We’ve covered 7 things you should do every morning, now let’s dig into what you should be doing at night. If you want to be alert and powerful tackling the day ahead, it all starts with the night before. Maybe you try to avoid caffeine before bed, or drink some soothing tea, but you still feel groggy in the morning and drag through your day. By preparing during the day you can get a much better night’s sleep so that you feel truly awake in the morning.
Do these things tonight to make sure you are well rested and ready to conquer tomorrow!
- Set a Bedtime
There is nothing wrong with an adult bedtime. You want to make sure you get your 8 hours so work back from when you need to wake up, and add in how long it takes you to fall asleep. If you need to be up at 6 am and it takes you half an hour to drift off, then you might want to be in bed by 8:30 pm. I know that sounds early but it’s not!
Think of how much you will be wishing you can stay in bed when the alarm goes off in the morning. Embrace the comfort of your bed and enjoy it. After a long day that is more than enough motivation to have me in bed by 9 pm.
- Sleep in the Dark
You’ve heard this one before but make sure you do it. Having lights on like the TV or night lights can keep you awake longer and disrupt deep sleep. Lights simulate day light which tells your brain it’s time to get going. Even if you don’t feel like it makes a difference in your sleep, or think the TV helps you fall asleep quicker, it’s doing more harm than good.
Try to find some black out curtains that can block any light from outside. I promise you will feel the difference when you wake up in the morning. I have these lovely curtains in my room and I love them, they really block out a lot of light and will make your bedroom very dark.
- Avoid Blue Light Before Bed
Most of us like to play with our phones for hours before bed, but this exposure is harming our sleep cycles.
According to the Scientific American,
“The light from our devices is “short-wavelength-enriched,” meaning it has a higher concentration of blue light than natural light—and blue light affects levels of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin more than any other wavelength.”[i]
Your body begins releasing melatonin in the evening to help you get ready to go to sleep, but the light from your phone is disrupting your circadian rhythm by telling your body to wake up.
Try to avoid using your phone for a few hours before bed and read or work on a hobby instead. If you can’t break the habit and need to stay connected, see if your phone has a blue light setting or app to filter out some of the blue light to minimize damage.
- Create a Before Bed Routine
We are creatures of habit, and if you have a routine before bed that you follow daily, you can train yourself to be ready to sleep. Create a routine with everything you need to get done, like brushing your teeth, picking clothes for the morning, reading, drinking relaxing tea, and follow the routine exactly every day right before bed. By repeating this daily you will know that you are going to sleep after this and your body will know what to expect.
- Eat Less at Dinner
We all know that feeling of going to bed after a large meal. You are bloated, uncomfortable, and possibly suffering from heartburn or nausea from the meal. It’s near impossible to get comfortable enough to fall asleep feeling like this. Avoid this discomfort by making dinner your smallest meal of the day and eating earlier. Give yourself time to digest by eating a few hours before bed time.
- Exercise Early
Studies are showing that exercising on a regular basis can help you to sleep better at night and feel more alert the next day. As little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise can help you to sleep better and reduce effects of sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.[ii] A good workout can tire you out and help you fall asleep faster.
Try to exercise earlier in the day though. Some people become more alert and have a harder time falling asleep if they exercise too close to bed so be careful hitting the gym in the evenings. Try out different times to exercise and see what works best for you!
- Keep your Sleep Times Consistent
It is tempting to stay up late at night and sleep in on the weekends, but seriously not a good idea. Try to keep your bed time and wake up time consistent throughout the week. Your circadian rhythm likes consistency and sleeping in late or staying up late makes it difficult to fall asleep easy when you need to. If on the weekends you need extra sleep, try short naps earlier in the day that will not affect your night time sleep.
The key is to train your body to know what to expect so that it can react like the fine-tuned machine it is.