With all the hype on what successful people do in the first few hours of their days, it’s no wonder that we’re associating mornings more and more with productivity. (Hint: A simple search of “morning productivity” on Google will swamp you with more than enough results.)
Yes! Especially if we give ourselves a head start by doing a few things for tomorrow before we go to bed tonight. I’m talking about taking control of the 30 to 40 minutes right before going to sleep. Even if your bedtime routine currently consists of nothing but scrolling through Instagram, that doesn’t mean you can’t take the steps to build a new one today.
The best part? All of these things can be completed within five minutes. Well, apart from the last one, but you’ll see why when you get there.
1. Plan Your Three MITs
Setting your MITs (or Most Important Tasks) before getting shut-eye probably isn’t the most relaxing activity. But you’ll thank yourself tomorrow morning when, after waking up with a foggy mind, you see the three major tasks of the day clearly laid out before you. Leo Babauta, creator of zen habits, describes his MITs as “the three things I must accomplish today.” These are, by no means, the only things Babauta does that day, but they’re the items he wants to “be sure of doing.” If you, too, want to wake up knowing your priorities, write down your non-negotiable to-dos before hitting the hay.
2. Collect Your Mind’s Residue
Ever feel like there are too many random thoughts and unresolved issues flowing through your brain? If this sounds familiar and you’re constantly trying to clear your mind before sleeping, consider collecting the day’s residue in a journal. Besides there being proven evidence that writing has therapeutic benefits for your body, the process of documenting your thoughts can free up your mind to think about other, less-stressful things. Come tomorrow, you can use your brain to think about fresh ideas, and your journal to remember any leftover matters that were important.
Don’t have anything to write in? Knock Knock has a number of themed journals with humorous, but encouraging, prompts. And if you want to keep a digital record of your thoughts, Moleskine’s Evernote notebook gets your pages into the cloud with a single photo.
3. Check the Weather Forecast and Pick Out Your Clothes
The more you get done before sleeping, the less you have to do in the morning, right? By checking tomorrow’s weather before bedtime, you can select your outfit and save the time you would’ve spent fumbling around the closet. (Oh, and if you’re an aspiring gym rat, you’re that much more likely to exercise if your workout clothes are prepped and ready.)
Tired of the standard weather app from your smartphone? Poncho gives you personalized weather reports with a beautifully designed interface, and Funny or Die Weather supplies you not just with an accurate forecast, but also with an endless supply of weather jokes.
4. Declutter Your Handbag or Briefcase
Every quarter, I start off carrying a light bag. By the end of the quarter, however, my bag is almost always overflowing with coins, random flyers, and receipts from no-idea-where, and I end up wasting time digging for the important items.
Do yourself a favor and remove unwanted items from your handbag or briefcase. That way, you don’t have to start your day searching beneath random things and layers of germs for your valuable belongings.
5. Relax With Your Favorite Activity
Finally, to jump start tomorrow, you should get plenty of rest tonight—even before you actually go to sleep. And there’s no better way to relax than by spending time on your favorite activity.
Whether that’s reading a book (yes, a real one, with pages), watching an episode of Game of Thrones, or talking to a loved one on the phone, make an effort to lock in time, even just 30 minutes a day, for what you love. By removing yourself from the hustle and bustle of the day and giving your mind the rest it deserves, you’re much more likely to get a better night’s sleep, too.
Even if your evening routine currently includes nothing—well, nothing productive—it’s not too late to introduce these habits into your life. At the end of the day, an intentional evening ritual will help you take better control of your time and help you move closer to your long-term lifestyle goals.
Have another bedtime routine that’s not mentioned here? Let me know about it on Twitter!
“Today is tomorrow’s yesterday,”
the quote says and it rings true from North to South, from West to East. And if we want to have a productive and energetic today, we need to prepare it yesterday. If we learn from yesterday, we can live today and we’ll even have time to plan for tomorrow.
The best way to jumpstart your day isn’t the first thing you do in the morning – but the last thing you do the night before. And here is a list of 20 tips that you can use for your bedtime routine to start the next morning energetic and productive:
1. Create your bedtime routine
The first thing to start with is by actually creating a bedtime routine. By this, I don’t mean just being a victim of consequences like kids, late dinners or office tasks that need to be done.
By creating a bedtime routine, you consciously create a set of behaviours that you will do (or not do) before you fall asleep that night.
In the beginning, it only needs to be a single thing that you adhere to like no laptop in the bed or TV for only 30 minutes or hitting at sack at 11:30 pm max.
