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.
Many people often think that morning routines are key but then still find 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.
The truth is that your day starts the night before. In fact, it's what you do before you go to bed that matters most. Experiment with doing these things before going to bed, and you will probably find that starting your day with energy and excitement gets a lot easier.
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 TV show
That last one is our favorite. We often watch a TV show called “Grand Designs” before bed because its simplicity allows us to escape nagging thoughts and concentrate on the physical structure of a house. We will never be a builder and have no intention of building a house or renovating.
The TV show has no meaning to us, there is nothing for us to learn, and we have no interest in the subject whatsoever. This complete disconnect helps to empty the cup – brain – very well.
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.
Take a warm shower
A shower before bed is an excellent way to relax. There is a lot written 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 but is usually very effective.
Stop eating at 8 PM
Eating right before bed is a bad idea. Your body needs time to rest and that includes your stomach.
This is also a great way to insert that period of fasting everyone is talking about into your life. If you stop eating at 8 PM each night and don’t start eating until around 7 AM the next day that's an 11-hour fast, but without any real effort on your part at all.
Spend time with people
Time with your partner – or your housemates/family/kids/ – 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.
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.
Avoid social media right before bed
Being on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn late at night is tempting for many of us. But it doesn’t help you sleep.
All it takes is a stray comment you disagree with or the need to compare your results to someone else’s, and your 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 the next day. There is always time for social media tomorrow. It’s not going anywhere.