Medical Research Shows How To Sleep Better

If you’re one of the millions of Brits across the UK who are struggling to combine a goods night sleep with the pressures of family and work commitment, the good news is that you’re not the only one and by making some simple easy adjustments to you lifestyle, will iron out 95% of problems that you’re having sleeping.

Research suggests they average person in the UK needs between eight and nine hours of sleep every night. Typically those who sleep less that this start to run into health problems to include the brain having the ability to tell when it is not functioning correctly to health and social problems in extreme cases where the person develops insomnia.

How Many Hours

Before you think about making adjustments to your sleeping habit, you need understand how much sleep your body actually needs each night function correctly. Next time you’re on holiday and have had the initial few days to get over the tiredness and start to relax, count the number of hours that your sleeping for.

Typically this will be between six and ten hours depending on the level of activity you have taken during the day and how old you are. Remember, the older you get, the less your body needs to sleep.

Monitor how many hours you’re sleeping each night and over a few nights, record this information. Personally, when i tried this, i slept for 7 hours almost religiously every night. Once you have this number, you can start to make a sleeping plan which will help you get a better nights sleep.

Bed Time

Once you have worked out how much sleep your body needs every night, the next step is make sure that you go to bed at the same time every night whilst allowing yourself enough time to get in my case a seven hour sleep.

It’s very important that you stick to going to bed at the same time every night as research has shown that by doing this, your body get used to the time it’s meant to fall asleep. Of course this is not possible every night, but you need to get into to the repetition of following the 80/20 rule whereby as long as you’re doing this for 80% of the time, the other 20% will not matter. One point, I would recommend that you stick to going to bed at the same time for at least two months before you start using the 80/20 rule. This way, you give your body a chance to get used to the timings that it needs to follow before you start mixing it up.

Alarm Clock

Whilst going to bed at the same time every night is very important. getting up at the same time everyday is very important as well. By getting up at the same time everyday, you’re getting your body into a rhythm of both how much it can sleep every night, when it will go to sleep and when it needs to wake up.

Research has shown that people who go to bed and get up at the same time each and every day have a better quality of sleep than those that don’t follow a sleeping plan.

Again, research shows that exceptions are okay, however if you want to have a lie-in, try to make it no more than one hour each day, as this will give your body the time to adjust.

How To How To Sleep Better

Once you have worked out how much sleep your body actually needs, set a time to go to bed and a time to wake up, the next step is actually getting to sleep once you’re in bed.

Over the years there has been a lot of research to help people get to sleep and especially stop those who are suffering from insomnia get to sleep naturally without taking prescription drugs.

Below are 10 medically research facts to help you sleep

Bed-Time Rules

Work and sleep should not take place in the same place. This means that you should not be reading emails, looking at social media or even watching TV. Your bed is for sleeping and therefore getting into a routine whereby you work in one room and sleep in another has been proven to help you fall asleep.

Mobile screens such as those found on smartphones and IPads emit a blue light that helps your brain to produce melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that that the brain produces effectively to stay awake and when by using your iPad in bed, you’re telling your brain to stay awake rather than go to sleep.

Don’t Eat Before Bedtime

The midnight feast where you have had an early dinner before 6pm because your trying to loose weight, however it’s almost bedtime and you’re starving.

It may be tempting to reach for the kitchen cupboards and make your self a sandwich or find something in the fridge, however eating before you go to bed is a sure way to end up with heartburn which can easily ruin a nights sleep.

The problem with eating before you go to bed is your metabloism tends to slow down whilst your sleeping. This means that the digestive process is also slower and there is more chance that acid build up in your stomach will start to cause problems.

Don’t Touch Alcohol Right Before Bed

If you drink enough alcohol to knock yourself out, you will go to sleep, but it will be a terrible sleep that probably will not do anything for your tiredness. Alcohol stops you getting a good nights sleep because……..

On the same note, don’t think that a quick nightcap will do you any good. Yes it might help you get to sleep, however as soon as the alcohol wears off, it will wake you back up again and getting back to sleep, once you have already slept for a few hours is very difficult.


