A regular bedtime routine encourages good sleep patterns. A bedtime routine of bath, story and bed can help younger children feel ready for sleep. For older children, the routine might include a quiet chat about the day then some relaxing time alone before lights out.
Some things which may help you to wind down include reading a book, listening to gentle music or practising breathing for relaxation. If it takes you longer than 30 minutes to fall asleep, you might need a longer wind-down time before turning the lights out to go to sleep.
Keep regular sleep and wake times to help your body clock maintain a regular pattern. It’s a good idea to keep this routine during weekends and holidays as it can be difficult to get back into a routine after time away from school.
If you get scared at night, avoid TV shows, movies and computer games which may trigger anxiety or nightmares. You could also sleep with a night light.
Blue light from televisions, computer screens, phones and tablets suppress melatonin levels and delays sleepiness. It helps to turn off devices at least one hour before bedtime. If you use a night-light, choose a dim, warm-coloured globe, rather than a bright, white, cool-coloured globe.
Be mindful of what you are eating and when. Going to bed too hungry or too full can affect your ability to fall asleep. Try to avoid food and drinks containing caffeine later in the day. Caffeine is in energy drinks, coffee, tea, chocolate and cola A healthy breakfast will help kick start your body clock.
Get plenty of natural light in the day, and dim light in the evenings such as having a low-lit lamp on. Bright light suppresses melatonin. This helps you feel awake and alert during the day and sleepy towards bedtime.