It’s Monday morning, and all you want to do is snooze. So often we hear the importance of setting a morning routine to kick start our days and get us going, but rewind to Sunday evening for a moment; Did you stay up too late finishing that article on your cell phone? Did you consider what the next day has in store, and what you should be wearing? Did you reflect on your day and focus on all the beautiful things the weekend brought to your reality?
When we think about having a “bedtime”, memories of childhood can rocket to the forefront of our brains. The reality is, bedtimes and setting a routine or ritual around them is just as important in adulthood as it was in our youth. Many adults have difficulty falling and staying asleep, which can amplify your “case of the Monday’s” times 10. Unless you have a medical condition such as insomnia or sleep apnea (in which case you should consult a medical professional), your difficulties sleeping are easily preventable. By simply formulating a nighttime routine, you can help yourself achieve better, deeper sleep so that you can have more energy and an alert mind for the day ahead.
Here are 5 tips for your routine before you hit the sack:
- Set Yourself a Healthy Work/Life Balance
According to the CDC, “Sleep insufficiency may be caused by broad scale societal factors such as round-the-clock access to technology and work schedules…” If it’s hard to detach from from your work calls and emails, give yourself a daily deadline. Vocalizing this boundary to others allows you to stick to it with no guilt: let your colleagues or clients know that you turn your notifications off at 7 or 8pm and will respond to anything that comes in later then that, first thing in the morning. While this may not be possible in every season of life, do the best you can to respect your time for life outside of the workplace. Spend evenings hanging out with your family, catching up with that best friend you’ve been meaning to call, or (!) taking time for yourself. When you’re not constantly bound to your phone and the *ping* of every email, your mind will feel more calm and ready for rest.
- Determine Your Priorities For Tomorrow
In our busy society, it is just too easy to crawl into bed in a mental state of worry and chaos. Before you wind down, identify the three most important things you need to accomplish or take part in tomorrow and jot them down in your planner or make a note on your calendar app. This practice of externalizing and making thoughts concrete will enable your brain to relax knowing what it needs to be ready for tomorrow. You can wake with a clear sense of the day’s plan rather than stressing about what you may be forgetting.
- Write a Gratitude List
Once those anxieties about tomorrow are put in their place, you can reflect on the positives. Research shows that a focus on gratitude can reduce health complaints, cope with difficulties, reduce the importance we place on material goods, and could increase our ability to achieve our goals. Keep a journal or notepad by your bed and write down a few things you are thankful for at the end of each day.
- Let Your Body Wind-down
The reality is, mental tension is held within our bodies. Turn off your electronics at least a half hour before bed, and do what works for you. Gentle stretching or yoga. Take a hot bath. Read. Drink some herbal tea. Find what you like, and do it habitually. Your body will embrace the rhythm, let go of stress, and take the cues that it’s time to go to sleep.
- Your Space is Important
The bedroom should be your personal oasis used only for sleeping and intimate activities. Studies have shown that the blue light emitted from screens can disrupt our ability to have restful sleep. There are enough screens in your life; make this space tech-free! Make sure your room is as dark as possible. The small investment in some window curtains will be well worth it! And, if possible, keep your bedroom on the cooler side.
These tips are just a starting point, and it’s important to find what works for you. Allow yourself to experiment until you find the right combination that improves your sleep or restfulness, and then stick with it!