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Teenage Zone

Teenage Zone

Teenage Zone


Getting better sleep can have a positive impact on all aspects of your life. From helping the brain to remember and retain information to looking better, having clearer skin, shinier hair, feeling good about yourself. Sleep helps you build muscle tissue and growth hormones.

When your energy is low, and your battery is empty, you need sleep to recharge your battery before the next day.

Interesting facts:

Athletes focus on sleep as much as exercise and diet

Moderate to aerobic exercise like walking has been found to help people fall asleep faster

Yoga is known for its relaxation and sleep benefits

Sleep restores and revives us

Your body clock or circadian rhythm is set to sleep and wake up at the same time everyday but in your teens it can go haywire

Caffeine related food have a stimulating effect which can last between 5 and 7 hours

Deep and Dream sleep  (REM) sleep last for 1 to 1.5 hours, at the end of each cycle there is a natural sleep arousal, anything from mini to fully awake.

Electronics ‘steal’ your sleep, as they cause ‘excitement’ which releases stimulating hormones which aren’t helpful for sleep

We are the only animals that are able to ‘delay’ sleep

Remember, biscuits, caffeine, and a heavy meal before bed are not your friend and wont help you sleep.

Top tips

  • Use bed only for sleep. Do not watch TV, do homework or study in your bed. Ideally we want our minds and bodies to associate bed and bedroom with sleep and rest and not with any stress (eg stress of school work or stress resulting from not being able to settle to sleep).
  • Try not to sleep on a couch or sofa as you may not make the connection with bed and sleep
  • If you need to do homework in your bedroom try to allocate a different part of the bedroom for different activities that are not sleep.
  • Get a playlist with remixes to relax to, find the right songs to help you fall asleep. Sound waves are pretty good, soft rain,
  • Have a preset time to turn off screens, switch off, sleep, instead of responding to Insta and Tik Toc and all those other friendship demands.
  • Switching off, everyone needs good quality sleep. Write down your worries, to sort though and process emotions.
  • Talk to someone about how you are feeling, help to de-stress from the day
  • If you end up on a sofa or floor for the night, you probably aren’t going to sleep well.

Other Things you can do to help


Melatonin and Tryptophan help you sleep. Think about what you eat to help stimulate these chemicals.

  • Cottage cheese
  • Breakfast cereals with full cream milk
  • Chicken and turkey
  • Nuts
  • Full cream milk
  • Ice cream
  • Yoghurt

Make sure you’ve had enough to eat so that you don’t get hungry during the night and that you try to eat the right diet to stimulate production of essential chemicals to help you sleep.


Winding down
Breathing exercises to help you wind down

  1. Ensure that you are lying in your bed.
  2. Take in a big, slow breath through your nose.
  3. Feel the breath fill up your belly like a balloon.
  4. Count slowly to 4 while you breathe in.
  5. Slowly blow out your breath through your mouth like you are blowing out a candle.
  6. Count slowly to 6 while you breathe out.
  7. Repeat at least 10 times

Stretch and sink muscle relaxation

  1. Lie flat on your back with your leg and arms out straight.
  2. Point your toes as far as you can to the bottom of your bed and count to 5.
  3. Point your toes towards your head as much as possible and count to 5, now relax and let your legs sink into the bed.
  4. Now point your fingers and stretch your arms towards your legs as much as you can and count to 5.
  5. Now open and close your hands 10 times, making sure you stretch your fingers out wide, now relax and let your arms sink into the bed.
  6. Now shut your eyes as tight as possible and count to 5, now relax.
  7. Now lie on your bed and do 5 slow and deep breaths.
  8. If your body still feels restless do the stretching and sinking and breathing again cycle one more time.

Allergies or Food Sensitivities – Young people with autism can be more sensitive to foods like sugar, caffeine and additives which keep people awake. If you frequently have sweets or caffeine-rich drinks close to your bedtime, consider whether this may be impacting your sleep. 