And you can use the following tips to optimize your bedtime routine.
2. Play music
Music has a variety of effects on our bodies. First of all, our bodies are 70% water and vibrations affect us physiologically.
By playing certain (soothing) music, you will feel relaxed and prepared for sleep. Now, it’s all about finding the perfect music for you. You need to find your own rhythm, so try out a lot of different songs and categories and see what fits you the best.
3. Read a book
This one is a bit tricky – you should be reading a book before you sleep but not something which is hard to understand and needs a lot of straining from your conscious mind.
It’s best to read something lighter before bedtime because it will put your mind in a nice rhythm and will induce you into a qualitative sleep.
Pick something that interests you and is quite easy to read like “How To Win Friends & Influence People”.
4. Drink water
Quality of sleep depends a lot on the hydration of our bodies. If you feel the thirst, it means you are already dehydrated.
The sacred rule I adhere to for a quality bedtime routine is one glass of water before bed and one glass of water as soon as I wake up.
5. Evaluate your today
You planned out the 3 most important tasks that you need to do today. Now, it’s time to evaluate those tasks.
This is the time for self-reflection, and Self-Reflection Gives You a Happier and More Successful Life.
So sit down and evaluate if you managed to accomplish the 3 tasks that you set up the night before.
6. Do mindfulness exercise like meditation
Mindfulness doesn’t have to be meditation, but meditation is almost always mindfulness.
Mindfulness trains your mind to become present and aware of the things and people that surround you. This makes you forget about the worries of the future and the regrets of the past and makes you live in the present.
Mindfulness as a bedtime routine helps you clear out your mind and makes you fall asleep easily, without those pesky regrets and worries sneaking up on you when you finally hit the sack.
7. Watch entertainment
Throughout the day, you should be working, learning and pushing yourself. But when the night comes, you need to reward yourself for the activities and accomplishments of the day – because you deserve it.
So take 30-45 minutes and simply watch entertainment without feeling guilty – you can even watch a good movie.
8. Prepare clothes for tomorrow
We talked about ego depletion when planning the next day. It’s the thing with the clothes you will wear tomorrow.
When you prepare things for the next morning, your mind won’t go into “freak” mode, trying to remember everything you need to do in the morning like finding clothes for work, making breakfast, finishing that presentation, checking the valve pressure, changing the car oil, saving the world…
When you prepare for the morning in advance, you sleep better because you don’t have those menial tasks like clothes hovering around your head.
9. Plan out your 3 most important tasks for tomorrow
When you plan out your 3 most important tasks for tomorrow, you immediately eliminate unnecessary decisions from tomorrow’s day.
When you remove decision making from the day, all that’s left is to just do that activity.
This is backed by research about ego depletion, where making decisions throughout the day depletes our willpower, making us less likely to do the activities.
But if you prepare them in advance (decide and write down that you’ll do it), you will be more likely to do them.
So plan out your 3 most important tasks for tomorrow and sleep like a baby, knowing what you will do tomorrow.
10. Don’t eat heavy food
Eating that late night dinner at 10:30 pm and then going back home trying to fall asleep is like getting drunk and trying to walk the line – you think you can do it until you actually try it.
A big dinner and heavy food before bedtime keep your stomach working 24/7 and prevents it from having any rest during the night. This affects the quality of sleep and makes you feel sleepy before you fall asleep and extends to when you wake up.
Remove heavy food from your night meals and look at how your energy spikes in the morning – I did it six months ago and I am never going back to it.
11. Avoid exercise before sleep
You shouldn’t exercise 3 hours before bedtime – it wakes up your entire body and prepares you for physical activity.
Exercise is for morning or tops afternoon – the night is for relaxing bedtime routine activities.
However, you can try to stretch your body to help relax your nerves before going to sleep
12. Go to bed at the same time
Training your body and mind to shut down at the same time is beneficiary because it learns when you don’t need energy and when you do. This makes your energy usage more effective because you are 100% active when you need it and 0% active when you don’t need it.
Most people work on a 50-60% active energy, always being active but never being on their top game. If you train your body and mind to shut down after, let’s say, 11:00 pm, then it will reward you with energy spikes in the morning and afternoon.
And the easiest way to accomplish this is by going to bed at the same time.
13. Work on your passion project
Nothing brings more satisfaction to a person than seeing a dream, a vision which only lived inside of a person mind come to life. And working on a passion project is exactly what – you are making a reality out of your vision or a dream.
