I go to bed on time but sometimes I lie there for a while and can't fall asleep.
What should I do? – Thomas*
it can be hard for teens to fall
If you find yourself lying awake in bed thinking about everything from your homework
to whether it's your turn to walk the dog in the morning, you may need a sleep reboot.
Start by trying to take your mind off any racing thoughts. Picture
a relaxing scene that involves sleep and build that scene in your mind. So, let's
say your scene has you lying in a beach hammock under the stars. Imagine what the
waves sound like. Are there other sounds, like palm trees rustling? What sensations
do you feel (like the hammock swaying, or maybe a warm breeze blowing)? Is anyone
else there with you? Focus completely on this scene for a while.
If that doesn't work and you're still wide awake, try getting up for a
short time. Get out of bed and do something relaxing that might make you
feel drowsy — like reading or playing a repetitive game like Sudoku. Keep the lights
low and go back to bed after 30 minutes or so (or sooner if you start feeling sleepy).
Avoid technology, like phones, computers, or TV. Brightly lit
screens can mislead your brain into thinking it's time to wake up. And anything that
stimulates your brain — from a text conversation to a video game — also can kick your
body into wake-up mode.
Getting up for a short while can help if you have trouble falling asleep sometimes
or if you occasionally wake up and can't go back to sleep. But you don't want to have
to do it every night. If you have trouble falling asleep, it's best to train your
body to wind down and relax with a pre-sleep routine each night. Doctors call this
"good sleep hygiene."
Good sleep hygiene includes
activities that signal the body it's time to sleep, like going to bed at the same
time each night, shutting down technology, and keeping your room dark. It also includes
avoiding caffeine or other stimulants for several hours before bedtime.
It can help to treat sleep like any other goal: build a plan
that helps you focus on it and get the results you want!