While morning routines are all the rage, how we wind down our days is just as important. Especially when it comes to getting a good nights sleep.
I wish I could say that I follow this routine to a T, but that’s not true either. Some days I’m too exhausted to even brush my teeth before I collapse into bed (I know, gross). Other days I end up binge watching Netflix with my wife for a few hours. It’s not always possible to stick to these routines, but when I do, I reap the rewards.
More importantly, I tried to make my routine as simple and effective as possible, so that I could truly stick to it (much like I did for my morning routine). Don’t worry, this isn’t going to take you hours to do.
Here’s my quick, 6 step bedtime routine that will get you a good nights sleep and prepare you for tomorrow.
1. Get away from the screens
Probably the most important step in any bed time routine is to get away from the screens. The TV, the laptop, the smartphone, and so on. All of that technology stimulates the brain. If I want to truly wind down and get ready for bed, I put away the tech at least an hour before getting to bed.
Estimated time: 30 seconds (to turn off, silence, and put away your tech)
2. Do the little things
Although I never feel like it, preparing for tomorrow by knocking out some simple tasks makes my day so much better. These are things like making my breakfast or lunch for the next day or picking out my clothes or just packing up my work bag.
When these tiny tasks are completed the night before, my morning feels much less scattered and stressful. Especially since I’m the opposite of what you’d call a morning person.
Estimated time: 20 minutes (depending on how much prep is needed)
3. Don’t bring work into the bedroom
Similar to how screens stimulate the brain, thinking about work is a recipe for having a restless sleep. The last thing you want is to be laying in bed worrying about a meeting or deliverable as the time ticks away.
Instead of doing work before bed, I simply try to put a plan in place on what I want to accomplish tomorrow. Creating a quick to do list that consists of my tasks for work, errands, etc helps me wrap my head around the day to come. That short list puts me at ease.
Estimated time: 5 minutes
4. Read a chapter or two
Despite me falling into the TV trap before bed on occasion, I always conclude my night by doing some light reading. It doesn’t matter if its 10 PM or 3 AM, I always read before bed.
I tend to stick to fiction at night because its more enjoyable and requires less thinking, but the act of reading primes me for bed like nothing else. It’s the perfect way to unwind.
Estimated time: 10 minutes
5. Give thanks
After I shut down and finish reading I try to do a simple exercise in my head of giving thanks and showing gratitude. Whether its prayer or incantations or some self-talk, its valuable to review the day and give thanks.
Estimated time: 2 minutes
6. Get into bed
Finally, I try to be in bed, with the lights off and at least 7 to 8 hours of sweet, sweet sleep ahead of me before my alarm is set to go off. We all know just how important a good nights rest can be, so don’t skimp on it.
Estimated time: 10 seconds
On a side note, if you’re having trouble falling asleep, here are some products I’ve tried that I highly recommend:
– The best pillow ever
– Sleepytime Tea to help you wind down
– A bedside humidifer if your room is getting dried out
– Sleep mask with ear plugs (to block out light and snoring)
TOTAL TIME: approximately 40 minutes
Not too shabby right? Under an hour to both get a good nights rest and prepare you for the day. I know it can be hard to get ourselves to take the time for routines, especially after long days, but if you do, you’ll thank yourself tomorrow.
If you missed it, check out my simplified morning routine.