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How to Get a Better Sleep

There are things you can do that will help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Pick a few strategies to start with and see if they help. Here are some strategies to try:

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During the day add

  • Find ways to get active every day, but try to avoid exercise close to bedtime.
  • Get outside during daylight hours every day.
  • If you feel like you need to nap during the day, try to limit it to 45 minutes.
  • Try waking up at the same time every day – set your alarm if you need to.
  • Do your studying, writing, and other work outside of the bedroom.

Before bedtime add

  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and smoking before bedtime as they can all interfere with a good night’s sleep.
  • Avoid watching TV, playing video games, texting or going online for at least 30 minutes before bed. An hour or two before would be best.
  • If you’re hungry, have a light snack. Heavy meals can make it hard to fall asleep.
  • Relax before bed by reading, listening to music, taking a bath, doing yoga or doing something that calms you down.
  • Avoid drinking too many liquids before bed if you often wake up to use the bathroom in the night.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol as it may disrupt your sleep.
  • Have a regular bedtime routine to signal to your body it’s time to sleep (for example take a warm bath, put on your pajamas, brush your teeth, read a book, etc.).
  • Try going to bed at the same time every day to help regulate your sleep cycle.

In your bedroom add

  • Set up a comfortable and quiet sleep environment that you use only for sleep, so your body connects the environment with sleep.
  • Use a sleep mask to help block out light.
  • If your room is noisy, try using ear plugs or listening to ‘white noise’ to help block the noise. There are lots of apps out there for this!
  • Keep your bed for sleeping. Don’t watch TV, go online, study, or work while on your bed.
  • Make a playlist with calming music that you play at night to help you relax.
  • Check the temperature of your room – is it too hot or too cold?

I still can’t get to sleep! add

  • If you haven’t fallen asleep after 20 minutes or so, get out of bed and do something relaxing or boring. Go back to bed when you are feeling more drowsy.
  • Avoid watching your clock and worrying about not sleeping – turn your clock away from you if that helps.
  • If you are troubled by worrying or anxious thoughts that are keeping you up, see our anxiety or stress sections.
  • Keep a sleep diary. After a few weeks, see if you can find any patterns. Write down things like:
    • the time you go to bed
    • your daily routines
    • what you ate
    • activities
    • your mood
    • medications you took
    • etc.
    • Try the sleep diary from Kids Help Phone.

If try these strategies and still often have trouble sleeping, or you can’t sleep because of an injury, pain, nightmares or a mental health concern, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional about other options.

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