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Tips For A Restful Nighttime Routine

Getting enough sleep at any age is tough, but teenagers often have a more difficult time than even the busiest adults. You get up early for school and then hurry to your part-time job, sports practices or club meetings. When you’ve finished up with those parts of the day, you make it home in time for dinner and a couple of hours of homework. By the time you finish, it might be late, and you might feel as if you haven’t had any time to catch up with friends or relax. Considering that your body’s natural clock wants you to stay up later than you did as a kid, you’re unlikely reaching the National Sleep Foundation's recommendation of 8 to 10 hours of quality sleep each night.

One of the most effective ways to get better sleep is to create a restful nighttime routine, starting at least an hour before you go to bed. Keep some of these ideas in mind when putting together your routine, and you’ll be creating new habits and enjoying more slumber in no time. 

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Timing

When setting up a routine, go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning. Try to stick to this schedule even on the weekend. If you do need to sleep in or stay up late, try to wake up or head to bed within an hour of your usual time. 

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Electronics

Turn off anything with a screen at least an hour before you go to bed, including your TV, phone or tablet. Consider removing your TV from your bedroom or concealing it in a media storage cabinet to avoid temptation. If you find that your room feels quieter than you’d like, listen to soft music instead of watching TV.

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Relax

Consider taking a hot bubble bath or shower before bed. Not only will it help you relax, but as your body cools down, you become sleepier. If a hot bath is not enough to help you de-stress, consider using lavender-scented oils and soaps; they have a soothing effect. If you prefer to shower in the morning, try stretching or doing yoga before bed. However, try to avoid too much physical activity, which can re-energize you and keep you up later. Reading a book is another great way to settle down before bedtime. 

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Environment

Be sure your bedroom is as comfortable as it can be. People of all ages sleep best in cool, dark rooms. Ask your parents if you can turn down the air conditioning or add blackout shades to your windows if necessary. Avoid using bright overhead lights before bed and use a soft lamp instead. Use your bed for sleeping only, not studying.  

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Comfort

If your bed and pajamas don’t feel as soft and comfortable as you’d like, chances are you’ll be bothered by them all night long. Sleep in pajamas that are loose and allow for movement. Choose bedding that feels good too. From your comforter to your sheets, make sure everything is soft, clean and smooth. PBteen offers a variety of cozy bedding in numerous styles, colors and fabrics. Another smart idea is to ensure your bedding is seasonally appropriate, which may mean switching out fleecy, thick bedding for lighter fabrics when the weather gets warm. If your mattress is showing signs of wear, talk to your parents about getting a new one.

 

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Food And Drink

Try to limit your consumption of sodas, energy drinks or anything else with caffeine as much as possible during the afternoon, and try not to drink anything except water at least three hours before bed. Avoid eating heavy meals and snacks late at night too. If you need something to nibble on, try graham crackers, yogurt, fruit, popcorn, cereal or toast. Going to bed hungry can also disrupt your sleep. 

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Your Schedule

If beginning a relaxing routine an hour or two before bedtime isn’t quite doable, look into readjusting your daytime schedule. Keep a journal or written calendar of your daily activities for a week and then look it over to find out where you can make more time. For example, could you do some of your homework during your free period at school instead of doing it all at night? Could you talk to your parents about eating dinner at a different time, or cut back your involvement in extracurricular activities? 

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Exercise

While heavy physical activity at night can actually keep you awake, moderate exercise during the day can help you sleep better. You should get at least an hour of physical activity five days a week. Keeping up a healthy daily routine is a gateway to getting more great sleep.