What you need to know
Getting a good nights sleep is vital for your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. Having the right amount of good quality sleep can:
- make you more emotionally resilient
- is important for your growth and development
- benefits your immune system to keep you healthy
- will help you to concentrate and learn more in school
Without good sleep you may feel irritable, stressed and tired, it can affect your self control and judgement, it can reduce your ability to concentrate and learn and may even lead to health impacts such as poor skin or weight gain due to hormone changes.
Sleep is made up of 2 main types of sleep (REM and Non REM) which goes in cycles whilst you sleep.
- REM is when you dream and sometimes you can remember your dream. This stage has a key role in memory storing and learning.
- It’s also during this stage when happy hormones are released giving you that "feel good factor” giving you a mood boost.
- Non REM is important too because this is where tissue growth and repair occurs, the body replenishes it’s energy stores and boosts the immune system. Hormones important for growth and development are released during non REM sleep.
You can see from this that important things happen in each of these stages whilst you sleep to keep you physically and emotionally well and healthy.
- The average child needs approximately 9 - 11 hours sleep a night
- Bright lights leading up to bedtime and TV, computers, IPAD (gives off blue light which is not good for sleep) can affect your sleep hormone (Melatonin), influence your internal clock and disrupt your sleep
- Stick to the same bedtime routine: same bedtime and same wake up time in the morning, even on weekends
- Try calmer, quieter activities such as reading, puzzles, colouring, drawing, simple art or crafts activity
- Keeping a diary to write down thoughts and feelings, so not bottling up worries when trying to sleep
- Positive bedroom environment e.g dark is good for sleep, free from blue light such as TVs and computer screens, room not too warm or cold and a comfy bed
- When in bed for a few minutes, read a book or listen to quiet music/audiobook then turn off light
- Don’t spend more than 10-15 minutes trying to get to sleep.
- Think about your diet and what you're eating, some foods close to bed time can make it harder to fall asleep
- If you're struggling to sleep after a few nights speak to your public health nurse for some advice and support