Your day really starts the night before.
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The time before bed is sacred. What you do before bed determines how well you sleep and whether you will wake up the next day energized.
I often thought that morning routines were key until I realized that a morning routine is useless if you wake up tired and lifeless.
It’s hard to get out of bed and start your day with a bang if you haven’t slept well and set your day up the night before.
Your day starts the night before.
Experiment with doing these things before going to bed:
Empty your cup
The day causes our cup (mind) to overflow with thoughts, ideas, concerns and stories that repeat themselves over and over.
Empty your cup before you go to bed. Let it all spill out so that your cup won’t continue overflowing all through the night and stop you sleeping.
- Write down your thoughts before bed
- Talk about your day with your partner
- Watch a mind-numbing show
That last one is my favorite. I often watch a TV show called “Grand Designs” before bed because its simplicity allows me to escape my thoughts and concentrate on the physical structure of a house. I will never be a builder and have no intention of building a house or renovating.
The TV show has no meaning to me, there is nothing for me to learn, and I have no interest in the subject whatsoever. This complete disconnect helps to empty my cup.
Many of my friends cite mind-numbing TV shows as being helpful for them emptying their owns cups before bed. Try it for yourself.
To prepare for bed, you’ve got to chill out a little. Take a load off, relax, sit on the couch, lie on the floor, sit up in bed, or find your own way to relax.
Part of calming down before bed is getting yourself in a relaxing state of mind. We all have an activity that we find relaxing. Insert that activity right before bed.
Have a warm shower
A shower before bed is an excellent way to relax. There is a lot of mumbo jumbo about your body temperature before bed and while there’s probably some truth to it, the relaxing benefits of a shower can be underestimated.
If you really are worried about the body temperature before bed debate, you can make the shower a warm one rather than a cold one. What matters is that time alone with water pouring down all over your body. The sound and motion of the water has a meditative effect that is hard to explain.
Stop eating at 8 PM
Eating right before bed is a bad idea. Your body needs time to rest and that includes your stomach.
One way I have found to increase my energy levels has been to insert a period of fasting into my day. I stop eating at 8 PM each night and don’t start eating until around 7 AM the next day. This gives my body plenty of time to do its thing and not be bombarded by never-ending calories that it has to work overtime to process.
Try giving your body a rest and not having a late-night snack.
Spend time with your partner
Time with your partner (or your housemates/family if you don’t have a partner) is a way to experience human connection before bed.
We spend so much of our day in front of a phone or computer that we can easily forget that there are these things called human beings that exist too. Asking about someone’s day helps take the focus off your own and that is another way to empty all the thoughts out of your mind.
Try reconnecting with a human before bed.
Let your worries rest
Going to bed with a head full of worries will not help you sleep.
Worry keeps us awake and lets our minds keep ticking. You can’t fix your worries in your sleep. Accepting your worries and letting them rest until tomorrow without the need to come up with action plans is a helpful thought to ponder.
Before bed, the aim is to get out of problem-solving mode and into resting mode.
Contemplate what you have achieved
I find contemplating what I have achieved helps me to switch off.
When you think about what you have achieved, you feel a sense of pride and it puts your day in context. It makes the struggles you endure worth it and that thought is a calming one before bed.
We achieve so much each day and that might help you get ready for tomorrow.
Avoid social media right before bed
Now I am guilty of this one. Being on LinkedIn late at night is tempting for me. But it doesn’t help me sleep.
All it takes is a stray comment or the need to compare my results to someone else’s, and my sleep is disturbed. There’s always one more thing to do when it comes to social media — another post, another comment to leave, another writer to study, another fun fact, another opportunity.
Social media before bed makes your mind go a million miles per hour and that is the enemy of rest. Social media triggers thoughts and plants a huge volume of information in our brain at a rapid pace. This is not good for rest.
Finish up social media early if you can, so that you can focus on relaxing and getting ready for tomorrow. There is always time for social media tomorrow. It’s not going anywhere.
Be appreciative for one thing
You don’t have to get all spiritual and shit and be all #humble.
Appreciating one thing helps you to realize how much you already have. Every day, you get one gift of something going right amongst all the stuff that goes wrong. This gift is a good focus point to reflect on and be at peace with.
Every day, one thing is going right for you. What is it?
Did the car start? Did someone hold the door open? Did the customer do what you wanted them to do? Did you get to read that book?
There are plenty of things that went right today and remembering one of them will help you prepare for tomorrow and wake up energized.