Step 1: Check In
Ask participants to report back on their Sleep Trackers. Did they use them? What did they learn? What surprises were there?
Step 2: Better Sleep Tips
Ask for participants to share their ideas about ways to improve sleep or things they do that work for them. Make a list that you can type up and share with the group. Here are some suggestions from sleep experts:
- Set up a regular routine time for sleeping and rising every day of the week; maintain that same routine on weekends and vacation.
- Avoid computer screen time shortly before bedtime. The blue light from a computer screen can prevent your body from releasing the hormone melatonin, which plays a key role in falling sleep.
- Create a space that helps you relax and sleep, and also wake up at the right time in the morning. Keep it cool, quiet and dark. If you need to, get eyeshades or blackout curtains. Let in bright light in the morning to signal your body to wake up.
- Try guided meditation before bed.
- Use aromatherapy. Lavender oil has a calming, sleep-supporting affect.
- Avoid drinking caffeine 4-6 hours before bedtime.
- Get comfortable bed/bedding; eliminate clutter in your bedroom.
- Get regular exercise, but not right before bed.
- Find a good temperature for sleeping (cool is often the best).
- Avoid taking naps during the day. If you do nap, limit the time to 15 minutes or less. Do not nap later than 3 p.m.
- Avoid eating a heavy meal or spicy foods before bedtime. If you are hungry at bedtime, eat a light snack (complex carbs such as whole grain toast with a thin spread of peanut butter or a thin slice of cheese; bananas are a good choice, too).
- Avoid nicotine before bed. Quitting smoking or cutting down can help you fall asleep better and wake up fewer times each night.
- Avoid watching the clock.
- If you think you may have depression, anxiety or excessive stress, talk with your health care provider. Problems staying asleep can be a sign of depression.
- If you think you many have another health issue that’s affecting your sleep, talk with your health care provider.
- Many people wake up at night for various reasons. If you need to get up to use the bathroom, try to use a nightlight to see, instead of turning on a main light. Bright lights may keep you from falling asleep
- If you get up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep, do not stay in bed.
- Leave the bedroom and do a quiet activity (such as reading).
- Do not do school work or use electronics.
- When you are tired, lie down again and you should be able to get back to sleep in about 20 minutes.
Step 3: Just Breathe
Teach young people a quick, easy, de-stressing strategy using the “Just Breathe” meditation. Either play the recording or read the instructions aloud and have participants follow along. Afterward discuss how they feel. What do they notice about their bodies? their minds?
Step 4: Take the Chiller Challenge
Chillers are quick, helpful messages about how to slow down and step back from stress. The Chiller Challenge is a creative outlet for self-expression and individuality. Click on the “Chiller Challenge” tab and show participants the short video. Then see the “Chiller Challenge for Teens” guidelines and examples. Finally, give young people some time to work on creating their own Chillers either for themselves or to submit to Change to Chill.
Step 5: Reflect
Ask for volunteers to share with the group the Chillers they developed or started. Give everyone who wants to an opportunity to show or talk about what they’ve done.