Dr. Heather McKee's Evidence Based Insights

Top 3 ways to build healthy sleep habits

Top 3 ways to build healthy sleep habits

Sleep is a crucial cornerstone habit. Sleep deprivation has been shown to impact your mood, hunger levels, your ability to resist temptation, your exercise performance, and your ability to make healthy food choices. Basically sleep impacts your ability to execute and be successful in all your healthy habits. Therefore, getting more quality sleep is a huge priority if you wish to stick with your healthy habits long term. 

Your routine is everything when it comes to both sleep quality and quantity. You want to go back to the same principals you would use with children in terms of training sleep patterns that will provide maximum impact.

Below are some suggestions on how to enhance your sleep routine.

1. Timing matters

·       8pm-12am (or 8-11pm if you want to maximise the restorative processes for skin) is the optimal time to go to sleep

·       In order to support this, set yourself a sleep alarm to remind you to start winding down and going to bed

·       Avoid social jet lag where possible. Research shows you cannot ‘catch up’ on sleep on the weekend, where possible it is best to stick to the same routine 7 days a week

·       Experiment with a “wind down hour” where you start to do less stimulating activities and more soothing activities that will help your body and mind get into a sleep zone. For example; journaling, reading, listening to music, lighting candles, using oils, drinking camomile tea 

2. Create the right environment 

·       Lighting is key to both getting to sleep and waking up.

o   For getting to sleep: reduce overhead/harsh lighting in the evening using side lamps and candles to reflect the outside darkness cycle.

·       Reduce blue light by avoiding TV watching (this is a stimulating activity), and screen time. Apply blue light filters to your mobiles, and f.lux app to your other screens.

·       Block out lights in your room, black out curtains or eyemasks can help. Aromatherapy associates are my favourite for travelling: https://www.spacenk.com/uk/en_GB/accessories/tools/skincare-tools/relax-holistic-silk-eye-mask-MUK200012551.html

·       Use a light lamp to simulate the outside environment i.e. sunset and sunrise. Allowing you to get to sleep quicker and wake easier (this is especially important for winter). Lumie is my favourite and can be found on Amazon: https://www.lumie.com/collections/all

·       Our body temperature often needs to drop before we can fall into restful sleep. Keeping your bedroom environment cool can help. Silk sheets and pillowcases (which are also helpful for wrinkle prevention in front sleepers) can help as well as specialist cooling pads https://www.chilitechnology.com/products/chiligel-cooling-pad

3. Diet and exercise can both help and hinder

·       Intense exercise in the evening can prevent restful sleep however daily exercise in the morning is beneficial for sleep. Gentle exercise such as yoga is best for evenings. You can read more about the interaction of sleep and exercise on our blog here

·       Whilst certain foods can disrupt sleep, red wine, chocolate, coffee. Other foods are known to enhance sleep, turkey, almonds, camomile tea. Additionally, taking magnesium supplements or using magnesium creams can help boost sleep quality. I use: https://betteryou.com/transdermal-magnesium


Want to know more about how to establish a healthy morning routine? You can read more here

Published on 17th Jul 2018 at 12:00 by Heather McKee

Free 2-step Habits Kickstarter Video Series!

Join the revolution of habit-changers making life-lasting changes

P.S. I offer free 20 minute consultations to help you kickstart your mindset for healthy habit success, click here to book yours now.

Transform your weight loss outlook and get the mindset for success now. Book your free 20-minute phone consultation for the next available slot here.

The Bite Sized Habits Podcast

The Bite Sized Habits Podcast is all about serving up bite sized, digestible evidence-based guidance from top health and behaviour change experts and some inspirational real life stories to help you to get the mindset for success and stay there.

What people are saying about The Habit Changer programme:

"You were put in my path for a reason. Over the course of our sessions a light bulb went off with me!!! That’s when it all changed for the better."
- Orla

"This programme is different from everything else you’ve ever done. It wasn’t just loads of advice. I liked learning and thinking about my goals – it wasn’t about someone else, it was about me specifically. We all know what we need to do, we need to exercise more and eat better but this was a different approach, it was empowering. Doing the programme was a light bulb moment for me, it became 100% obvious to me where I had failed in the past and what. I should do in the future. I feel so much more in control of my weight now but not only that I feel stronger, more relaxed and happier."
- Cathy

"It’s a different way of thinking a different perspective. All diets fail this isn’t a diet it’s different. It’s a lifestyle change it helps look at the behaviours behind why you eat rather than just solving the symptoms. It shows you if you take small but deliberate actions what the cumulative changes would be . I certainly feel positive I’m heading in the right direction. This isn’t a quick fix its looking at your motivation – changing your mindset and that helps change your behaviours."
- Colm


By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our Cookie Policy. DISMISS NOTICE

Copyright ©2019 Dr. Heather McKee

Registered in United Kingdom (Reg. No. 12021384) with the registered address at Flat 4, 7 Enfield Road, London, N1 5EN, London, United Kingdom

This work is in no way meant to replace any medical advice. Dr. McKee is Non-HCPC-registered. Photography by Dylan Madden.

Designed by Aeronstudio™