How to get a great nights sleep

A dog sleeping wearing an eye patch There are few things that having a great nights sleep won’t help improve. 

You’re tired – Go to sleep 

You’re ill – Go to sleep 

You have a bad day – Go to sleep

You’re hungover – Go to sleep

It doesn’t fix everything, however after a great nights sleep you’ll be in a far better position to be able to tackle it. It sounds simple enough, and yet getting a great nights sleep is something that’s really elusive for so many of us. 

We wake up feeling like we haven’t slept 

We cant get to sleep 

We cant stay asleep 

We wake up multiple times in the night 

We struggle to get up in the morning due to feeling exhausted 

All of these are symptoms that you aren’t mastering the process of getting to sleep, staying asleep and getting enough quality sleep. 

Its something that as a trainer I’ve heard from so many clients over the years. 

Now i am no expert on sleep but i can get you who is Matthew Walker, He wrote a book which you can find on amazon called ‘Why we sleep’ which is all about the little known science of sleep. 

Its his passion. 

For those of you who just want a quick overview of how to improve your sleep and more importantly improve the effects of it, keep reading. I’ll break this down in to the two main issues people face when it comes to sleep, from my understanding they are ‘Getting to sleep’ and ‘staying asleep’ if you get these two things down you’ll find you generally wake up feeling like you’ve had better quality of sleep and Therefore will have more energy from your sleep. 

Getting to sleep, generally this is less of an issue for people, usually people mention than they just couldn’t stay asleep, however lets look at this issue first, first is what yo are doing before you go to bed, typically you want to avoid anything stimulating before bed and instead opt for something relaxing, the is is where people can be advised to read a book but the wrong book choice can have the opposite effect of what you want, if you get drawn in and stimulated by what you are reading or scared if its a horror book, things like having a bath, reading something boring or activating the right side of your brain like a colouring book (yes even as an adult) if your mind is busy with all the things you need to do the next day, make a list, if you need to have a awkward conversation with someone, write them an email but don’t hit send, you need to take the information from the pre frontal cortex (this is the decision making and stress control centre of the brain)and send it to storage where your brain can do its job whist you are asleep.

If you are studying for a test, you are going to need sleep to do its job getting that information in to the memory centre of the brain (The Hippocampus)

How to get to to sleep 

Lower the room temperature (it’s easier to go to sleep in the cold than the hot) 

Have a hot bath or shower (this draws the heat away from the core) 

Avoid screen time before bed or anything that’s stimulating 

Get a massage (this releases endorphins and relaxes the body

Avoid caffeine after 12pm 

Avoid intense workouts later on 

Your aim should be to reduce the production of cortisol in the evening (your primary stress hormone) 

Have a high carb meal (complex carbs not simple sugars) 

Staying asleep 

This is a lot trickier for many people out there, there are a lot of things that mess up your sleep at night 

A few top choices being 

Cortisol production 

Room temperature 

Low magnesium levels 

Poor evening glucose levels 

Drinking diuretic drinks before bed (alcohol, coffee)

Ensure magnesium levels are adequate 

Don’t drink loads of fluids before be

Eat a decent meal for your evening meal to maintain enough glucose through the night, and no it wont make you fat because you ate before you went to bed, that’s a myth!


Waking up refreshed 

It’s not just sleeping that’s the issue for many, as much as sleep it’s self being the issue the other is feeling refreshed when you wake up.

Did you know you actually sleep in cycles through the night, typically a cycle lasts for 90 minutes and waking up mid cycle can actually make you feel worse.

This is why sometimes you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to get up, but it’s not waking up time you hit snooze for an extra 20 minutes and wake up feeling dreadful.

The best way to avoid this is when you wake up naturally, get up! Unless you have another 90 minutes of sleep before you are due to get up.

Next tip for waking up more alert is to invest (yes invest not buy, you are investing in your health) a sun lamp alarm clock, these light up 30 minutes before the alarm goes off and help bring you out of your sleep state before your alarm clock.

I’ve used one of these for years and noticed the difference when I’ve not had access to it.


I could go on and on about the benefits of sleep, how to do it better and how to get more from it. But its time fore me to get to sleep so good night!



Previous Post
How to get more from your personal training session

Related Articles