The Ultimate Bedtime Routine
There is a lot of talk in today's world about the importance of a consistent morning routine. The science is pretty clear and I would not argue that if you are someone who desires to have an above-average life, you should consider some type of morning mindfulness and consistent habit.
One thing often overlooked when it comes to a solid routine in the morning is the routine that we have the night before. In a world of tablets, smartphones, and laptops, it’s almost impossible to ever completely ‘unplug’. Especially before going to bed.
How many times have you been laying in bed next to your significant other, all snuggled up together, with your brand new iPhone 7 inches away from your face with the brightness turned down, just scrolling aimlessly? Then you start to drift away to sleep, only to have your muscles relax enough to allow your phone to smash you on the bridge of the nose.
Is that a familiar picture? I figured as much. Truth be told that it has happened to me more times than I would like to admit. However, I have begun to change up my evening routine and it has been a complete GAME CHANGER (on the nights I am disciplined enough to do it…)
The first big picture Idea is one that I learned from the author and high-performance coach, Brendon Bouchard. It is called his 3,2,1 method
- 1. Eat your last meal 3 hours before you go to bed. Your body does its best recovery at night while you are sleeping, and if it doesn't have to worry about digestion, it can focus on recovering the way it was designed. (also consider some type of intermittent fasting routine.)
- 2. No work within 2 hours of going to bed. It's hard enough to stop our minds from racing at night, so don't turbocharge it here. Spend your evenings away from the email and texts and unplug to spend time with family, or reading a good nonfiction book, or soaking in a hot bubble bath.
- 3.Turn off your screens 1 hour prior to bed. Science is beginning to be pretty clear here. The light that is emitted from our phone tricks our eyes/brain into thinking that it is still daytime and it keeps us from beginning to produce melatonin so that we can wind down and relax and fall asleep. (funny enough I am writing this at 8:54 pm. Do as I say, not as I do!!!)
This is a solid general framework at a very basic level, and there are also things that can help make this practice even more impactful.
Start where you are, however. Start with one of the practices and then build from there. Don’t feel like you have to do all the things at once. The last thing you want to do is become overwhelmed by what you want to accomplish and then cause yourself to not do any of it.
Within that last hour of bed consider the following, in order to supercharge your nighttime routine and prepare you for the morning ahead.
- Layout your clothes the night before. This includes your morning workout clothes. Our mind can only handle so many decisions in a day before our brain feels like it goes to mush, so why waste that valuable brainpower on something so insignificant as what you are wearing?
- Grab a journal and reflect on the following
- 3 amazing things that happened today (wins)
- 2 lessons you learned today
- Intentions for tomorrow (big rocks you need to get done)
- Affirmations (positive self-talk)
- ‘Parking lot’ of ideas you may have that you can braindump before going to bed.
- Read 10-20 pages
- Ask a question of your subconscious mind.
- This one may seem a little bit out there, but there has been a lot of studies that show our subconscious mind can be one of the most powerful tools in our arsenal. Don't let that go to waste. If you ask a question of yourself before going to bed, your subconscious mind will (subconsciously) work on figuring out that answer. Maybe consider asking ‘how can I become a millionaire’ or something to that nature.
Some other tools that may be helpful could be a sleep meditation. (I use insight timer or the ‘Calm’ app). Another consideration may be a white noise machine or an app on your phone that would do the same thing. There are many more tools that we could go into more depth on and that may be a good topic for another article, but for now, this is a great place to start.
Like it was alluded to at the beginning of this article, there is NO QUESTION that a powerful morning routine can be the key to unlocking your limitless potential, but in my opinion, the best morning routines start the night before.
Let us know your thoughts on