You can allocate 20-30 minutes a night to work on your passion project. This will make the feeling of accomplishment even stronger and will affect the quality of your sleep by a handful.
14. Spend time with loved ones
The biggest factor that contributes to a happy and fulfilled life is relationships – with friends, family and loved ones.
At the end of a long, arduous day, you should spend time with your loved ones- the people with whom you can share your happiness but also your sad moments.
It’s no secret that morning routines are a huge part of having a productive day. A powerful morning ritual will help you become motivated and set yourself up for a great day with a positive and calm mindset. You can read what my morning routine looks like here. While morning routines are important, there are things you can do the night before that will help you ease into the next day with passion and enthusiasm. Here are three ways I conquer my evenings that sets me up for a high-energy and productive day.
At least 2 hours before bed I start winding down. This means minimal use of all electronics, including my phone. I stay off social media, email and T.V. during this time. I keep my bedroom screen-free so I’m not tempted to turn on Netflix and binge watch. Instead, I take this time to reflect on my day, writing down what progress I made to move closer to my goals, ways I can improve, and most importantly, what I’m grateful for. Consciously reflecting on each day has allowed me to become more mindful, productive, and motivated. Lastly, if I have some extra time or am in the mood, I’ll treat myself to an Epsom salt bath. Some benefits of this magnesium-rich bath include the easing of stress and tension and elimination of toxins from the body,
2.Write a to-do list for the next day
While I also make a list in the mornings of what needs to be done, I always find that I’m more efficient when I make my to-do list the night before. In the morning, I can jump straight into my tasks after my morning routine, which makes my day more productive. If you can’t tell by now, I’m all about being time-efficient. Getting everything down on paper also encourages a goodnight’s sleep, so that your not up all night going back and forth about what needs to be done the next day.
No matter the time of day, meditation has huge benefits. Meditation allows me to release stress and tension from the day, and reduces mental clutter. I make it a point to meditate at least 20 minutes per night. This helps me fall into a deep sleep, allowing me to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. Many successful people including Oprah and Katy Perry practice Transcendental Meditation (TM), which has a multitude of benefits including lower risk of heart disease, higher work efficiency, and improved intelligence.
A powerful night routine will not only improve your sleep but will set the tone for the next day. Creating a bedtime routine that works for you will allow you to be more motivated and productive the minute your alarm goes off.
I’d love to hear about what your bedtime rituals look like! Leave a comment below sharing your must-do’s the night before for a productive morning!
Vincent Iannelli, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician and fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Iannelli has cared for children for more than 20 years.
Alisa Baer, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician, nationally certified child passenger safety instructor, and co-founder of The Car Seat Lady.
Whether you have an infant, toddler, kindergartner, or preteen, practical discipline strategies and a good bedtime routine can be the difference between good sleep habits and a lot of sleepless nights. There are dozens of books about kids and sleep problems, from Dr. Ferber’s “Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems” to Elizabeth Pantley’s “No-Cry Sleep Solution.”
Even though they all use different methods, most of these parenting experts advise that a good bedtime routine is key to a good night’s sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics, in its book “Guide to Your Child’s Sleep,” says that “it’s almost impossible to overstress the importance of a calm, orderly bedtime routine.”
Setting a Bedtime Routine
A bedtime routine includes all of the things that you do with your baby or child just before you put them to bed, such as taking a bath, the last diaper change, putting on pajamas, and reading a bedtime story.
The goal of a good bedtime routine is for your child to fall asleep on their own, without being rocked, watching TV, or having you lying down next to them. This way, if they do wake up later, they should be able to fall back asleep without needing any extra help.
If your child associates falling asleep with being rocked, for example, if they wake up in the middle of the night, they likely won’t be able to go back to sleep unless you rock them.
Bedtime Routine Dos and Don’ts
There is no single right way to set up a bedtime routine. Some kids like to hear a bedtime story, others may want to talk about their day, and some may just want to say their prayers and go to sleep. As long as your child falls asleep easily and sleeps all night, then your bedtime routine is likely working well.
When developing a bedtime routine, it’s important to:
- Be consistent. Your bedtime routine may change over time, as your child gets older, but it should be fairly consistent from day to day, starting at the same time and going in the same order. For example, a toddler’s bedtime routine might start at 6:30 p.m. and include a bath, putting on pajamas, reading a few bedtime stories, getting in bed, and a final goodnight.
- Include dental hygiene. Whether you are cleaning your baby’s gums or reminding your older child to brush and floss, proper dental hygiene is a good habit to include in your child’s bedtime routine each night.
