How to Actually Get to Sleep

Finding it hard to switch off at night?

I ALWAYS ask my clients if they're sleeping well

Because if they aren't bad things will happen

Sleep helps regulate appetite, mood and mental health

Meaning you'll snack more, feel crap and perhaps a bit down or lost each day

Not enough sleep also increases markers of inflammation

Chronic inflammation has been linked to certain diseases such as heart disease or stroke, and may also lead to autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis

Problem is, nobody knows how to sleep properly!

So today, my sleepy friends, let's go through THREE ways you can sleep better

And this isn't 3 crappy ways, like a twitter article, this is a mega post, so get your mind ready to learn!


The first step is setting your mind up for an enjoyable evening.

You must leave your emotions at work and not bring them home

For most people, this step alone solves most sleep problems

Here's how you're going to do it:

1) When you finish work you have to change state into 'relaxed mode'

2) Sit somewhere that is unrelated to work and breathe deeply for a few minutes. No phones! Nothing but you

3) Write down your wins for the day. You may have to dig deep. But if you can think of a few good points you'll REMEMBER the day as being good. The bad shit can F off and be forgotten. And you may struggle with this if you're really stressed. E.g. once I was having a terrible YEAR, and one day wrote down 'I took the bins out' as my only win for the day. But it was positive and so it was a win!

3) Write down what you're grateful for in life. Hopefully this step is easy, but give it a few mins and really think of new things you love about life & your relationships

4) Write your to-do list for the next day. 3-5 things MAX. Things that, if you got them done, would make you feel better.

5) Plan out your next day. Schedule it.

6) Listen to a good song, stop talking about work with others (and tell your loved ones to help you, e.g. "I had a good day thanks, but I just need some thinking time away from work"

This step alone will carve out really enjoyable evenings and make sleeping easier because you are more relaxed.


This is the 'sleep hygiene' stuff that will allow your body to switch off naturally and sleep deeply.

IMPORTANT - your body is an organic, living, soft and squidgy thing. It is not a machine. You can't press a button and expect 'sleep mode' to happen. It has to be eased into.

So here's how to ease your body into sleep each night...

> no screens 60-90 mins before bed. Reason is the blue light from your phone seems to mimic sunlight to the brain. Your body then stops its natural, timed release of sleep hormones because it doesn't know it's night time

> an hour before bed: turn the lights in your house off and put on warm, orange/red lamps. Make your house darker

> make your bedroom cool, your body HAS TO DROP TEMPERATURE in order to initiate sleep. Remember when you couldn't sleep on that hot, dry summer night? This is why

> no caffeine after 1pm. Even drop caffeine altogether if you're really struggling to sleep. This one is self explanatory (and bad news, I know)

> eat a high protein, high fat snack or meal around an hour before bed. If you go to bed hungry then food will be on your mind. On the flip side though, I really wouldn't worry if your schedule dictates you have to eat immediately before bed. That's fine.


Finally, here's a method you can use to manually walk yourself into sleep every time you want to.

What's great about this is the more you practice the better you get

This literally starts to become a pavlovian response and you'll eventually just start this routine and be asleep before you know it

I first learnt about this method by reading about fighter pilots who had to sleep in warzones, if they didn't sleep it would be very dangerous to jump into a fast jet!

So the air force came up with a way to teach their pilots to sleep anywhere, anytime, so they could just grab little bits of sleep here and there even in loud environments.

step 1) lie down and take 3-4 really deep breaths

step 2) relax all the muscles in your face, imagine your face is switched 'off'

step 3) continue to breathe deeply, now relax your face further, especially your eyeballs, let them roll back and simply let go....

step 4) breathe deeply and focus on your neck muscles, relax them, imagine the tension in your neck melting away...

step 5) continue to take deep breaths and move that relaxed, heavy feeling down into your shoulders, arms and hands. Imagine they are so heavy you can't even move them

step 6) repeat this process for the entire spine, hips, bum, legs and feet. Take as much time as you feel you want to spend on this

step 7) now finally, you have relaxed your muscles, now relax the mind - continually repeat "I'm relaxed and sleepy" in your mind over and over again. Or whatever phrase works for you

* * *

There you go

THREE mega ways to get to sleep

1) Decompress after work to set up a great evening

2) Physiologically allow your body to 'get ready' for sleep

3) Relax your body and mind into sleep

There's a lot of practical stuff here, so take the time to make up your own sleep routine if you have been struggling

This stuff really does work, and like I said earlier, sleep is your health foundation - go get some!

Rise Above


Anthony Shaw

Head Coach

Raw Strength Gym, Warrington

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