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 More and more scientific studies are heralding the importance of sleep for our overall health. And with distractions of technology, social media – even an abundance of light – the human body is getting less and less good sleep.

Sleep deprivation

Most people need at least 7 hours of sleep a night, but it does vary for each person. When you don’t get enough sleep, you can experience crankiness, decreased problem-solving skills, decreased concentration, lowered mental alertness, and drowsiness or falling asleep during the day.

When you do get enough sleep, you have more energy and a better mood.

What can cause sleeplessness?

Sometimes even when you go to bed early enough you just can’t fall asleep, or your sleep is restless. Some factors that can cause this sleeplessness, or insomnia, are:

  • eating late
  • anxiety or excitement about upcoming events
  • watching tv, being on the phone or computer
  • distractions from others (loud music, cars driving by)

Ways to relax before bed

Your body needs transition time before it can rest. Some things you can do to help power down include:

  • Meditation or yoga
  • Sketch noting – drawing what you are thinking to help clear your mind
  • Play relaxing music or white noise, especially if you need to drown out noise from other people
  • Avoid television and stimulating light sources from computer monitors and phones
  • Avoid stimulating activities just before bed, including smoking and eating and drinking items with caffeine or alcohol
  • Try to go to bed at the same time every night; your body will get used to your schedule and it will be easier to relax

Track your sleep pattern

Not sure you’re getting enough sleep? Track your sleep patterns for a few weeks by journaling when you go to bed and when you wake up, as well as what factors affected the actual amount of sleep you got. This will help you know more about yourself and your own sleep needs.

See a doctor when necessary

If you’ve tried several techniques and are still not able to get good rest, seek medical advice. Your detailed sleep journal can help your doctor assess how much sleep you need, and can help you identify strategies to ensure you are getting enough rest. This could include more changes in your environment or even medication.

For more information on insomnia check out the Mayo Clinic  website.

Acknowledgement: Portions of this fact sheet were originally developed by youth and staff at and adapted from, a website for Native Youth by Native Youth. Special thanks to Suzanne Zane, Maternal and Child Health Epidemiologist, 
Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board



Many articles in this section were adapted from, a website for Native Youth by Native Youth