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7 Tips to Help You Sleep Better

Updated: May 14

The Importance of Sleep

In the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle, we often (correctly) emphasise the importance of diet and exercise however, we frequently overlook a critical component to accelerating your results: sleep. Good quality sleep is one of the most important factors of personal transformations - whether the goal is fat loss or muscle building.

It is thought that, on average, we now sleep less than 7 hours (6.8 to be exact) each night compared to 9 hours a century ago - a drop of almost 25%. Alongside the reduced sleep, the timing of sleep is shifting with late night work becoming more common place, screen time increasing and a rising percentage of the population working in shift based roles in 24/7 economy.

For our clients, typical factors that effect sleep are:

  • The nature of the work they do - stressful desk based jobs that require late nights in front of screen on spreadsheets or emails

  • Stress - constantly thinking about work, emails, projects, to do list - you can feel like there's a million thoughts in your head as you're trying to sleep or wake up throughout the night thinking about things

  • Travel, whether with work or for holidays, the change in schedule and timezone can effect your sleeping pattern and circadian rhythm, especially when travelling regularly

  • Client entertainment - late night dinners, drinks, networking events can all cause disruption to your sleeping pattern

  • Social events, again whether through work or friends / family, late nights can cause disruption to your regular sleeping schedule

  • Kids - having young ones can obviously cause a lot of disruption to your ability to rest and sleep throughout the night

The truth is, quality and duration of our sleep profoundly impacts various aspects of our health including weight management, muscle growth, hormone regulation, metabolism and overall well-being. Understanding the significance of sleep and implementing effective strategies to enhance its quality can be transformative for achieving your goals. 

So let's delve deeper into why sleep is crucial, explore actionable tips for better sleep, and discuss additional insights to maximise its benefits.

7 tips to help you sleep better
Fed up with bad sleep?

The Significance of Quality Sleep

Regulating Your Hormonal Balance

Sleep plays a pivotal role in regulating hormones involved in metabolism and appetite control. Inadequate sleep disrupts the balance of cortisol as well as ghrelin and leptin, leading to increased stress, appetite, and cravings for unhealthy foods. We all know that when we are tired we are more likely to binge or just want to eat foods that we know are not good for us. Extended periods of poor sleep can also reduce testosterone levels leading to less muscle mass, which has knock on effects for many health indicators.

Maintaining Healthy Cognitive Function

Optimal sleep is essential for cognitive function, memory consolidation, and emotional regulation. During sleep, the brain undergoes crucial processes that support learning, problem-solving, and mood stability. 

Physical Recovery

Quality sleep is vital for muscle repair, growth, and recovery. It allows the body to replenish energy stores, repair damaged tissues, and optimise hormonal secretion, facilitating muscle development and athletic performance.


The impact of reduced sleep on hormone regulation, inflammation and the ability to process glucose efficiently has been well documented. Simply put, when sleep quality is compromised there are a myriad of processes and pathways in the body that are effected, leading the body to become less efficient in performing the way it should. This slows down your metabolism and can (and will) have knock on effects when it comes to losing weight, losing fat and building muscle.

Immune Function

Adequate sleep strengthens the immune system, enhancing the body's ability to fight off infections and diseases. Chronic sleep deprivation, on the other hand, weakens immune function and increases susceptibility to illness. Being ill can put us out of training and routine for quite some time and this disruption will cause great detriment to our bodies and to our overall goals.

"But I Can Get By on 4/5/6 Hours Sleep!"

You may be able to do just that: get by, but there is substantial research to suggest that extended periods of low amounts of sleep will reduce physical and mental performance. So regardless of whether you think you think you are getting by or doing ok, you will very likely do better with more rest and good quality sleep.

7 Tips to Help You Sleep Better

The amount of sleep we get can be affected by many factors such as work schedule, stress, children, time we eat, use of electronics and so on…

But there are changes that we can implement to get the best sleep that we can. Not just amount either, but sleep quality.

1. Establish a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends, to regulate your body's internal clock and promote restful sleep. This will make us feel so much better in the long run and ensure that your body runs as a well oiled machine.

2. Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine

Engage in calming activities before bedtime, such as reading, taking a warm bath, changing in to your PJs and/or practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation to signal to your body that it's time to wind down. This routine should be carried out every evening before sleep so your body gets used to the feeling of getting off to sleep!

3. Optimise Your Sleep Environment

Make your bedroom conducive to sleep by ensuring it's dark (as dark as possible, pitch black!), quiet, and cool. A cooler bedroom has been shown to improve sleep quality in numerous studies. Invest in comfortable bedding, block out external light sources (even small ones like LED lights on laptop, phones, chargers etc), and minimise noise disturbances to create an ideal sleep environment. We often don’t invest time or money into our sleep but making sure your sleeping environment is appropriate and optimised as much as possible will provide great returns on your investment!

4. Limit Screen Time Before Bed

We all know it and yet we do it anyway. But be strict with yourself. Avoid using electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers directly before bedtime as the blue light emitted from screens can disrupt melatonin production and interfere with sleep quality. Wearing blue light glasses when working on a laptop or phone (or using a blue light screen protector) can also help in this area. For those of you that need to work late on your screens then try to create a gap of half an hour between using screens and going to bed. A physical book can help fill the gap!

