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There are certain things and chores I do each day that create a space for success to build. These routines, if not done, can sometimes lead to a morning filled with exhaustion and chaos. While they have changed throughout the years, they are a part of me now. My routine might not be for you, but I have found that giving myself tasks right before bed has helped me wake up with a clear mind that is ready for whatever the day brings.
I've talked about morning routines on my website several times, but never really mentioned what I do the night before. A lot of us have some form of a morning routine, but do you prepare at all during the evening hours? It might seem unnecessary, but what I do in the evening has been way more beneficial than what I do the next day. Through experimentation, I have found these little tasks to help me fall asleep easier, wake up refreshed, and prepare for the work day ahead.
You can try out a few of these, or just let them be the inspiration for finding your habits to start. To me, chaos only works for a short period. Passing out late without doing anything doesn't mean you won't wake up in a fantastic mood, but over time it might lead to that. Find what works best for you and go out and live your best life. You deserve it.
Technology off by 8 PM
I recently started this journey, and I can easily say it has been the hardest as well as the most rewarding. I have an alarm on my phone that goes off a few minutes before 8 o'clock to alert me it is time to shut down all technology. What this means is no phone, no computer, no television. I'll put my phone on Do Not Disturb, and set it in a place that is out of reach. Doing this ensures that I won't be tempted to mindlessly grab it when I'm bored or have an urge to scroll through social media.
This habit was incredibly hard to keep. It took close to two months for me to really follow this rule (and I still sometimes break it). However, it has made sleeping so much easier and helps my mental state relax before bed. When you look at your phone, it can put five more ideas in your head of things you need to do. Doing this can lead to restless sleep that we all know too well. I promise you, whatever is happening on your phone will still be there for you in the morning.
Now I take those hours and read a book, hang out with family, or unwind from the day. What truly surprised me was how much time I had before bed once I started doing this. When you are scrolling mindlessly on your phone, the time ticks by a little faster. Before you know it, bedtime has come, and you just wasted two to three hours doing absolutely nothing productive. Not on your phone much during the day? Sometimes we use our phones to help unwind from a work day, and that is okay!
I usually take the hour leading up to my no technology as a time to play on my phone. This way I still get to mindlessly scroll, but also have time to do other things. Since starting this routine, I have read several new books, had in-depth conversations with my boyfriend, and woke up without feeling any form of fatigue.
Don't eat anything.
After dinner, I almost always had a few snacks before hitting the pillow. I don't work well with three large meals a day. For me and my body, snacking throughout the day keeps my energies up and helps me maintain a healthy lifestyle. Doing this usually meant that I was still snacking during the late hours. If you do this as well, I highly suggest cutting this out. If that means eating a more substantial meal for dinner or creating heavier snacks, find a way to remove any temptations.
I like to keep my cut off time between four to five hours before I go to bed. This method gives my stomach enough time to properly digest whatever I have eaten throughout the day so that I don't go to sleep with my stomach still churning. Doing this doesn't set me up for success, but it has made me a healthier person. Before this, I would wake up feeling a tad bloated or even have a few digestive issues. These problems occur because I didn't give my stomach enough time to work the food down before calling it a night. Your body has more trouble digesting during sleeping hours, causing the all too common of bloat and upset gut.
Write down everything.
I used to keep a gratitude journal by my bed each night. Before bed, I would write down everything I was grateful for or any moments throughout the day that brought me joy. This habit is something I still do to this day. It puts your mind at ease and, if you are having a tough day, you can look back at it and remember what makes you happy. Recently, I have added another notebook to my night table that I regularly write in.
This notebook is for those late night ideas and to-dos that pop into my head right before shut eye. Do you know how your mind goes through the day and what you still need to accomplish? Personally, this always kept me up and made it difficult to fall asleep. Now, I take a few moments to write down what I did throughout the day and what I need to do the next day. Putting it on paper helps release it from my thoughts so I can have a restful sleep.
Keep this by your bed, so it is easy to grab at a moments notice. Sometimes, I'll wake up with new ideas or thoughts for the upcoming day. Before trying to pass back out, I'll write them down. Once I wake up, I'll weed out the jibberish from the serious. Most people have that creativity burst during evening hours, but never write it down. When they wake up, they have no recollection of what that idea was. Keeping a little journal will ensure you always remember and helps keep your mind at ease.
Find your way to relax.
This habit is something that I cannot tell you, but you have to figure out for yourself. Doing vigorous activities right before bed can excite you and make it extremely difficult to get sleep. To me, rest is essential for a successful morning. During the two hours right before bed, I'll sip on some hot tea and read a book. Doing this allows my mind to unwind and release any tension I had built up. Find what helps you relax, and incorporate it into a daily routine.
You could unwind by exercising, taking a bath, watching your favorite show, or meditating. Each night is different for me. Some nights I'll ponder and do some yoga, other nights I'll break my technology rule and watch some silly little show. Find what works best for you and don't be afraid to change it up from time to time. Just because it is a routine doesn't mean you cannot change it up.
Set up your room for success.
I cannot stress enough how important sleep is for our bodies. All of my routines center around easing my body into a peaceful slumber so that I wake refreshed and motivated. To do this, I have to have a room that guarantees a proper night of sweet dreams. I do this by keeping my sheets clean (you should wash them at least once a week), turning off all lights, keeping technology out of reach, and spritzing some calming scents into the room. I also have a light fan that blows for white noise.
These all help ensure I have a fantastic rest. Doing this might take some practice, but test out a few things to find what works best for you. Some people need a light on or hate any form of noise. Whatever helps you, incorporate it into your nightly routine. I'm a sensitive sleeper so any little creak in the house can wake me up. Having some form of noise (whether it is a fan or light piano music) helps me rest easy.
I hope this helps you in finding your perfect nighttime routine. What do you do before bed that you find extremely useful? Do you have a method, or do you work best with random chaos?