Relaxation before bed is an important part of getting to sleep. It’s purely psychological, but sends a signal to your brain that you’re getting ready to go to sleep. What you do to relax really does not matter, however i have had patients that found a lot of success with meditation. If you think this could work for you, check out the UCLA Research Center as it has a selection of free downloadable meditations that have been designed to help you sleep.

The Snooze Button

We discussed the importance of waking up at the same time each day to get your body into the rhythm of when it’s meant to be asleep and when it’s meant to be awake. The snooze button on your alarm clock is the killer to this process and does not help you wake up at all. Research shows that hitting the snooze button, falling back to sleep only makes it harder and takes you longer to get your body up and running.


Taking exercise each day is not only important for your health, but it also help you refresh the body. A morning workout is a fantastic way to kick start the body, increase your metabolic rate and clear the brain setting yourself up for a productive day.

Whilst working out in the afternoon or evening is fine, don’t leave it until late at night as those endorphin’s swirling around your brain will not help you get to sleep.

Stop Worry Because You Cannot Sleep

Research shows that people who worry about getting to sleep start to develop negative emotions to sleeping such as fear and anger. This will not help you get to sleep and will instead have the opposite effect – lead to insomnia.

When your worried that you cannot sleep, your body produces stress hormones that make it even harder to get to sleep.

If you’re already at this stage, try stimulus control therapy as it has been proved to help breaking those associations. Rather than associate sleep with fear, you now associated sleep with sleeping.

If You Cannot Sleep

If you really cannot sleep, don’t simply lie there worrying about how the next day will go and the problems that you’re going to face with lack of sleep. Try to get out of bed and do something relaxing such as reading a book. Don’t use you computer or watch TV as these will cause you brain to start producing melatonin which will wake you up even more.

Trying Staying Awake

Recent medical research on insomniacs suggest that those that actually tried to stay awake, had a better quality of sleep than those that tried to sleep. This is because those that tried to stay awake stopped worrying about not sleeping and relaxed their brain to doing nothing.

What’s The Best Sleeping Position For A Good Nights Sleep

The best sleeping position is a personal choice, however there are a positions that will help you sleep and those that will cause you to wake up with aches and pains. Medical research has shown that the best position to sleep in is on your back whilst using a thin pillow as it allows you to keep you head, beck and spine in a neutral position and therefore elevates back and neck pain, however it will not help with snoring if you’re prone to this. It’s also been said that sleeping on your back reduces wrinkles, however this is very much more of a myth than actual fact and I cannot find any accurate medical research to back this up.

Across the internet, there are many different explanations to the best and worst positions to sleep in with some even taking into account your personality to decide which is the best position to sleep in. Typically however there are three key positions that the average person will sleep in, the back, the side and front. Again, we can look at the Pro’s and Con’s of each position, but which is going to give you the best nights sleep is really a personal choice.

Sleeping On Your Back

As mentioned above, the key benefit to sleeping on your back is your posture. Keeping your head, neck and back in a straight line will benefit you more than anything else as it allows your body to complete relax and not being forced into any contortions.

Before we get into the key con’s, if you’re going to sleep on your back, make sure that you only use a single, soft pillow. The aim of sleeping on your back is to keep your posture straight. If you use multiple pillow, you end up raising the head which creates a kink between the head the shoulders and in turn causes neck pain.

There is also a lot of frankly myths across the internet that sleeping on your back reduces wrinkles on your face. Yes I can see the idea behind this as I understand that allowing the skin around your face to breath rather than it being squeezed up into a pillow at night will help reduce wrinkles, however there is no medical studies or any scientific research to support this.

Sleeping on your back is not all positive as it does promote snoring and sleep apnea. When you sleep on your back, gravity forces the base of your tongue into the airway which obstructs breathing and increase snoring. If you suffer from snoring, it’s generally recommended that you sleep on your side, however if you suffer from back and neck pain, I would advise you to sleep on your back and look at snoring aids to reduce your snoring.

Sleeping On Your Side

Across the world, the sleeping on your side is the number one choice to get a good nights sleep and whilst this information is not entirely accurate given that we’re unconscious during sleep, most people will start off sleeping on their side before moving to other positions.

The best side position to sleep in is the one that keeps your head, neck and spine in a straight line and therefore the number of pillows that you need to achieve this does depend on the width of your shoulders. What you do with your legs, is really a personal choice. The fetal position where you effectively curl up on your side is generally considered a great position to sleep in.

