I believe that having an efficient and disciplined morning routine can have a direct impact on both how joyful and productive my day is. I’ve also found, however, that what can make or break my morning routine is what I do the night before. For this reason, I place a higher level of determination on keeping my nightly routine constant from day to day.
If you feel you need to update your own personal “nightlife” (you know, the kind when you’re in bed by 9 p.m.), try adding the following five ideas to your routine.
Coffee! Coffee! Coffee!
Caffeine affects me like crazy, so I’ve made a rule that I don’t consume it past noon. While you may not need to be as strict as me, experts say to avoid caffeine for at least four to six hours before you desire to sleep. As a stimulant, caffeine doesn’t just make it more difficult to go to sleep, but also to stay asleep.
Turn off your devices.
Those bright lights aren’t doing anyone any good, and they especially aren’t helping at night. For me and my husband, we strive to turn off our electronics by 9 p.m. This includes cell phones, tablets, and laptops as well as the TV. Instead, we enjoy taking that time to talk, read a book, or prepare our home for what we need to do the next day (pack a lunch, tidy our space, etc).
Create the perfect atmosphere.
Your bedroom should be arranged and made to positively impact your sleep. Create a peaceful place that is dark, cool, and quiet. However, don’t take that to mean you can’t use a light, warm blankets, and a noise machine—whatever makes you comfortable and at ease. Buy a quality mattress and pillows and remember to replace them when necessary. There is nothing fun about getting a restful sleep but waking up with a crick in your neck!
Reflection, meditation, & prayer, oh my!
Before I go to sleep, one of my favorite things to do is to reflect on my day and meditate as well as say my prayers. Reflect on what you’re proud you accomplished; it’ll give you more motivation to do the same tomorrow, and to do the things you didn’t get done that day. Recognize you’re human, forgive yourself, and use it as motivation to do better tomorrow. Meditate by focusing on your breathing patterns (deep breaths help you fall asleep faster too) and being mindful of how each part of your body is relaxing. My nighttime prayers consist of showing God gratitude for my day, recognizing where He showed up in both my joys and trials, and asking Him to do the same tomorrow.
Keep it consistent.
Now that you’ve got the routine that works best for you down, stick with it! If you go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day—even on the weekend (yes, I know it’s difficult, but do your best)—your internal clock will make getting up and going to sleep easier and will also help you sleep better.
I hope you find these nighttime tips and tricks helpful and think about adding them into your daily routine. I know they’ve made a tremendous difference in my life and I pray that the same happens for you!