Sleep Easy on World Sleep Day with This Sleep Audit

woman sleeping

World Sleep Day is an annual, global call to action on the importance of healthy sleep. The focus of WSD is to raise awareness of the many burdens of sleep problems, as well as the importance of healthy sleep.

World Sleep Day 2019 will incorporate the slogan 'Healthy Sleep, Healthy Ageing' which is intended to emphasise the importance of sleep in overall health at any age. This focus is deliberately broad, promoting the message that quality of life can be improved with healthy sleep.

Conversely, when sleep fails, health declines, which results in a much decreased quality of life.

A vicious cycle

In a nutshell, without sufficient quality sleep our body can’t repair from the daily toils of living, nor can it heal from disorder and disease. Chronic stress disrupts our hormone production and our sleep physiology, making restful, restorative sleep impossible. Surprisingly, we need sufficient energy for quality sleep.

That means eating enough energy-rich foods during the day so that our body gets messages of ‘safety’ and doesn’t run out of energy during the night to enter ‘stress mode’ - which makes us restless and wake up. And because our hormones are disrupted, we can’t get back to sleep. And so it goes on.

“Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care, The death of each day's life, sore labor's bath, Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course, chief nourisher in life's feast.”

Macbeth, William Shakespeare

But that’s just the very tip of the sleeping iceberg. As Professor Matthew Walker in his bestseller Why We Sleep puts it:

“It is time for us to reclaim our right to a full night of sleep. In doing so, we can be reunited with that most powerful elixir of wellness and vitality. Then we may remember what it feels like to be truly awake during the day.

Sleep is one of the most important aspects of our life, health and longevity and yet it is increasingly neglected in twenty-first-century society, with devastating consequences: every major disease in the developed world - Alzheimer's, cancer, obesity, diabetes - has very strong causal links to deficient sleep.”

So, on World Sleep Day, take a moment to audit your sleep habits: it could absolutely change your life.


World Sleep Day Audit

  1. sleep

    How much sleep?

    Firstly, what does good sleep look like? Optimally, it needs to look something like this:

  • You sleep for 7-10 hours (depending on your age and other factors)
  • You do not wake in the night or if you do, you don’t remember and go straight back to sleep
  • You do not need the loo in the night (usually!)
  • You sleep peacefully and don’t thrash around
  • You wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day
  1. Now check off the sleep ‘hygiene’ habits below:
  • In bed by 10.00pm and asleep by 11.00pm. No, there are no such things as human ‘night-owls’!
  • The bedroom is quiet, dark and cool. (Think cave)
  • A bedtime ‘wind-down’ routine:
    • Switching off the TV, devices, bright/blue lighting 2 hours before retiring
    • Reading (by red lighting or with blue-blocking glasses) or listening to relaxing music
    • Taking time for relaxation, mindfulness or for journaling for 30 minutes or so before bed (Consider this is a major one!)
    • Banning ALL devices from the bedroom
    • If you can’t bear to leave the mobile on the landing, making SURE it’s more than 3-feet from your head
  • Not waking to the buzzing of your alarm - it puts your body straight into stress mode! Go for the gentler option of using a dawn simulator alarm clock which wakes you up very gradually with light (before the loud buzzing noise tells you to move your butt into the shower!).
  • Step outside every morning for 10-15 mins to reset circadian rhythms (internal light/dark body clock) for the day
  • Moderate exercise, like walking in nature during the day - especially at lunchtime
  • Eating energy foods - carbohydrates like fruits and root vegetables - throughout the day
  • Eating your biggest meals and most of your protein by lunchtime and carb-loading with smaller helpings at dinner
  • NOT eating the 'wrong' things too close to bedtime (crisps, chocolate, heavy meals)
  • Saying ‘No!’ to caffeine after lunch and limiting alcohol and nicotine after early evening
  1. Now listen to your body
  • How many checks did you make? Not too many? Get really quiet, close your eyes, breathe slowly and put your attention on your midsection
  • Now slowly read the sleep hygiene habits through again, listening carefully to how your body responds. Prioritise one element from each of the following and put it into practise immediately and consistently:
    • Eating
    • Getting outside
    • Devices and lighting


Finally, I highly recommend reading Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walker… or listening to an excellent 2-part podcast in which Dr Rangan Chatterjee interviews Matthew.

“Professor Matthew Walker explores twenty years of cutting-edge research to solve the mystery of why sleep matters. Looking at creatures from across the animal kingdom as well as major human studies, Why We Sleep delves in to everything from what really happens during REM sleep to how caffeine and alcohol affect sleep and why our sleep patterns change across a lifetime, transforming our appreciation of the extraordinary phenomenon that safeguards our existence.”

“Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care, The death of each day's life, sore labor's bath, Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course, chief nourisher in life's feast.”

Macbeth, William Shakespeare


Are you having trouble sleeping? Nagging health issues you're not sure how to tackle?

Let me help you.

Click here to find out more about my coaching programmes

Izabella Natrins

I'm here to inspire and support women at midlife and beyond to re-ignite purpose and meaning to take back control of their health and create the radical, resilient heath they want and deserve. As a whole-health expert with over 30 years experience in the field, a qualified Health and Wellness Coach and Ballymaloe-trained nutritional chef, my real food nutrition and lifestyle medicine programmes support women fighting fatigue, struggling with overwhelm, weight gain, sleep, energy and niggling or multiple diagnosed health issues. As an advocate for real food nutrition, regenerative agriculture and whole-health, my book 'The Real Food Solution' is an evidence-based treasury wisdom for energy, vitality and better health for people and planet and a call to action to change the way we grown, source and cook our food. As the CEO at The UK Health Coaches Association, I'm proud to continue the task of leading the first professional association for Health and Wellness Coaches in the world and the gold standard for the UK and Ireland.

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3 Responses

  1. January 8, 2020

    […] Get enough quality sleep and nourishing food. Too little or too much sleep can have a big impact on how we feel. A nutrient-dense diet which includes fermented foods and regular meals which both feed the gut microbiome (responsible for making the neurochemicals that control mood and keeping your blood sugar stable can make a huge difference to mood and energy levels. […]

  2. February 11, 2020

    […] Creating a supportive sleep routine (and committing to it) is SO important to our overall well-being – take a moment to review your sleep habits and check you are doing the basics. […]

  3. March 13, 2020

    […] my blog post on how stress and sleep are toxic bedfellows and another piece on how easy it is to conduct your own sleep audit to make simple but highly effective changes to your bedtime routine. The science on sleep is very […]

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