Paediatric Anaesthesia, Pain and Sleep Service
Sleep hygiene is all about creating a good daily routine and bedroom environment to allow you to have regular, good quality sleep.
I have questions about sleep hygiene, what should I do?
Write all of you questions down and bring them with you to your next appointment.
Everyone in your team is happy to speak to you about sleep hygiene.
How to set up a good daily routine
If we have a good daily routine, our body will know when bedtime is approaching and that it should switch off soon to let you sleep. If the daily routine is bad, then your body will not be ready for sleep at night. This means that you might find it hard going to sleep, or you might wake up a lot during the night.
There are some simple things that you can do to improve your daily routine and have a regular body clock.
- It is important to get up and have a bedtime at the same time every day (even if it’s not a school day). It is also important to try not to nap during the day, even if you are tired.
- Doing some exercise will help to tire your body out. We know that even going for a very short walk or just getting some fresh air in the morning is helpful. You should try to do this every day.
Eating, drinking and sleeping
Did you know that what you eat and what you drink can affect how well you sleep at night?
Here are some useful tips to help to improve your diet and your sleep:
- Caffeine is a chemical found in lots of drinks.
You should try to limit the number of drinks containing caffeine and definitely do not have any after 4pm!
Caffeine is found in tea, coffee, energy drinks, and cola (even the diet and decaf varieties). Ask the your team about how much caffeine you and your family are drinking.
- Sugary foods and drinks can also give you a burst of energy, so it is best to avoid these before bedtime.
Did you know that fruit and fruit juices contain natural sugars that can still give you the same energy burst?
- Eating a light snack before bed can be really helpful to let your body wind down.
Be careful though, because eating too much can make you feel bloated and uncomfortable. Ask your team about appropriate healthy choices based on what you enjoy.
- Have you heard of having a warm milky drink at night to help you sleep? It’s true!
Milk contains Tryptophan, an essential protein that helps us to sleep. It is also found in oats, dairy products, soybeans and meat.
Making your bedroom ready for sleep
Having a busy bedroom full of bright colours, toys, activities and screens might seem fun, but they do not help with sleep. They may keep you feeling too awake to sleep.
There are some simple things to think about when making your room ready for sleep:
- Decorate your room with calm colours;
this includes the walls, bedding, as well as posters and pictures.
- It is best to put all toys and activities away.
They can be very tempting if you are awake at night!
- Having a dark bedroom is best to help sleep.
If you are scared of the dark, try dimming the lights or using a soft glow lamp. Do not sleep with lights on.
- Watching TV or using a phone or a tablet is very stimulating, even with filters on the screen. Do not put these on for at least one hour before sleep.
- Don’t make the bedroom too warm.
A cooler room will help you get to sleep and stay asleep.
Having a bedtime routine will train your brain to know that night is approaching and will help to make you feel sleepy.
There are lots of helpful things that you can do to help your brain get ready to switch off:
- Try not to be too active in the last couple of hours before bed. Exercising in the evening can make you more awake!
- Set time aside in the evening to write down your thoughts and worries or talk them through with family. Try not to take your worries to bed with you. If you feel that you have a lot to do, write a list of jobs and work that you need to do the next day.
- Start your bedtime routine and go to bed at the same time every day. Try to keep bedtime the same for school and non-school nights.
- A warm bath 30-60 minutes before bed is very relaxing. Getting out of the bath also drops your body temperature and this will help you feel sleepy. Unfortunately, the same does not happen with a shower.
- Massage can help some people to relax.
- Dimming bedroom lights 30 minutes before sleep can improve relaxation and help set prepare your body that sleep is coming.
- Reading and listening to calming music are good activities before bed.
- Ask us about other mindfulness and relaxation activities to do in the hour before sleep.
Complete before bed
|…… / …… / ……
|Did you drink
tea or coffee?
|Did you drink
|Did you nap
during the day?
How long for?
|Did you have
a slump of
energy in the afternoon?
|Did you feel
|What time did
you go to bed?
|What time did
you fall asleep?
|Did you wake
up in the night?
How many times?
|How long did
you sleep for?
|Was your sleep
bad, ok or good?
|This morning, do
you feel tired?
|Are you going to school today?
Who is my team?
Paediatric pain team
- Dr Jennifer Noyes – Consultant in Paediatric Anaesthesia and Pain Management
- Victoria Robinson – Senior Specialist Physiotherapist
- Rosey Ferris – Consultant Clinical Psychologist
- Caroline Marsden – Specialist Pain Sister
- Dr Helen Muir – Consultant in Paediatric Anaesthesia and Sleep
Medicine pre-assessment team
- Dr Amy Norrington – Consultant in Paediatric Anaesthesia and Pre assessment
- Dr Kate Woods – Consultant in Paediatric Anaesthesia and Pre assessment
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust would like your feedback. If you wish to share your experience about your care and treatment or on behalf of a patient, please contact The Patient Experience Department who will advise you on how best to do this.
This service is based at The James Cook University Hospital but also covers the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, our community hospitals and community health services.