Know how much sleep you need, what your motivation is to get that sleep and start to plan and prioritise it.
Going to sleep and getting up around the same time every day helps keep your body clock in a regular rhythm making it easier to get to sleep and wake up. Try to maintain this schedule as closely as you can on weekends and holidays.
Poor time management often leads to compromised sleep time. To help you manage your time and prioritise your sleep, we’ve created a timetable template which you can personalise.
Aim to have a one hour break between electronic devices and sleep in particular interactive gaming and social media.
Keep your bedroom free of distracting activities such as electronic devices use, TV and study out to help you associate your bedroom with sleep.
Keep your bedroom dark, quiet & the right temperature for sleeping around 18–20 degrees Celsius for the optimum sleeping environment.
The most important external signal for the biological clock is light. In the morning, sunlight signals the body to “wake up.” As the day progresses to evening the withdrawal of light lets us prepare for sleep by allowing for the release of chemicals like melatonin.
Don’t hop in wide awake and alert, instead create a routine that will signal to your brain and body that it’s time to wind down. This may be a warm shower, reading a book and then dimming the lights.
If you are having trouble winding down, try some deep breathing, muscle relaxation or mindfulness such as the ‘body scan’ exercise. If you can’t fall asleep or wake up, don’t lie in bed feeling stressed or frustrated: Try to do something to calm down and then give sleep another go.
Aim to keep naps to 15–20 minute power nap and avoid them late afternoon. Naps that are too long and late in the day if they are too long or can make it hard to fall asleep at night.
Caffeine has a half-life of 4-7hrs and can impact on sleep. This includes coffee, green and black tea, chocolate, energy drinks and some soft drinks and sports supplements.
Although you may feel you get a few extra minutes, due to repeatedly waking you up in the wrong part of a new sleep new cycle this can make you wake up feeling groggier.
Examine your own sleep habits and your own electronic device use.
A sleep diary is a great way of finding out if your child is getting enough sleep, what may be affecting the amount and quality of their sleep and how sleep affects areas such as their mood, concentration and energy levels.
Be aware of how much sleep your child needs and have a sleep time to aim for see figures for hours of sleep/age.
They can be a sign of an anxiety disorder or depression. Think about sleep in the broader context of your child’s symptoms and history. If you suspect anxiety or depression see an expert for an assessment.
The result of a busy lifestyle can be that the amount of time allocated to sleep is often the first thing to be compromised.
If you’re concerned that problems with sleep, however mild, are having an impact on your child’s life in terms of wellbeing, school, relationships or home life.
There are various options for parent and staff programs. Traditionally the staff session focused on student wellbeing, however increasingly requests are for the staff program to focus more on supporting staff wellbeing. The Sleep Connection will work with you to find the best options for your parents and staff communities.
The student program can be tailored to suit students from Stage 3 through to Year 12. Contact The Sleep Connection for a complementary conversation regarding the best year groups to run the program for in your school, including from a more preventative perspective.
The aims of the programs are to provide a simple, yet effective framework to help students, parents and staff:
Additionally The Sleep Connection aims to collaborate further with schools and equip them with ideas they can implement for more of a whole-school approach to becoming a “sleep smart school”.
Seek advice from a health professional if you’re concerned that problems with sleep, however mild, are having an impact on your child’s life in terms of wellbeing, school, relationships or home life. Also seek help if the problems are making your child anxious, or if they persist for more than 2-4 weeks.
The online program Sheepshack, below, can be accessed from any state In Australia and does not need a referral from your GP.
The Woolcock Institute of Medical Research has developed a comprehensive Paediatric and Adolescent Sleep Service which treats sleep disorders in young people from birth to
18 years. This includes Australia’s only interdisciplinary sleep clinic for young people, where Sleep Paediatricians, Paediatric Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeons and Adolescent Sleep Psychologists work together to provide a comprehensive service under one roof.
Specialists can diagnose and treat all sleep issues, including Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder, insomnia, restless legs syndrome and sleep walking.
For more information visit The Woolcock Institute Paediatric and Adolescent Sleep Clinic
Dr Chris Seton – Adolescent & Paediatric Sleep Physician
Call 0423 523 840