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What Should I Do If I Can't Sleep?


I go to bed on time but sometimes I lie there for a while and can't fall asleep. What should I do?
– Thomas*

Changes in rhythm mean it can be hard for teens to fall asleep sometimes.

If you find yourself lying awake in bed thinking about everything from your homework to whether it's your turn to walk the dog in the morning, you may need a sleep reboot. Try this:

Getting up for a short while can help if you have trouble falling asleep sometimes or if you occasionally wake up and can't go back to sleep. But you don't want to have to do it every night. If you have trouble falling asleep, it's best to train your body to wind down and relax with a pre-sleep routine each night. Doctors call this "good sleep hygiene."

Good sleep hygiene includes activities that signal the body it's time to sleep, like going to bed at the same time each night, shutting down technology, and keeping your room dark. It also includes avoiding caffeine or other stimulants for several hours before bedtime.

It can help to treat sleep like any other goal: build a plan that helps you focus on it and get the results you want!

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: January 2015


Note: All information on TeensHealth® is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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