Life is made up of a series of small moments. And the behavioural science suggests that it’s what you do in these moments that is most critical for success in life. You may think it’s the grand pledge to give up all junk food or run a half marathon that marks success, but there’s more evidence to suggest that the cumulative impact of small, daily changes is far more significant. Put simply, our habits add up to the kind of life we want to lead. One of the most important habits we can get into is a great bedtime routine. This allows us to fully relax, get the most out of quality sleep and wake up the next day rested and with enough energy to tackle whatever challenges life decides to throw our way.
So if your current nighttime routine consists of nodding off with a takeaway on the sofa in front of a Netflix marathon before dragging yourself to bed in the early hours, you may want to have a rethink. Sleep is the foundation for so much of our mental and physical wellbeing, and without enough good quality rest our cognitive and physical health really suffers. Build a great night time routine and you really can unlock more energy, productivity, empathy and focus – in short, you can change your life.
Prep For Success
The start of a great night time routine is actually all about preparing for the next day. When we try to snap immediately into ‘rest mode’, with half-finished to-do lists and things to remember for the next morning buzzing around our heads, it’s little wonder that we can’t fully relax. By setting aside 20 minutes at the end of your day to prepare for the one ahead, you can quite literally put these thoughts to bed. Writing out a clear, to-do list using a prioritization matrix, ironing and setting out tomorrow’s outfit, loading the coffee maker or preparing breakfast in advance are all positive moves. Not only do they help you stop thinking about the day you just left behind, they also give you a calm start to the morning with plenty of time.
Reconnect With Yourself
When it’s time to chill out, you need to find a way to shut the door on your work self and reconnect with the inner you. This can be easier said than done, especially if, like so many of us, you are now working from home. Some people find that a mindfulness app or practising breathing techniques can bring them back to themselves. For others, it could be switching on a favourite playlist, taking a relaxing bath, doing a little at-home yoga, curling up with a favourite book, lighting some scented candles or calling a friend. Find what snaps you out of work mode and reminds you of who you really are to let your brain find the off switch.
Wind It Down
Your bedtime routine should be geared around slowly relaxing your brain in the wind-down towards a restful night. Activities like keeping a gratitude journal can provide an opportunity for self-reflection and refocusing on new priorities. It’s about all your senses, so using an aromatherapy diffuser loaded with calming oils like lavender can make a difference. Others find that researching cbd oil dosage uk leads them to the correct amount of a relaxing tincture they can add to their pre-bed routine. Keep the lights low, swap the caffeine for a herbal tea or a malt drink and limit the amount of time you spend with blue-light emitting electronic screens, especially if you have trouble falling asleep. The aim is to encourage the brain to produce melatonin, the natural chemical that signals to our bodies it’s time to get ready for sleep.
Keep Your Bed Sacred
Your bed should only be for sex or sleeping – nothing else! Getting out of the habit of mindlessly scrolling through your social feeds or watching TV in bed is key. Keep it as a place where you rest and recharge. Invest in the best quality mattress you can, along with some breathable bedding and make sure you’re sleeping with the right kind of covers for the season. Your environment should be made as dark as possible, using blackout blinds or heavy lined curtains and you should aim for it to be ever so slightly cooler – all of this helps the body to settle into a state of sleep-readiness. Then lie down, practice some relaxation techniques and allow yourself to slowly drift off. Sweet dreams!