can change very easily. How do I make sure that I keep a consistent routine?
Registered NurseRegistered NurseExpert AnswerKeep to a routine and ritual before going to bed. Do the same things in the same sequence, i.e., wash face, brush teeth, pick up dirty clothes and put them in the hamper, get your clothes ready for the next day, put your backpack and purse side by side and ready to go.Thanks!
QuestionWhat do I do if I am wide awake but need to go to sleep?
Registered NurseRegistered NurseExpert AnswerTry to get into the routine of a night time ritual about 30 minutes before bed. It helps your body understand that it is time to wind down.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I stop being scared at night?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt depends on what you're scared of. If you have anxiety problems, consider going to your doctor/psychologist to negotiate some anxiety medication. Alternatively, try drinking some lavender tea or inhaling calming essential oils. Make your bed as comfortable as possible and keep your room clean. People with messy rooms are more prone to nightmares and night terrors. If you're simply scared of the dark, get a nightlight or leave the curtains open to let in outside light.Thanks!
QuestionWould making up a story scenario help me get to sleep?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerI find imagining things to be a great relaxing agent. I also enjoy looking at a picture and then visualizing it in my mind's eye or thinking about a book, movie or TV show I just read/watched (alternative plot lines, what's going to happen next, cliffhangers, adding my own characters, etc.). For some people, though, this might be too stimulating. Try it, see if it works for you.Thanks!
QuestionI'm 11 years old and I can never get to sleep. I have to go to bed at 8 pm. What can I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAsk your parents if you can read a book when you get in bed. Reading will help to tire your eyes and make it easier to sleep.Thanks!
QuestionWhat can I do when I'm too nervous to tell someone I like them?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTry just being friends with the person first, so there is minimal pressure involved. Talk to them at school, add them on Snapchat and Twitter, send them cute selfies, etc. You might also try asking one of your friends to ask one of your crush's friends how they feel about you. Just relax and take it slow.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if I am younger than 12?Community AnswerYou can use the same methods. Just remember to use age-appropriate things, such as books.Thanks!
QuestionWhat time should I go to sleep if I'm 13?Top AnswererAccording to the National Sleep Foundation, children ages 6 - 13 should sleep for 9 to 11 hours each night. Take the time when you must get up, then count back 9 to 11 hours. That's the time when you must be in bed.Thanks!
QuestionIs it bad to stay awake all night?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you do it rarely and otherwise get enough sleep, you should be okay, though you may be very tired and not function well the next day. If you do it frequently, it's bad. Chronic sleep deprivation is bad for your mental and physical health on many levels.Thanks!
QuestionHow to fall asleep late at night after being on your phone for hours?wikiHow ContributorCommunity Answer1.Don't be on your phone for hours. That is both disruptive to sleep and unhealthy for your eyes. 2. There is a feature on some phones that is called "blue shade," which you can turn on in the evening to block out the harsh blue light from your phone that tends to keep you awake. There are also apps you can download, like F.lux and Twilight, that do the same thing.Thanks!
- Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. Daily exercise can make it easier to fall asleep at night. However, avoid intense exercise at night, which can boost your energy levels and keep you awake.
- Avoid taking naps during the day. If you have to nap, limit it to 30 minutes or less, and try not to nap after 3 pm.
- If you’re used to staying up late, try hitting the hay 10 minutes earlier each night to adjust your sleep schedule gradually.
- If you’re stressed out or need to stay up late to do your homework, consider reducing your workload or create a new homework schedule.
- Don’t worry about certain things while your in bed, such as a big test or something that will be happening in the near future, it signals your brain to begin getting excited or stressed. Think of random things such as Unicorns or little, random and pointless scenarios so that your body knows it’s time to shut off for the day, it works for me and my sister and some of my friends I’ve told this to.
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