How to improve sleep quality

While living a busy lifestyle, sleep often gets pushed to the back burner.

If you are a coach, sleep is a vital topic to address with your client as sub standard sleep can have negative consequences on adherence to diet and exercise. 

However, more and more studies are showing the importance of sleep for our overall health and wellbeing as well as our longevity. 

So what exactly is sleep hygiene? Simply put, it’s the set of habits and practices that promote consistent, quality nighttime sleep, and full daytime alertness.

Ensuring good sleep hygiene is as vital to our well-being as maintaining a balanced diet or regular exercise.

The Consequences of Poor Sleep:

Before we delve into improving our sleep patterns, it’s essential to understand why it matters.

  • Physical Impact: Chronic lack of sleep increases our risk of health complications such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.

  • Mental Impact: Ever felt irritable after a restless night? Poor sleep can exacerbate mood disturbances, and even lead to anxiety or depression over time.

  • Cognitive Impact: Reduced attention span, impaired memory, and flawed decision-making are often the outcomes of insufficient rest.

Tips for Improving Sleep Hygiene:

Now that we’ve understood the stakes, let’s dive into actionable tips:

a. Establish a Regular Sleep Schedule:

Consistency is key. Our body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm) thrives on routine. By sleeping and waking up at the same time daily, even on weekends, we reinforce this rhythm. And while a daytime nap might seem tempting, particularly after a bad night, long naps can disrupt our sleep cycle. If you must nap, keep it brief.

b. Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine:

Transitioning from the hustle and bustle of the day to a calm bedtime can make a world of difference. Consider incorporating calming activities like reading, gentle stretching, or even meditation. And as captivating as our screens can be, their blue light can hamper the production of melatonin, a hormone responsible for sleep. Aim to switch off at least an hour before bed.

c. Optimize Your Sleep Environment:

Your bedroom should be a haven for sleep. Ensure it’s dark, quiet, and cool. Investing in blackout curtains, earplugs, or a white noise machine can be beneficial. A comfortable mattress and pillows are equally vital. Remember, your bed should be associated with sleep and intimacy – not work or binge-watching your favorite series.

d. Mind Your Diet:

That late-night coffee or alcohol might seem harmless, but both can significantly interfere with your sleep cycle. Likewise, heavy meals can cause discomfort, making it harder to sleep.

E. Limit Liquid Intake Before Bed:

Reduce those nighttime bathroom trips by cutting back on liquids in the evening.

F. Manage Stress and Anxiety:

Easier said than done, but managing daily stressors can dramatically improve sleep quality. Consider methods like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or journaling to find what works best for you.


Quality sleep is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. By prioritizing our sleep and implementing the tips mentioned above, we can pave the way for better physical, mental, and cognitive health.

Further Reading

Search the following studies for some further in depth reading;

Sleep and Cognitive Function:

    • Study Title: Sleep, learning, and memory
    • Researchers: Walker MP, Stickgold R, etc.
    • Summary: This study suggests that sleep has a critical role in brain function, particularly as it relates to learning and memory. Sleep helps consolidate memories, enhancing learning and problem-solving skills.

Sleep and Emotional Regulation:

      • Study Title: The Emotional Impact of Sleep Deprivation
      • Researchers: Yoo SS, Gujar N, Hu P, Jolesz FA, Walker MP.
      • Summary: The study indicates that a lack of sleep can negatively impact emotional regulation and can increase emotional reactivity to negative stimuli.


Sleep and Immune Function:

        • Study Title: Role of sleep and sleep loss in cellular functioning and immune regulation
        • Researchers: Besedovsky L, Lange T, Born J.
        • Summary: This research shows that adequate sleep is essential for optimal immune function and that sleep loss can impair immune defenses.

Sleep and Metabolic Health:

    • Study Title: Sleep and metabolic function
    • Researchers: Knutson KL, Spiegel K, Penev P, Van Cauter E.
    • Summary: The study discusses how chronic partial sleep loss may increase the risk of obesity and diabetes. It sheds light on how inadequate sleep can lead to metabolic and endocrine alterations.

Sleep and Cardiovascular Health:

    • Study Title: Short Sleep Duration as a Risk Factor for Hypertension
    • Researchers: Gottlieb DJ, Redline S, Nieto FJ, Baldwin CM, Newman AB, Resnick HE, Punjabi NM.
    • Summary: This study links short sleep duration with an increased risk of developing hypertension, highlighting the importance of adequate sleep for cardiovascular health.

Sleep and Longevity:

    • Study Title: Sleep and mortality – A population-based 22-year follow-up study
    • Researchers: Kripke DF, Garfinkel L, Wingard DL, Klauber MR, Marler MR.
    • Summary: It suggests a correlation between sleep duration and mortality, revealing that both reduced and excessive sleep can be associated with shorter lifespan.