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What so I need sleep?

Sleep is as important for you as a healthy diet or physical activity

Lack of sleep may affect your concentration, mood, memory, decision making and ultimately your academic ability
• Lack of sleep may cause you to gain weight
• Poor sleep patterns can impact on your concentration making it more difficult to remember things – the last thing you need if you have exams
• You are more likely to feel down when you are tired
• Your body releases growth hormones when you are asleep
• A good night’s sleep can help you to cope better with the stresses of life including exams, parents and relationships
• Lack of sleep can cause havoc with your skin and result in spots and pimples
Click here to take the sleep quiz

How much sleep do I need?

Research shows that teens need between 8 and 9 hours of sleep a night.
Teenagers often feel tired and you may feel you need more sleep during puberty and adolescence. This is probably because of all the hormonal and physical changes to both your body and brain.
If you have concerns ask yourself ‘how do I feel during the day?’ If you feel well rested and alert then you are probably getting enough sleep. However if you often feel tired, sleepy and lacking in energy it might be that you are getting too little sleep. If that’s the case, it may be worth seeing if the tips below can help you improve your sleep and how you feel during the day.

Recommended self-care and management tips?

There are lots of things that you can try to help you get a better night’s sleep:
• Try not to use screens of any kind 30 mins before bed
• Try to avoid sugary drinks or heavy meals before bed time
• Take regular exercise (see section on physical activity)
• Talk through any worries or problems
• Develop a sleep friendly bed time routine
You can develop a bed time routine that works for you by following some of the following tips:
• Keep your bedroom calm and device free
• Wind down before bed by reading a book or a magazine
• Have a relaxing bath
• Write a ‘to do’ list to clear your mind of distractions and worries
• Practice mindfulness
• Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing
• Have supper 30 mins before bed.
Some good things to try are:
• Toast
• A banana
• Cereal without sugar
• Try drinking warm milk, water or herbal tea such as camomile

What might be causing my sleep problem?

Everyone has the odd night when they struggle to drift off to sleep or when they wake up too early. The inability to get to sleep or sleep well at night, can be caused by a number of things such as stress, jet lag, a health condition, the medications you take, or even the amount of coffee you drink. It can also be caused by mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
Click here to take the sleep quiz.

Where to go for help if self-help is not working

Everyone has the odd night here and there where they don’t sleep well, or when they find themselves struggling to drift off. But if you’re regularly not sleeping well (most nights) for a long period of time (more than two weeks), you’re struggling to get up in the morning and feeling tired during the day as a result, then it’s time to talk to someone about it. You should also think about seeing your GP to make sure that everything is OK and to see if they might be able to help put it right.

Relevant pages

Relevant Links


NHS Choices

NHS Live Well



ChildLine is the UK’s free, confidential helpline for children and young people. We’re here for advice and support, by phone and online, 24 hours a day. Whenever and wherever you need us, we’ll be there. Phone: 0800 1111 (24 hours)