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10 tips and tricks for a better night’s sleep

Lose the snooze blues with these great tips


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in health


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We’ve all had sleepless nights of tossing, turning and clock watching. It’s not much fun, and can be pretty exhausting, but it’s tolerable for a night or two. The real problem starts when it happens frequently.

If you’re having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep every night, it can get pretty frustrating. It can also impact other aspects of your life and health, including your mental health. Some sleep problems can be minor and some can be more serious, but regardless of how serious your snooze issues are, there’s nothing more annoying than a bad night’s sleep!

There are a lot of myths and misinformation about sleep, so sometimes it can be hard to know what to do to improve your sleep. Don’t panic though - there are loads of simple and easy things you can do to improve the length and quality of your sleep. Follow these tips to lose the snooze blues - you could be sleeping soundly in no time!

10 tips for improving your sleep

Create a sleep schedule and stick to it

Going to bed and getting up at the same time every night will do wonders for your sleep.

Create a bedtime ritual

Every night before going to bed, do some things that relax you. Keep away from your email or phone, because they will distract you and keep you awake. You can even try some relaxation and mindfulness techniques.

Manage your stress

This can be very difficult to overcome, but there are things you can do to help yourself. Try chatting to others about your worries and if you’re finding it hard to cope, don’t be afraid to look for help. Many people also find it helpful to write down their problems. Some people keep a notebook beside their bed and jot down any worries or thoughts that are stressing them out and keeping them from sleeping. For more information on dealing with stress, check out our article here.

Get some exercise

Regular exercise during the day can be a miracle worker for good quality sleep. However, try not to exercise up to two hours before bed, because this can have the opposite effect! If you've never excercised before and aren't sure where to get started, check out these 10 ways to get fit without the gym.

Only use your bed for sleeping and sex

Don’t bring work, reading or TV to bed. If sleeping is an issue for you, experts recommend only using your bedroom for sleeping and sex. So don’t lie there for three hours tossing and turning, or stay up late working in your room - get up and do a soothing activity.

Make your bedroom as quiet and dark as possible

This is an important one! Use a blackout blind and wear earplugs. In the evening time, try to keep the lights low and avoid exposing yourself to harsh light – there’s that computer again! Don’t look at your phone or computer for at least an hour before bed and keep your actual bedroom as dark as possible. That means unplugging any bright alarm clocks.

Manage your naps

Naps can be a great energy booster during the day, but try to have them earlier in the afternoon and limit them to around 20 minutes. Remember though, if you have insomnia or other more serious sleep issues, it's not recommended that you nap during the day. Check out our article on napping here.

Don’t eat too late

If you eat too late, this could keep you up at night. Try to have your meals a little earlier

Limit alcohol and smoking before bed

Alcohol can definitely make you sleepy, but it can also interfere with sleep, so that you never get proper deep sleep. Don’t smoke or drink alcohol for a few hours before bed. For more information and what else can be bad for your sleep, check out this article.

Be careful with caffeine

Caffeine keeps you awake and alert, and stays in the body for up up 8 hours, so if you have issues sleeping, you should have your last cup of tea or coffee by 2pm at the latest.

None of the above work! What should I do?

If you’re sleep problems persist, you should go to your doctor to discuss it. Sleep problems are very common and normal, and your doctor will be able to advise you on what you should do. If you’re not sure what you should say to your doctor, check out our article here on how to talk to your doctor about sleep.

More information

SpunOut's Sleep Happy campaign is packed with information to get you sleeping soundly. Find out more here. Happy sleeping!

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Published April 26th, 2015
Last updated December 5th, 2015
Tags sleep health mental health
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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