5. Watch Your Diet and Hydration

Be mindful of what you eat and drink before bedtime. Avoid heavy meals, sugar, caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime as they can disrupt sleep and cause discomfort. Hydrate yourself fully throughout the day and don’t try and get it all in at one sitting. This will avoid your sleep being disrupted by regular bathroom breaks.

6. Incorporate Relaxation Techniques

Practice relaxation exercises such as progressive muscle relaxation or guided imagery, to calm your mind and body before sleep, reducing stress and promoting restful slumber.

7. Consider Natural Supplements

Explore natural supplements, such as magnesium, melatonin, or herbal teas like chamomile or valerian root, to support relaxation and improve sleep quality. Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.

Bonus - 8. Train Regularly!

One of the single best things you can do to help you sleep better is to train regularly. Physically tiring yourself will help you sleep better. You would have experienced this before when doing a hard days work - maybe moving house, doing DIY, going for a hike on holiday, walking 30k steps on a city break - you sleep like a log that night. It's not coincidence - physical activity burns energy and your body needs to sleep to recover. Lots of us these days have jobs that are mostly sedentary e.g. sitting at a desk, have diets that are high in calories and energy, and this leads to a situation where you're taking on lots of energy but not using it during the day, leading to issues when it comes to falling asleep. It's like giving sweets to children before bed - you know you shouldn't do it but in today's world we do the same thing to ourselves.

Bonus - 4 Tips for Maximising Your Morning Routine

The morning routine is just as important as your bedtime routine! Invest time and thought into sorting a good morning routine so that you can go about your day as refreshed and energised as possible.

1. Embrace Natural Light

Exposure to natural sunlight upon waking helps regulate your body's internal clock and enhances alertness and mood. Spend time outdoors or near a window in the morning to soak up natural light. Sunrise lamps are also great during winter months or if your schedule means that natural light is unattainable in the morning for you.

2. Stay Hydrated

Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning to rehydrate your body after a night's sleep. Proper hydration supports overall health and can help increase energy levels and mental clarity. Think of it like an internal shower. You’ll automatically feel better, be more alert and see the benefits immediately.

3. Practice Mindfulness or Gratitude

This isn't for everyone but can help if you're in to this sort of thing. Start your day with a moment of mindfulness or gratitude to set a positive tone for the day ahead. Reflect on things you're grateful for or engage in a brief meditation to centre your mind and cultivate a sense of calm. You’ll start your day more positively.

4. Fuel Your Body with Nutrient-Rich Foods

Enjoy a balanced breakfast containing protein, healthy fats, and fibre to provide sustained energy and support optimal nutrition. Choose whole foods like eggs, Greek yoghurt, fruits, and whole grains to fuel your body for the day ahead.

Bonus 2 - Sleep Facts

Here are some interesting facts on sleep to help you understand it's role and importance in your daily function.

Sleep Cycles: Sleep occurs in cycles of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and non-REM stages. REM sleep is when most dreaming occurs, and it's crucial for cognitive function and emotional regulation. Following the guidance above can help you to attain more REM sleep and therefore feel more rested and have more mental clarity and energy throughout the day.

Sleep Needs Vary: While adults generally need 7-9 hours of sleep per night, individual sleep needs can vary. Factors like age, genetics, lifestyle, and overall health can influence how much sleep a person requires. 

Brain Activity: Contrary to popular belief, the brain doesn't shut down during sleep; in fact, it's quite active. Different parts of the brain engage in processes like memory consolidation, emotional processing, and problem-solving during sleep. 

Sleep Deprivation Effects: Chronic sleep deprivation can have serious consequences, including impaired cognitive function, mood disturbances, weakened immune function, increased risk of chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes, and even a higher risk of accidents. Not to mention increased hunger due to hormone variations.

Sleep Across Species: Humans aren't the only ones that need sleep. Nearly all animals with a nervous system, from mammals to birds to reptiles, require sleep in some form. Even insects and some forms of marine life exhibit sleep-like behaviors.

Sleep Patterns Change with Age: Sleep patterns evolve throughout our lives. Babies spend most of their sleep time in REM sleep, while older adults may experience more fragmented sleep and less deep sleep.

Sleep Hygiene: As explained earlier in the post, practicing good sleep hygiene habits, such as maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, optimizing the sleep environment, and limiting caffeine and electronic device use before bed, can significantly improve sleep quality and overall well-being.

Feel Drunk? Due to the role of sleep in keeping cognitive function high, an extended period without sleep can have a similar effect to feeling drunk.

Mammals need varying levels of sleep - elephants, for example, can get by on 3 hours of sleep where as smaller mammals like rats might need up to 18 hours of sleep each day. This is due to the metabolism of the varying species (apparently smaller animals have higher metabolic rates and higher brain temperatures which means they need more sleep - we don't know why - we're personal trainers not zoologists).


Prioritising quality sleep is essential for achieving and maintaining optimal health and well-being. By understanding the importance of sleep and implementing effective strategies to enhance its quality, you can support weight loss efforts, improve cognitive function, boost immune function, and enhance overall vitality. 

Don’t be hard on yourself. Not everything is possible and expected but the small changes you implement can make for a much better quality of life and the difference it will have on your life and health are paramount.

Remember, consistency is key, so make sleep a priority in your daily routine and reap the numerous benefits it has to offer. 

Here's to restful nights and vibrant days ahead!


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