- Keep it fairly short. A good bedtime routine will probably last about 10 to 15 minutes, or a little longer if you include a bath.
- Make it age-appropriate. Your child’s bedtime routine will change over time. For example, while it is expected for a newborn or younger infant to fall asleep nursing or drinking a bottle of formula, you can try and start putting your baby down while they are drowsy but still awake once they are four or five months old.
- Offer some choices. Your child can’t choose when to go to bed or how long the routine is, but you can let them have some control of their bedtime routine by letting them choose between two pairs of pajamas and select which books to read, for example.
- Remind kids to use the bathroom. This is especially important for younger kids who still have issues with bedwetting.
- Start early. It is much easier to begin a good bedtime routine when your baby is young than to try and change poor sleep routines when you have a toddler or preschooler who still isn’t sleeping well.
- Understand that a little crying can be okay. Some kids will cry for a few minutes as they settle down for sleep or when they wake up in the middle of the night. This can be okay if they quickly settle down and you are comfortable letting them cry for a few minutes. Keep in mind that even the Ferber Method doesn’t advocate simply letting kids cry all night.
- Make the room dark, but not too dark. Blackout shades can be helpful for getting your child’s bedroom dark enough to promote sleep (especially in the summer when it is still daylight at bedtime). Blackout shades may also help your child sleep a little longer in the morning. But since few kids like to sleep in the dark, a dim night light is useful. Just make sure it is not too bright.
- Use a security object. A security object, like a stuffed animal or blanket, can be an important part of a good bedtime routine, but only for children one year old and older. These types of items aren’t safe for babies to sleep with.
Just like there are a lot of right ways to have a good bedtime routine, there are some wrong ways and things you should avoid.
S ure, without a bedtime routine, you will eventually fall asleep. But who knows how long that will take—or how well you will actually sleep when the lights go out.
“Most of us cannot sleep on command, but routine helps the brain know that it’s preparing for sleep,” says Rebecca Scott, research assistant professor of neurology at the NYU Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center—Sleep Center. “Our sleep system, along with most other neurophysiological systems, likes predictability and consistency.”
Why? Because predictability and consistency are boring. It’s calm. “Routine implies safety,” says Dr. Rafael Pelayo, clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine. “It’s why we read kids the same story every night.”
Here are six tips to creating a bedtime routine that will have you waking up feeling better. Remember, the key to these tips is making them part of your routine—so no giving up after two nights! Pelayo notes that some people need a few weeks or even a couple of months for their bodies to really cement a routine.
1. Give yourself time to decompress from your day
“One of the top mistakes that women make is that they fail to take time to themselves that they need to wind down and decompress from their day,” Scott says. “Women are under overwhelming pressure to excel in all areas of their lives—to be the perfect mother, worker, daughter, partner, and struggle with balancing or even recognizing their own needs.” But to go to sleep, you need to. “The brain is preparing for sleep about two hours before our actual bedtime. We literally go from billions of neurons firing up all day to keep us alert, active and engaged, and that waking system has to slowly come down to allow the sleep system to take over.”
Dr. Peter A. Fotinakes, medical director of the St. Joseph Hospital Sleep Center, recommends his patients to set an alarm an hour to two prior to their expected bedtime —and that they use it to remind them to wind down from the day. Do something you truly enjoy and find relaxing. It could be spending some time with your partner or family, taking a “me” break, reading or even watching TV.
2. But don’t wind down with your gadgets
If you do decide to catch up on your favorite show, don’t do it on your computer or tablet. “Generally, the TV is far enough away from the eye and does not give off the same type of light that other hand-held devices emit, Scott says. Now more than ever we know the impact of blue light on sleep quality and alertness, and we know that even just a few seconds of exposure from a blue light-emitting device an hour before bed can disrupt the melatonin rhythm, a rhythm that is so critical to helping us fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up feeling refreshed.”
3. Eat a light, pre-bedtime snack (if you’re hungry)
While heavy foods and big meals or snacks consumed right before bed can disrupt sleep, the greater nighttime food issue facing many women is hunger, Fotinakes says. “In our perpetually dieting world, it’s not uncommon to lie in bed hungry, but not wanting to eat in an effort to save calories. However, hunger is stimulating and fragments sleep,” he says
Sound familiar? Go ahead and eat a light snack before bed, preferably one that is low in fat, which can spur nighttime acid reflux. “Eating a light carbohydrate or protein snack prior to bedtime will stave off hunger without causing you to crash and awaken later in the night,” Fotinakes says. Possible snack choices include an apple, slice of lean turkey or a cup of yogurt.