Too much information – young people with autism can have significant problems with hypersensitivity to touch, visual stimuli or sound. This can be both distracting and distressing and make the process of falling asleep very difficult. 

An overstimulating room – do you get out of bed to play computer games or watch TV? If so, the room may be an over-stimulated environment. Consider creating a more restful bedroom environment

Noise – is there any noise inside or outside the home that may be disturbing your sleep? Young people with sensory issues can be particularly sensitive to noise – what may seem quiet for others can seem very loud to them. 

Light – is the room dark enough? Melatonin is produced when the room is dark. You may want to consider buying black-out curtains to make the room darker. 

Bedding – are you kicking the bedding off during the night and waking because you are cold? If so, consider using a double duvet tucked under the mattress of a single bed. You may also want to consider a comfortable sleep suit. 


Sleep and exams

How students manage exam-time stress can have a huge impact on their ability to perform under pressure. Exam time has always been stressful, but loss of sleep, increased caffeine consumption and unhealthy snacking are sure-fire ways to create a less than optimal exam-time performance.

Lack of sleep can end up clouding judgement or increasing the number of mistakes made. Students should try to get at least seven to nine hours of sleep a night, particularly on the night before an exam.

Here are The Sleep Charity’s tips to surviving the exam season:

  • Be prepared: The best way to manage stress and anxiety around exam time is to be as prepared as possible. Draw up a rough ‘revision timetable’ of what you need to revise when to ensure every subject is covered – and stick to it!
  • Sleep well: Most people need at least six to eight hours of sleep every night – so no pulling an all-nighter to cram for an exam! Lack of sleep results in poor coping strategies for managing stress and ‘fuzzy’ thinking. The best bet by far is to study often and in advance and build in a good rest before the big day. Sleeping on a comfortable, supportive bed can really help with a good night’s sleep.
  • Get physical: Physical exertion provides an outlet for mental stress. Let off some steam by walking, running, getting involved in a sport etc. It helps you to sleep better.
  • Prioritise: The sheer amount of revision to be done can sometimes seem overwhelming. Set priorities and work on the most urgent first. Break tasks down into manageable chunks and set goals that are reasonable.
  • Practice a relaxation technique: Relaxation techniques can help to create a sense of calm and are simple to perform in the bedroom without any special equipment. Deep breathing with your eyes closed is a simple way to remedy stress. Focus on your breath as you deeply inhale and exhale.
  • Ditch the devices: While it’s important to stay connected to friends during a stressful time, make sure to factor in a digital detox every evening. Turn off devices at least an hour before bed so you’re not tempted to talk about exams, revision or stay mentally stimulated by watching videos etc.
  • Change the environment: Persistence is key when it comes to studying, but a change of scene can reduce stress levels. Head outdoors to breathe in some fresh air and, if possible, take a walk to a picturesque place with trees, flowers or other comforting surroundings. Personalising up your space is another way to change the scenery when you can’t break away. Putting posters on the wall, or add some new cushions to the room.
  • Socialise – a little: Getting together with friends is another healthy way to blow off steam and chat with others who know just how you feel. Sometimes just being around other people who understand is enough to feel better – at other times, talk about your stress and ask for help from family and friends.

Teen Sleep Hub

Hunrosa Sleep Takeaway cards- Teenagers

The Sleep Charity

How to sleep well for teenagers

Young Minds

Free Connect Card

Start Now Cornwall- Wellbeing Toolkit- Sleep


An App Library is a place where you can find health or care apps and digital health products that can support you with your health and wellbeing. You can read detailed information about each app or digital health product, based on tests (assessments) carried out by ORCHA. Your healthcare provider or organisation can see everything in the App Library if they have a Pro Account and suggest or recommend an app for you. Or you can browse the App Library and select one or more apps for yourself. An App Library makes it easier to make sure you are downloading, or viewing the website of, the right app you want to use. We make every effort to make sure the App Library is up to date. To ensure this, all apps need to be assessed by ORCHA and updated at least once a year.

You can use this search engine to find help by typing “sleep” and choosing parent/carers or by age:

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