Sleep and mental health: Sorting out your sleep routine

PDF download is not available for Arabic and Urdu languages at this time. Please use the browser print function instead

​You can do a number of things to set yourself up for good quality sleep night after night. 

Develop healthy bedtime habits

  • Follow a regular schedule. Go to bed at around the same time every night and wake up at the same time in the morning. On weekends, your bedtime might be later, but try not to go to bed (or wake up) more than two hours after your usual times during the week.
  • Avoid coffee, tea, soda or pop, energy drinks and chocolate a few hours before bed. Caffeine and sugar tell your brain to stay up even later than usual. Cigarettes and alcohol will also interfere with your sleep.
  • If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, take some deep relaxing breaths, focusing on your breath as it goes in and out. Deep breathing for five to 10 minutes may help you become more relaxed and sleepy. You can also listen along to these audios that help you prepare for sleep.
Time for rest audio

How to use: This audio meditation can help you relax. You may use this meditation whenever you need to take a nap or go to sleep. Get yourself into a comfortable position lying down and make sure you will not be disturbed.

Allowing rest audio

How to use: This audio meditation helps your body and mind relax. Use this meditation to find moment of rest and peace or when you need to take a nap or go to sleep. Get yourself into a comfortable position lying down and make sure you will not be disturbed.

  • If you tend to feel wide awake at bedtime, try doing some physical activity earlier in the evening so you naturally feel more tired. If that doesn’t work, do something relaxing to help you wind down and feel more sleepy. Yoga, light stretching, reading a book or writing in a journal can all help.
  • Keep a diary or a to-do list by your bed so you can jot down any tasks or worries before you go to sleep. This reduces the chance that you’ll wake up feeling worried or stressed. You can also watch this animation, which reminds you how you can get ready for a good night’s sleep.
Sleep: A bedtime story

How to use: This is a bedtime ritual you may follow every night, if you wish. It walks you through preparing for sleep. It’s best to view this on a tablet or cellphone that you can put aside easily. You may stop and start the video at any time. In case you fall asleep, keep the volume low and turn autoplay to off.

Create a comfortable sleep environment

  • Make sure your room is cool and dark enough.
  • Keep your bed for sleeping only. Don’t do homework in bed. This activity can make your brain link bedtime with stress or active thinking when you are trying to sleep.
  • Avoid having a television, computer, tablet or cell phone in the bedroom. These can stimulate your brain rather than relax it and add to your daily screen time.

Have a good start to your morning

  • Get in the habit of planning and prepping your breakfast before bed. This could be as simple as cutting up some fruit or making a breakfast wrap that you can quickly grab in the morning.
  • Pack your backpack and lay out your clothes the night before. At night there is more time to look for missing homework or that favourite T-shirt that might still be in the washing machine.
  • If you have trouble waking up in time to shower in the morning, take your shower before bed or earlier in the evening.
  • Set an alarm clock to wake you up in the morning so that you don’t need to rely on someone else to wake you.

We want to hear from you!

AboutKidsHealth is trying to improve the information and education we provide young people (aged 12-18) and families through our website. Please take 5 minutes to complete our Adolsecent Health Learning Hub survey.

Last updated: January 4th 2019