4. Take a warm bath two to three hours before bed
According to research from Cornell University Medical College, a nighttime drop in core body temperature increases one’s chances of both falling asleep and enjoying the coveted deep layers of sleep.
Interestingly, one of the best ways to trigger a drop in your body temperature is to raise it two to three hours earlier by taking a warm bath, Scott says. When your body senses the increase in core temp, it responds by dilating your blood vessels and directing blood flow toward your skin, which quickly releases heat. If you find yourself in need of some extra relaxation, you can also try adding some lavender oil to the water.
5. Don’t get into bed until right before it’s time to sleep
You’ve probably heard the saying that your bed is for sleep and sex—and that’s it. But even those extra hours spent reading or watching TV before sleep can add up. “The more time you spend in the bed before you sleep, the more your body gets used to being awake in bed,” says Pelayo.
In this Article
In this Article
In this Article
- 1. Make sleep a family priority.
- 2. Deal with sleep troubles.
- 3. Work as a team.
- 4. Routine, routine, routine.
- 5. Bedtime snacks.
- 6. Dress and room temperature.
- 7. Sleep environment.
- 8. Security object.
- 9. One last thing.
If you’re a parent, you know the nightly challenge: to get your kids to go to bed — and stay there. It’s not easy, but it’s one of the most important things you can do for them.
When children don’t get enough sleep, they have a harder time controlling their emotions. They may be irritable or hyper, which is no fun for anyone. Kids who are always sleep-deprived are more likely to have behavior problems, have trouble paying attention and learning, and be overweight. So although it’s not easy, it’s important to do all you can to help your child get the sleep they need.
Regular schedules and bedtime rituals play a big role in helping kids get sound sleep and function at their best. When you set and maintain good sleep habits, it helps your child fall asleep, stay asleep, and awake rested and refreshed. They can help take the stress out of bedtime, too.
There are no hard-and-fast rules for bedtime, and every child is different. What’s important is to build a routine that works for your family — and to stick with it. Here are nine ways to get started.
1. Make sleep a family priority.
Set regular go-to-bed and wake-up times for the entire family and be sure to follow them — even on weekends. You can tell that children are getting enough sleep when they fall asleep within 15 to 30 minutes of going to bed, wake up easily in the morning, and don’t nod off during the day.
2. Deal with sleep troubles.
Signs of sleep struggles include trouble falling asleep, waking up at night, snoring, stalling and resisting going to bed, having trouble breathing during sleep, and loud or heavy breathing while sleeping. You might notice problems in daytime behavior, as well. If your child seems overtired, sleepy, or cranky during the day, tell their doctor.
3. Work as a team.
It’s important to discuss and agree on a sleep strategy for your child with your spouse or partner beforehand and work together as a team to carry it out consistently. Otherwise, you can’t expect your child to learn or change their behavior.
If you are starting a new sleep routine for your child, make them part of the team by explaining the new plan to them if they are old enough to understand. For a young child, try using a picture chart to help your child learn the new routine, showing actions like changing clothes, brushing teeth, and reading a book.
4. Routine, routine, routine.
Kids love it, they thrive on it, and it works. One study found that a consistent nighttime routine improved sleep in children who had mild to moderate sleep problems. It helps your child learn to be sleepy, just like reading in bed often puts adults to sleep. It can also make bedtime a special time. That will help your child associate the bedroom with good feelings and give them a sense of security and control. There is no single routine that’s right for everyone, but in general, yours should include all the things that your child needs to do before going to sleep, including brushing teeth, washing up, putting on PJs, and having a snack or drink of water. Your child may want to read a book with you, talk about the day, or hear a story. Whatever you choose to do, keep the routine short (30 minutes or less, not including a bath) and be firm about ending it when it’s time to sleep.
5. Bedtime snacks.
Children may need more than three meals a day to keep them going, so a small snack before bedtime can help their bodies stay fueled through the night. Healthy options include whole-grain cereal with milk, graham crackers, or a piece of fruit. Avoid large snacks too close to bed, especially with older kids, because a full stomach can interfere with sleep.
6. Dress and room temperature.
Everyone sleeps better in a room that is cool but not cold. A rule of thumb is to dress your child basically as you dress yourself, keeping in mind that very young children often kick off the covers at night and can’t cover themselves.
