Catching Zz’s: The Whys and Hows of Getting Better Sleep

Written by Ashley Bazan

On average, humans will sleep for a total of ⅓ of their lives. According to Healthline, many biological processes happen during sleep: the brain stores new information, and the body repairs cells, restores energy, and releases hormones, like growth hormone, that help your body grow and recover.  

It’s important to have great quality sleep, not only for the processes that happen during sleep, but also for the waking hours of the day. states that getting sufficient sleep improves the body’s immunity to illnesses, assists in staying at a healthy weight, ensures higher levels of mental clarity and productivity, and improves memory and exercise performance. 

To improve your sleep quality, The Sleep Foundation recommends reducing caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol use – especially in the evenings, reducing electronic use at bedtime, and checking that your environment is quiet, dark, and comfortably cool. 

Once you have set the appropriate environment, created a sleep routine by heading to bed at the same time each night, and reduced the habits that hinder sleep, if you are still having difficulty getting to sleep, you may want to try the military sleep method relax the body and catch some zz’s quickly. 

The Military Sleep Method:

  • Relax your face completely
  • Drop your shoulders and relax your hands
  • Exhale deeply and relax your chest
  • Gradually relax each limb one at a time
  • Clear your mind with a mantra, or hold a relaxing image like laying in a canoe, slowly traveling down a river

As you start your quest on better sleep and recovery, keep a journal to manage your progress. Make a list of habits that could be hindering your sleep, environmental factors you can improve, or relaxation techniques to use before bed. Tackle parts of the list for each night and see how your sleep and waking quality improve.

For further reading on sleep, check out Matthew Walker’s book, Why We Sleep

If you’ve got the sleep thing down but could use some help in the gym, click here to get started with Ashley or another of our qualified personal trainers.