As someone who has the occasional trouble sleeping, I can attest that bedtime rituals are crucial in setting up a productive next day. There is nothing wrong with clearing your mind of any stresses of the day but by spending your entire evening in front of a screen, you are denying yourself an opportunity to improve many different areas of your life. The last few things you do before bed tend to have a significant impact on your mood and energy level the next day.
Disconnect From Work
Give yourself a buffer period between the time you read your last email and the time you go to bed. The idea is to get your head out of work before you lie down to go to sleep. It can be very hard not to do, or think about, work before bed. But developing this habit can pay off big time. It will help you go to bed feeling less stressed, and allow you to sleep with a clearer mind.
Reflect On Your Day
Take time to look back on the day and see what worked for you. Consider what you learned. It doesn’t always have to be something goal oriented. It can also be something that you learned about yourself. Maybe you learned that something specific frustrates and you need to find a solution. Maybe you realized that you need to practice self care more regularly. Look at what you are grateful for. This applies to both your work and your life. Gratitude is so powerful.
Project Your Tomorrow
Now that you’ve reviewed how well your day went and what you are grateful for, look at what is on the agenda for tomorrow. Then write down what you want to accomplish. This should just be two or three things. For many people clearing the mind of what is left to do is the key to a good night’s sleep. Once you’ve moved the item from you brain to a “to do” list, your brain is free to relax. You aren’t taxing it trying to remember. This also gives the subconscious brain time to work on the problems while you are asleep.
Unwind and Relax
Find some way that lets you ease into your home environment. This could be something as simple as a nice family dinner, listening to some music, or attending a yoga class. Other ideas include taking time for your hobbies, playing with the family pets, taking a walk, or reading a novel. This should be pleasurable for you.
And, speaking of unwinding, watch the time where you are zoned out in front of the television. Studies have shown that over time too much television can affect both your analytical and creative thinking abilities.
You are likely so keyed into your computer all day that it’s really important that you unplug, particularly at bedtime. Research shows that the blue light from your phone causes problems for your sleep patterns. Your brain interprets this as the sun’s brightness and stops producing melatonin. This leads to poorer sleep as well as aging you faster.
And, it’s not just the blue light from your phone that throws your body out of whack. It’s also the light from the television, the clock, and even the nightlight. Create a ritual where you don’t have these lights in the bedroom. Your body will thank you for it.