7. Sleep environment.
Make sure the bedroom is dark and quiet and the noise level in the house is low. If your child does not like a totally dark room, turn on a small night light, or leave the hall light on and the door to the bedroom open.
8. Security object.
Bedtime means separation, and that can be easier for kids with a personal object, like a doll, teddy bear, or blanket. It can provide a sense of security and control that comforts and reassures your child before they fall asleep.
9. One last thing.
Kids will always ask for that one last thing — hugs, a drink of water, a trip to the bathroom, just one more book. Do your best to head off these requests by making them part of the bedtime routine. And let your child know that once they are in bed, they have to stay in bed.
If they get up, don’t react — simply take them by the hand and walk them back to bed. If you argue or give in to requests, you’re giving them the extra attention — and delayed bedtime — they want. And don’t give into the “just this one time” pitfall. If you read one more story or let them stay up longer “just this once,” the bedtime routine you’ve built could come undone.
KidsHealth: “When Snack Attacks Strike” and “All About Sleep.”
University of Maryland Medical Center: “Sleep Hygiene: Helpful Hints to Help You Sleep.”
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center: “Healthy Foods and Snacking.”
HealthyChildren.org: “Discontinuing the Bottle.”
National Sleep Foundation: “Healthy Sleep Tips;” “Back to School Sleep Tips;” and “Children and Sleep.”
Johns Hopkins Medicine: “The Perils of Late-Night Snacking.”
University of Michigan Health System: “Sleep Problems.”
Mindell, J. Sleep, vol. 32: pp 599-606.
Satter, E. Your Child’s Weight: Helping Without Harming, Kelcy Press, 2005.
Do you have trouble sleeping but don’t feel like a medical intervention is right for you? There are a number of options you can try to see if you can defeat your insomnia on your own. Sleep supplements like Evlution Nutrition Z Matrix are effective for many people, but you might just need to make changes in your nightly bedtime routine.
How to Cure Insomnia With the Right Bedtime Routine
A healthy mind and body sleep better, so self-care rituals can help. Falling asleep is a skill, so if you practice falling asleep in the right ways, you should get better at it.
Tips for sleeping better include making your room as dark and quiet as possible. If you can’t remove all the light and noise, using a sleeping mask can block out the light. Additionally, you can use relaxing music or a white noise machine to wash out background noise to sleep better. If missing out on sleep sounds familiar to you, try my top 7 bedtime routines for powerful sleep.
7. Make Your Bed and Exercise in the Morning
This may not sound like a bedtime routine because it happens in the morning, but it is. A good bedtime routine starts as soon as you wake up.
If the place you sleep is a chaotic mess, it disorders your mind. Make your bed first thing in the morning, and you will start your day with a win. Your sleeping area will be clean and ready for you, and when you think of your bed, you’ll imagine a beautiful, serene location for rest, healing, and rejuvenation.
Working hard and maintaining a high level of activity not only gets things done, but it also wears you out. Morning workouts give you a great boost of energy and mood that can help you be more productive during the day. They also help ensure that all of your energy has been used by the end of the day. Ideally, you won’t have to try to fall asleep. You’ll be so tired that sleep will come naturally.
6. Plan Your Next Day, but Do It at Least Two Hours Before Bed
If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail. Don’t plan in the morning unless you love getting up early. If you’re like me, try doing your next day’s planning after doing the dinner dishes. You’re already in “work mode,” and once you get into the swing of things, scheduling and planning your next day will only take five minutes.
As part of your bedtime routine, start with creating your schedule for the next day. Plan your day around the activities you enjoy the most. If you don’t have at least three enjoyable activities planned for tomorrow, you are making a mistake. Take time out at least three times a day to appreciate beauty, enjoy something delicious, and experience something that elevates you and feels good. When you plan your day around these things, not only is your planning session pleasant, it gives you positive reasons to get out of bed in the morning. Even when you’re in crisis, make sure to plan these moments. It’s even more important during a crisis. If your mom is in the hospital or you got bad news from the doctor, your daily positive plans will become an oasis of pain relief and spiritual cleansing.
5. Turn Off Your Screens Two Hours before Bedtime
Working on your schedule for the next day is a good cue to turn off your screens. Your brain interprets the light from smartphones and tablets as a signal to wake up. If you spend the last two hours of your day without an active screen in front of you, it will be easier to fall asleep.
Instead of looking at social media or playing mobile games, put your phone down and read a book or listen to a podcast. If you don’t read hardcopy books, get an ebook reader without an active screen (that requires you have the lights on). Here are 7 wellness books to feed your mind in 2020 that can help prepare your mind for a good night’s rest.