The choice of whether you sleep on the left or the right side is really up to you however sleeping on the left side is generally consider better than sleep on the right side for both blood pressure and digestion. This comes down to how the organs in your body are situated with the heart being on the right side and the stomach being in the middle, but the TUBE being directed towards your mouth on the right side.

Sleeping on the left side, stretches out the heart which allows it to pump better and therefore increasing blood flow and keeps the stomach straight which helps to ease heartburn and acid reflux.

The key problems with sleeping on your side really refers towards the flow of blood around your body. Firstly lying on your side means that most of your upper-body weight is situated directly on your shoulder/arm which causes restricted blood flow to the arms and often causes “pins and needles” where especially the hand has suffered from restrictive blood flow.

Sleeping On Your Stomach

Sleeping on your stomach is not recommended in any cases. I have heard reports that sleeping on your stomach directly reduces snoring, however whilst this is true, the side-effects far out weight any benefits from reduced snoring. If you’re trying to reduce your snoring at night, I would highly recommend that you look at snoring aids, rather than sleeping on your stomach.

The key problem with sleeping on your stomach is that is reduces the natural curve of the spine which can lead to lower back pain, whilst sleeping with your head fixed to one side will also cause neck pain. If this is the only position that you can sleep in, you need to use pillows and start training your body to sleep on the side. Start by sleeping half on the pillow and half on the bed and the increase the number of pillows under you until your lying at 45 degrees.

The Five Principles of Getting A Good Nights Sleep

Sleeping, it’s something that we all need to do but something that many of us struggle with on a daily basis. Medical studies suggest the average human body needs between six and nine hour per night to be fully functional during the day, however there are extreme cases where people are sleeping much less or much more each day.

The human body needs sleep to effectively reset the brain and this does take time. In this section we’re looking at how to get a good nights sleep, especially for those who struggle to sleep.

The single most important advice to getting a good nights sleep and be fully functional during the day is to make sure that you go to bed and wake up at the same time each and everyday. A late night should not be more than one hour after your regular going to bed time and a “lie in” again should not be more than one hour after your regular wake up time.


Studies across the world have shown that there are many reasons why some people have a difficult time sleeping, however they are all addressed easily and only but the very severe cases, do not require any forms of medication or sleeping aids.

For the average human, sleep occurs when your naturally tired, in a comfortable place, warm and can relax easily into a deep sleep. If you find your self unable to sleep the first check you need to do is your surrounding area.
Hard/Soft Mattress or Pillow

Are you uncomfortable because your mattress or pillow is too hard or soft? Being able to lie down in a comfortable position is one of the key principles in getting a good nights sleep. If your mattress is either to hard or soft, this can be difficult. If you cannot get yourself into a comfortable position firstly check your mattress and consider replacing it with either a harder or softer mattress depending on your personal preferences.

The same applies to your pillow where again this is personal choice, however if your pillow does not give you the support that you need, it can easily cause a bad nights sleep.

Remember, how hard or soft a mattress needs to be, does depend on your weight and in many cases a husband and wife sleeping in the same bed will require a different hardness to get comfortable. If you’re looking for a new bed, it’s important that you choose a split mattress that offers support for both parties.


The second principle to getting a good nights sleep refers to the level of noise in your room. Both too much and too little can leave you struggling to sleep, however it’s a personal preference to which is more suitable for your needs.

If your the type of person that is always thinking about something they either have not done or need to do the next day, background noise could really help you get to sleep. In this case I would highly recommend that you look at a White Noise Generator which will give your room some background noise.

On the same token, maybe your room is too noisy because your partner snores or you live in an inner city apartment where you can hear the traffic. If this is the case then you need to think about getting ear plugs. Many of my patients have not tried or are worried about using earplugs given the fear of not waking up in the morning. Technology has moved on in the past few years to the point where now vibration alarm watches that you can wear on your wrist exist and will wake you up in the morning.

Your Diet

The third key principle of sleeping is to watch your diet especially what and when you eat and drink. If you cannot sleep because you enjoy coffee and have just had a double express before bed, this is probably your problem.

