Many, many successful people have morning routines. A few years ago, there was a big explosion, a focus on morning routines – things like meditating, exercising, journaling, practicing gratitude (there’s a few more but I’ll save that for the book that I’m writing about the routines of successful people).
Equally as important as morning routines is having a night time routine – it makes sense though – if you can get to bed at a decent time, get a great night’s rest, it will set your morning up for success. I’ve definitely been there – stayed up way past my normal bed time either playing video games or watching Netflix and then when I wake up in the morning, I am completely exhausted and struggle trying to make it through the day with my eyes open.
How do you set yourself up for success the next morning? Have a night time routine. Here are some of the things that I do to get a great night of rest and wake up feeling refreshed and amazing.
Set an alarm for when you want your night time routine to begin
Life gets busy. Sometimes you log on late at night to finish off the work (sometimes to catch up on work and other times because you want to get ahead). Sometimes you stay up late watching Netflix and the auto play just catches you off guard. How do you know when it’s time to begin your night time routine? Set up an alarm clock. This also helps you to sleep at the same time every day which is essential to getting a great night’s rest. How long do you set it up for? Think about when you ideally want to wake up, think about how long you would like to sleep (7 – 8 hours is typical) and then think about what you want to do as part of your night time routine and work backwards from there.
Once your alarm rings, stop looking at your blue light devices
Blue light is not very good for you – there are many, many studies showing how it negatively affects your sleep. The consensus is that you should stop looking at your smartphone, laptops, TV’s etc. about 2- 3 hours before bed. Depending on how long your night time routine is and when your alarm goes off, try to get off your smartphone, tablet or laptop around the same time OR try out the blue light blocking glasses (you can find them on Amazon). They look weird but they can help improve the quality of your sleep.
Do something relaxing
Part of my night time routine is to try to complete a few chores – I find that it helps me to use that time to organize and clean around the house and at the same time to relax. Other relaxing activities can include doing the laundry, folding your clothes, meditating, drinking a non-caffeinated tea. Find something that works for you.
Read fiction books
When I first started getting into a night time routine, I thought that it would be a good time to read – and since I primarily read non-fiction books, it ended up being very useful except that in order to read non-fiction and get the most out of it, you really have to concentrate, think and critique what you are reading which may not necessarily be the best thing right before bed. You want to read something relaxing. Something funny, something that you do not have to think about – and sometimes fiction books are the best. Recently, I’ve been reading The Book of Awesome – the stories are funny and it gives you a great way of thinking about gratitude as well. Here’s another suggestion: poetry books. Thinking about the meaning of some of the poems can really help you sleep 🙂
You can use any journal but I have a question journal where I can document what I did that day, what I ate, what interesting things I did, what cool people I hung out with at Tea Girl, etc. and then I answer a random question. What can be interesting (this is my first journal) is to use the same journals year after year and see how you change based on the questions you answer (and if its the same journal, the questions should be the same). It’s a good way of remembering the things that you did that day (because how many times have you thought about what you had for breakfast that day and couldn’t remember) and to practice some future thinking (i.e., what do you need to get done the next day).
Connect with loved ones
I lead a busy life. My girlfriend is also extremely busy. We don’t have a lot of time to connect and it is important to connect with your loved ones on a regular basis. So use that time at night to chat with your loved ones – ask them about their day, what kind of things they did, what interesting conversations they may have had. Ask them about their plans for the weekend. Plan for the future.
Stop drinking water about 2 hours before bed time
Drink too much water and you’ll get up to pee in the middle of the night. If your lips are dry, try using lip balm before going to bed.
Tell yourself that you are going to have an incredible night of rest
I know it sounds strange. I first read about this in Hal Elrod’s book Miracle Morning and decided to try it one day when I knew I’d only be getting a few hours of sleep because what the hell, it couldn’t hurt right? Lo and behold, I had some of the best sleep and I woke up refreshed that morning. It was really strange but now I have started to incorporate it into my night time routines – and not just for nights where I know I won’t be getting a lot of sleep (although I do this more when I have fewer hours of sleep in front of me). Try it the next time – what do you have to lose?
Night time routines are incredibly important – maybe just as important as morning routines. There’s now a whole revolution about sleep – getting in 4 hours of sleep every single night is not a bragging right, it can be very bad for your health, for your productivity and for your energy levels. Sleep is the new not-so-secret weapon that the most successful people have and a structured and effective night time routine will help you get there.