You can also indulge in a hobby or do simple chores like laundry or dishes.
4. Evening Meditation for Harmony and Sleep
Mindfulness-based stress reduction or yoga can help you fall asleep at night. If you incorporate a soothing series of yoga exercises and mindful meditation, you can help ease your mind into a more relaxed state that is compatible with sleep.
3. Cool Down to Prepare for Sleep
Take a cool shower, turn the heat down, or get a cool pillow to help reduce your core temperature. When you are asleep, your core temperature decreases. You “hibernate” when you sleep, so cooling the temperature down helps your body get into the right state for sleep.
As you sleep, your body temperature drops and your bed warms up, so it can be difficult to find and keep the right temperature. Molecule cooling bed sheets breathe better than cotton, and they wick moisture away from your body, keeping you cooler and drier than most alternatives. Getting your bed as comfortable as possible will help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
2. Reserve Your Bed for Sleep
The fewer activities you do in bed, the more it becomes a place for sleep. If you build a habit of only using your bed for sleep, then when you get in bed, your body and mind will automatically lean towards sleep.
1. Go to Sleep and Get Up at the Same Times Every Day
Most people have experienced trouble falling asleep. For some, it’s a chronic condition, and I’ve had my fair share of long nights. Scientists have found an association between insomnia and inconsistent bedtime routines. The more consistent you are with your sleep and wake times, the better trained your body will be to rest when you want it to.
Prepare for Success with the Best Bedtime Routines
There are very few things that can interfere with your life more than bad sleep. Get the most out of your night by cultivating good habits that will help you relax before bed.
How many of these ideas do you already use? Which idea can you add to your routine to help you? Pick one out now and try it tonight.
What if you could manufacture a perfect day? One of those ah-so-amazing days when you have the “productive touch” (similar to the midas touch but instead of turning things into gold, you open a can of todo-list destroying whoop-ass).
I’m having one of those days today. And what I’ve learned is— it’s no secret to make it happen. I can have one everyday.
What’s the big secret to an incredible day?
Well, I’ve written about it before and I’ll write about it again. It’s the morning routine. If you haven’t read my posts on my daily morning rituals, start there—
Crafting a morning routine is a personal thing. First of all, you can’t do everything. Morning routine implies morning— what I mean is, it shouldn’t consume your entire day. One hour is perfect, two is the maximum.
My (current) morning routine in a nutshell—
- Wake up between 5-6AM
- Drink a glass of water, first thing
- Write 1 Journal Entry, 10 Ideas, and 250-1000 Words
- Blue Light Therapy
- Say my Daily Affirmations
- Visualize my day
- Run one mile
- Take a cold shower
- Plan my day ahead
Your morning routine should evolve and change. If something isn’t working, change it. Don’t latch on just because someone else is doing it.
The psychology of a morning routine
The morning routine sets the tone of your day. No matter how shitty yesterday was or how much you have to do today, the morning routine is your daily constant— your totally 100% selfish ritual. It’s the time that you allocate towards yourself, everyday, no matter what. It keeps you sane.
If you study successful people, one thing that you’ll notice really quickly is that they share a bunch of similar habits— and the daily ritual is one of them. This is why. And being busy isn’t an excuse. In fact, the busier that you get, the MORE you need it.
Build your own morning ritual
So, here’s how you get started— pick 4 habits and start them tomorrow. Yes, just 4. You can add more in later, but it’s best to start small. Pick the ones that resonate with you the most. Do them every morning immediately after you wake up for the next 30 days.
Pick 4 Morning Habits from the List
- Wake up at 5AM
- Drink a tall glass of water as soon as you get out of bed
- Make your bed immediately
- Do 20 pushups as soon as you get out of bed
- Eat a protein and fat rich breakfast within 30 minutes of getting up
- Run a mile every single morning
- Take your multivitamins everyday
- Floss after breakfast
- Do Blue Light Therapy to wake yourself up
- Take a bath in the morning
- Take a cold shower in the morning (it sucks but you feel AWESOME after)
- Write a blog post every single morning
- Write down 10 ideas
- Write a journal entry
- Write 250-1000 words on any topic
- Keep a daily gratitude journal
- Plan your entire day in 15-60 minute increments
- Lay out your clothes for the day
- Dress your absolute best for the day (EVEN if you work from home)
Now, do them for the next 30 days
Every morning, when you wake up, your morning ritual should be the first thing you do. I used to have a big piece of paper taped to the wall that was the first thing I saw every morning. It said “Do your fucking ritual”. Let me know if you do this too because I think it’s awesome.