On the same token sleeping on a full stomach is never a good idea and whilst often you will feel tired after you eat, you need to make sure that you resist the temptation to sleep after you eat.

Part of your diet need to be your exercise regime or lack of it as is so often the case. The human body needs to be tired in order to sleep properly, however so often the case for insomnia is that the body does not need the sleep that it’s getting. The easiest way to speed up this process of getting the body tired to make sure your taking 30 minutes of activity each day. Recent medical studies have found the best way to make the body tired is to….., however there are other options here.

Preparing To Sleep

The first principle of getting a good nights sleep is to make sure that you prepare to sleep. There is no point in taking a cold shower, drinking coffee or worst of all, watching a video on your smartphone or IPAD.

Technological devices are utterly useless for sleeping and are easily the most common sleep disturbing habit that we have picked up in the last 20 years. The problems with looking at these bright screens right before sleeping is that they will reduce your levels of Melatonin and shorten your REM cycles. It’s very important that you switch off your smartphones at least an hour before bed as it will drastically improve your quality of sleep.

The Consistent Bed Time Routine

In the UK today, Insomnia affects approximately one-third of the population, however it’s more common in women that men and more common in those over the age of 50 where the body does not require the same amount of sleep that it once did.

Medical studies across the years have show that there are a variety of factors that can cause insomnia, however the the most common relate to stress, medication side effects, hormones, depression, pain, worry and the anxiety of not being able to get to sleep.

Below are 10 great ways to try and beat Insomnia, however it’s important to remember that insomnia is not something that you need to worry about. Not sleeping or only sleeping a few hours during the night is perfectly fine if this is only happening a few nights a week.

Consistent Bedtime Routine

The body needs to understand when it’s time to go to bed and more importantly, when it’s time to get up in the morning. It’s not something that is going to happen over night, however it is very easy to train your body to achieve this.

It’s important to remember, your consistent bedtime routine starts in the morning and not like many of my patients, 15 minutes before they want to go to sleep. In order to get to sleep that evening you need to make sure that your waking up at the same time each day. This way the body knows how many hours it’s going to be awake for, before the next sleeping cycle starts.

Caffeine is okay during the morning, but you should stop your caffeine intake after midday and make sure that you exercise during the day for a minimum of 30 minutes. Both the type of food that you eat and the timing of your food is very important. Make sure that you spread your meals out throughout the day whilst ensuring that you have eaten your daily food intake by the latest 7pm. This way when you start preparing for bed, your stomach is empty and your body can focus on sleeping and not digesting food.

If you’re really struggling to sleep, stay away from alcohol as this make send you to sleep if you drink enough of it, your sleep quality will be terrible and as soon as the alcohol wears off, you will be awake again and with the dehydration process that occurs, it’;s going to be more difficult to get back to sleep once you awake.

As mentioned above, it’s important that you start your day both in the right frame of mind, but also at the same time everyday. It’s also very important that you head to bed at the same time everyday. This way your body naturally gets into a rhyme and knows that sleep is around the corner.

Roughly an hour before you head to bed, you need to think about getting your body into a position where naturally you can fall asleep. The most important part of this process is to stay away from electronic devices such as smartphones, computers and IPads as they will do nothing for you.

Once your ready to sleep and have switched off your electronics, you need to de-clutter your mind and relax. Studies have shown that those who worry about getting to sleep have a harder time actually getting to sleep than those who can relax.

If you struggle to get your body into the right frame of mind for sleeping then think about learning to relax through mediation. In the past I have recommend using relaxation technique regularly especially those that involve breathing exercises such as ……. or to an extent yoga.

It’s also a great idea to dim the lighting around your house before bedtime. This may seem strange, but it shows the body that it’s time to sleep and will naturally help you feel tired.

White Noise is a fantastic way to keep your brain from being active whilst your trying to sleep.

In the early stages when your still in the process of getting yourself into a sleeping routine, it’s a great idea to use natural sleeping aid treatments, however you need to stay away from hard medication as these are likely to knock you out quickly, but you will find it difficult to wake up in the morning.

Natural sleeping aids will not force the body to sleep, but instead encourage you to become tired naturally. With this natural treatment, waking up in the morning is much easier and therefore recommend. Generally the two best natural sleeping aid treatments are valerian and melatonin.