We all want better sleep, and we all want tomorrow to be a more productive day than today. We need enough sleep to feel capable of achieving everything that we want to get done each day. This requires a bedtime routine. However, if you’re anything like me, you get into bed at night and your mind is so full of thoughts and concerns from that day or for tomorrow, that you struggle to fall asleep.
Sometimes, I wake up and I feel like my mind has been whirring all night long and I haven’t rested at all. This continues night after night, until I feel like I haven’t had a chance to stop for what feels like forever.
There are lots of reasons why people struggle to get adequate rest. If you need a bedtime routine of habits to improve your rest time and help you have a better tomorrow, then these techniques are for you.
Shut it down
We have all heard this before and yet we all ignore it. The light In our phone and laptop literally keeps us awake. So shut down phone & laptop time at least two hours before going to bed. If this is impossible, iPhones have a night mode that you can change in your settings. This changes the colour of the light output on your phone and is less likely to keep your brain awake and alert.
Have you ever noticed after a large meal or eating at 3am after a night out, you feel less rested? This is because instead of the body performing it’s regular body maintenance through the night, all that energy has gone to digesting your food.
Ensure you have finished your meal at least 2hours (more is better) before going to bed. This gives the body a chance to digest your food before sleep time.
If you struggle to eat earlier because you get home late from work and need to cook, try meal prepping. I love always cooking huge portions of food so if I am home late or don’t have time to cook, there is always healthy leftovers for me in the fridge. This saves time and allows for an earlier meal time.
One of the most important factors to good rest is creating a regular sleep pattern, sleeping 10pm- 6am is ideal. This aligns with the body’s internal clock. And I don’t just mean the sun and how it affects our body clock.
Each day our body has a time that it works on itself, cleansing and detoxifying the body. A lot of this happens between 12-2am. If you are awake, or have eaten a late heavy meal, the body is thrown off and cannot detoxify properly.
“The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.” – Mike Murdock
Take a moment to mentally note (or journal) for the next day. Choose the top 3 priorities. Be sure to consider how you want to move things forward with your life.
Avoid just thinking about the work section of life, consider what joy you want to experience. Think about how you can bring adventure and play to your day. These items are equally important. If we don’t schedule them they won’t happen.
We knew this was coming. We have heard a million times how important expressing gratitude is for our mental wellbeing. It can also offer an opportunity to mindfully notice what we have achieved that day.
If you have a partner, it might be nice to discuss three things you are grateful for from that day with each other. Alternatively you can journal your gratitude and have it to look back on. Similar to a reverse bucket list.
By taking time to express gratitude we are given an opportunity to reflect on the things we wanted to achieve that day. Be sure to give yourself feedback on how an item is progressing. Track ongoing performance if it’s relevant. Notice if you just went through the motions or if you mindfully focused on the 3 items you Prioritized the previous night.
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” – William Arthur Ward
A few words on exercise
For me, if I have an adrenaline pumping, heart pounding workout, it is unlikely I’m going to fall asleep anytime soon. Ideally, do your workout in the mornings. If that’s not for you, try a lunchtime fitness activity or a light workout in the early evening.
A nice walk after dinner, yoga or anything that’s not going to spike adrenaline works best for me.
If you are exercising in the evenings, try a brief meditation afterwards to calm your mind and ready you for bed.
I hope these evening habits will assist you in getting a better nights sleep and create a bedtime routine for you. If you are interested in morning habits for a successful day, check out this article.
What bed time or evening habits do you have that help organize and prepare you for the following day? What bedtime routine prepares you for a great sleep? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Love and Light