How can I improve my sleep?

Now this really is the million dollar question! So many of us struggle to get a good night’s sleep every night, leaving us feeling sluggish in the day and hitting the coffee or processed sugars to get rid of that mid-morning lull. There has to be a solution! So it’s a topic we took to our fitness coach Dan to see if he could offer any tips, fingers crossed……

Clients often come to me saying they lie there night after night, brain engaged not able to switch off and I’ll even admit that even for me, this happens! We all know how important sleep is and we all probably feel as though we never get quite enough. Seldom do I engage with a client who believes that they get so much sleep they feel consistently invigorated at work and in the gym.! But what if the key to better sleep isn’t necessarily the hours that you devote to the divan?

Let’s look at it from a different perspective. Progressive research insists that it is the quality and consistency of sleep that matters, not just the amount of hours, interesting hey!

What does the research say?

There are many different effects of exercise on our sleep from metabolic changes to nervous system adaptations but the general consensus of research indicates that exercise induced fatigue will stimulate a deeper night’s sleep. Check out the frontiers in Neurology’s work for an in depth understanding of exercise and sleep.

What actually changes through exercise?

Exercise brings about acute (short term) but subsequently chronic (short leading to long term) and chronic (long term) changes in our body.

Short term effects such as central nervous system fatigue mean our body needs a deeper sleep to recover. Short to long term effects include weight loss and improved fitness levels leading to better bodily function and quality of sleep. So whatever way you look at this, exercising should hopefully improve your quality of sleep.

How much exercise is recommended to improve sleep?

There is no set recommendation for exercise duration/intensity but the 5 x 30 minutes of physical activity a week seems to be a good start point.  Don’t panic this can be anything from a gym class, walk, run to even a swim. Whether you exercise just once or for a consistent period of time or once a day during the week, you’re sure to get the right results and improve your quality of sleep.

How many hours sleep do I need a night?

Everyone is different and some of us don’t need as much sleep as others, so see the below guide from the Sleep Federation to see if you are getting enough hours.

Age Hours recommended*
≥65 7-8
26-64 7-9
18-25 7-9
14-17 8-10



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