What if I forget to do it?
As soon as you remember, drop what you’re doing and start your ritual. You probably need something to remind you. Setting a second “morning ritual” alarm clock can help. If you remember when it’s too late (i.e, you’re in the car), do them when you get home.
What if I skip a day?
Add an extra day to the 30. For example, if you skip day 4, you have to keep up your ritual for 31 days instead of 30.
What if I want to do more than 4?
I recommend starting small for a couple of reasons— it’s easier to stick with AND you don’t want your time commitment to get huge. Remember, 1 to 2 hours MAX per day. This is especially important if you’re not used to waking up early.
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At a Glance
Morning routines can feel extra hectic with kids who learn and think differently.
Planning ahead is key to helping mornings go more smoothly.
Look for small ways to make school morning routines more relaxing.
No one likes a crazy morning rush. And for families with kids who learn and think differently, the mad dash from morning wake-up to leaving for school can be extra stressful. Your child might have trouble following a schedule, finding things, or coping with a jarring alarm clock. Try these tips to streamline school morning routines.
1. Start the night before.
To jump-start the morning routine, plan ahead. Before bedtime, have your child get a bath or shower out of the way. Then, ask your child to pick out an outfit for the next day. Take a few minutes to go over the next day’s schedule together. Check that all books, homework, and changes of clothing are packed up and by the door.
Executive Function Tip: How to organize your child’s backpack.
After your child is in bed, give yourself time to make lunches and snacks. If you have breakfast as a family, set the breakfast table. Choose your own outfit for the next day, too, and pack what you’ll need for the next day.
2. Take a few minutes for yourself.
If you can wake up just a little earlier than your child, it can help you feel more relaxed about what’s ahead. Give yourself a few minutes to relax, eat breakfast, drink coffee, exercise, or do whatever helps you get in the zone for the day. A little bit of “me” time can make the hectic transition from home to work and school feel much calmer. And that might help your child with the transition, too.
3. Make wake-ups more relaxing.
How can you make early mornings less of a rude awakening? Loud alarms can be jarring and start the morning with an unneeded jolt (especially for kids with sensory challenges).
Set your child’s alarm to play a favorite song. Try waking your child up with lots of snuggles or a favorite breakfast snack. A more pleasant wake-up doesn’t mean it has to be longer—just gentler.
4. Follow a routine.
Make every day as predictable and routine as you can. Follow the same schedule before and after school. It can look something like this: Wake up, wash face, eat breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth, go over the day’s schedule, leave for school. You can even use a picture schedule to help the day roll out easier. (These can be extra helpful for kids who struggle with reading.)
5. Stay organized.
Designate spots for school supplies, sports gear, coats, and jackets. This way, your child always knows where to look for things when you’re halfway out the door. Plastic containers or labeled baskets can keep items within easy view, which makes looking for things in the morning simpler.
6. Stick with the clock.
Make sure there are clocks “in your face” around the house. Put them in your child’s room, the bathroom, the kitchen—even in the hallway. Older kids can also wear a watch. By making time more visible, you’ll help teach how to manage time—and show your child the importance of being on time.
Give manageable countdowns like: “At 7:25, I need you to put your coat on.” Or, “At 7:30, it’s time to get your shoes on.”
7. Do a “double-check.”
Have your child check and re-check to make sure everything’s packed before leaving the house. This saves you from having to run to school later to drop off a forgotten folder or assignment.
Younger kids can come up with a silly phrase or song to help remember all the books and materials they need each morning. Older kids can make lists of all the items needed for each day of the week. Post it where your child will see it often and refer to it before leaving the house.
8. Reward your child.
This is a simple way to help your child get the most out of a smoother morning. For example, if your child gets ready for school and still has time to spare before it’s time to leave, play a quick game together or read a book. Starting the day with some cozy family bonding helps get everyone off to a solid start.
Does your child complain about not wanting to go to school? Here are ways to respond .
Prep food, outfits, and other items (your child’s and yours) the night before.
Try to give yourself a few minutes of “me” time in the morning.
Use checklists and picture schedules to help everyone stay on track.
About the Author
About the Author
Understood Team is made up of passionate writers and editors. Many of them have kids who learn and think differently.
Donna Volpitta, EdD is co-author of The Resilience Formula: A Guide to Proactive, Not Reactive, Parenting.
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