Sleep has been pretty much a fluid concept for me for as long as I can remember. I think I became a bona fide early riser in my mid-twenties (although I was never one of those roll out of bed in the afternoon types, even as a student) and at first it was great. I slept well, I went to bed at a reasonable time because I had a fantastic routine and I got loads more done – exercise, tidying, odd jobs and indeed work.
But as my life and job became more stressful, my routines went on the wane and all I was left with was a very tiring 5am alarm every morning, off the back of a night of even worse sleep. I was exhausted. And I’m not fixed yet, but I’ve started implementing these three tricks into my evening routine which means I am way more likely bounce out of bed feeling ready to go get it (whatever *it* may be).
1. The blue screen of death
Yep, death to those blue-light emitting devices. It sounds obvious but honestly I was so addicted to my smart phone I had no real idea how wired I was going to bed each night. But breaking any serious addiction is tough and it isn’t a case of just stopping. So this is what I’ve done to keep my iPhone addiction at bay.
- Place my iPhone away from my bed (this has the added bonus of my alarm going off on the other side of the room which means I physically have to rise to turn it off)
- Operate a strict 9pm curfew for all devices (still working on this one!)
- Develop a better evening reading habit by having a to-read pile so big and inspiring I just can’t resist picking them up
- Renewing my passion for crafts, notably knitting which keeps my hand busy but calms my mind
I’d absolutely love any tips you have for getting rid of your devices at night – what really helps you steer clear? Please share in the comments below.
2. Developing an evening “get-ready” ritual
One of the reasons I sleep so badly is because I’m worrying. I’m worrying about things that haven’t happened. Will I have enough time to pack my gym bag before hightailing it out of the house to class? Did I make my lunch? Oh no, I totally forgot to [insert work related worry here] and so on and so on. With a head so full of information and anxiety it is no wonder I can’t wind down and sleep. This is what my ritual is looking like:
- Whilst cooking dinner, I also make up my lunch and place everything in my lunch bag into the fridge ready to go the next morning.
- If I’m going to the gym, I’ll ensure my kit is laid out and my bag packed with exactly what I’ll be wearing the next day.
- Before climbing into bed, I’ll wash and moisturising my face with something lovely and brush my teeth to signify bedtime to my brain.
- I keep a small notepad by the bed ready for any last minute things that I may need to remember for tomorrow, and during the day I also make use of my iPhone’s note taking ability to keep a check on my to-dos.
One thing that has had a huge impact on my ability to sleep is not napping on the sofa in the evening – this has probably been the biggest culprit of my sleep woes for so long and its been a real battle to fight it!
3. Bedtime intention setting
Ok. bear with me here. I’m not about to tell you to meditate (although if meditation and yoga helps, I’m all for it), but I learnt about this trick in an amazing book by Hal Erod called the Miracle Morning and it really has transformed how I feel when I wake up each morning.
Hal talks about setting your intentions before bed and whilst when I first read it I thought it was psychobabble, I gave it ago and here I am. Essentially he argues that the first thought you have in the morning is the last one you have before you sleep, so that thought should be a positive one about the morning and the next day in general. I’ll often concentrating on things like waking up with energy, positivity and happiness, or if I know I’m going to get less sleep than is desirable I’ll repeat in my head “6 hours of sleep is exactly what I need to go get it done tomorrow”.
Sounds crazy? I know. But try it for yourself, and for help with bedtime intention setting head to The Miracle Morning website.
- We recorded a WHOLE PODCAST on putting your phone down – staring at your phone all day can have a huge impact on your sleep, so if you are worried about how glues you are to Instagram, this podcast will give you some tips. Listen to the podcast here.
- If meditation is something you want to try to help with your sleep, then we also recorded a podcast all about that. There are some top tips on how to get started with meditation, even if you are a little cynical about it like me. Listen to the podcast here.
What are your best pre-sleep practices? Share below!
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