Anxiety is a problem with many people especially during bed time. It’s during bed time that we think about a lot of things from how someone treated you at 10 am in the morning and how the food tasted bad at the restaurant. Evenings are always flooding with thoughts and most often its thoughts about tasks which need to be handled tomorrow. An event at the child’s school tomorrow , a meeting which you really don’t want to be a part of at the office and the dinner which you look forward to. Thoughts. Lots and lots of thoughts. And what happens when these things come up during bed time? You lay around thinking for a long time before you eventually go to sleep.
The next morning , you wake up groggy because you just couldn’t get enough sleep. You end up complaining the entire day and repeat the same thing tonight too.
This is what life is for most people. And then there is a life which is completely different for those who go through a ritual every evening before bed time. A life which is content, peaceful, active, dedicated and often times successful. Preparing for bedtime is an important ritual. Not just for good sleep but also for a great day tomorrow. Good rest always includes a calm state of mind. You cannot go to sleep with a wired brain. You need to unwind and relax . Let go of the day. That’s the reason we put together a list of things most successful people do to start their day great.
While there is a consensus about waking up early and its effect on your general well being and overall health, there are a select few who believe that waking up at any set time is better than forcing your body to wake up at a particular time. Some people are night owls and others are early birds. So its up to you to set a time to wake up. PErsonally i think that’s a load of crap. I have been a night owl for 20 odd years. I worked through the night and went to bed at 4 or 5 am. Oftentimes I slept around 8 or 9 am, usually after breakfast. These days I wake up at 3:30. I am at work by 4:30 after a quick shower , 30 minute workout and a cup of coffee. How is my day going these days? Well “Splendid” would be a word too short. I don’t think there is a morning person or an evening person. You just get used to a routine, stick to it for a while and you become the person you want to be. You want to be a night owl? Just stay awake a few night. It may be hard the first few nights but once you get the hang of it, you simply cant sleep at night. Its the same if you want to be an early bird too.
Being an early bird is one of the best things which can happen to you. You get 3-4 hours before everyone wakes up to do things you really loved but couldn’t. We are not talking about doing your laundry or cleaning the house at 3 am. Think about the more creative things. Things you always wanted to learn. Maybe play the guitar. Or learn to code. These things are possible now during the early hours. So … Don’t believe things about early birds and night owls. They don’t really matter
Your rituals start from just before dinner time. And this is important. You will know why
#1 Dump the device
Just before dinner time, switch off all your devices. Television, mobile phones and Everything digital. A bit of music is allowed and good but no podcasts, no news. It’s time to unwind. All screen devices have some form of blue light which hampers sleep patterns. I am not really sure about this, but i can’t sleep with the television on and if i am on my phone before bed, it takes a little bit longer to fall asleep. I am sure that the researchers got it right this time! Music is good. It calms your mind and this is beneficial. Try not to listen to rock and rap before bed time. Go for the more boring genre. Bach and beethoven are my choice. I dont understand a bit of those and that makes it easier on my jumpy brains!
#2 Light dinner
There are lots of content on what to eat and what not to eat during dinner. I would suggest that you keep off anything sweet. Ice creams, puddings and desserts will spike your blood sugar a bit and give you the energy which you dont need (unless you are preparing for some great sex later). Your dinner is supposed to be light. This helps you sleep better and faster. Don’t stuff yourself but be sure that you don’t wake up hungry in the middle of the night. Try to avoid anything too spicy (curry) or too much fat (Steak, fried food). Let the evening meal be more natural. Rice, vegetables and meat are all ok as long as they are not filled with fat or spices. Just make sure that you don’t eat a lot.
#3 Avoid Drinks
My dad had a habit of drinking a shot before his evening meal.He had been doing it for over 40 years. Recently he was forced to quit due to medical conditions. After he quit he realized that he slept a lot better at night without the drink. The first few nights were a bit difficult though. For those who drink heavy, It’s not just bad for your health , but also bad for your sleep. Try to avoid all forms of alcohol in the evening. An occasional drink with friends and family is often acceptable but if it’s going to be habitual, you may have a problem at some point of time. As a general rule avoid all drinks 2-3 hours before bed. This includes water. Coffee should be avoided from noon Or at least 6 hours before bed time.
I hate this part but it’s the most important part of the day. Make notes of all the tasks you have finished today and schedule your next day. While most people only put big events on their calendar, it’s important that you note down even the small things you intend to complete the next day. The tasks may be trivial like doing your laundry or washing your car, but make sure that you write it down. Just making notes clears your mind of all the things which you have to do tomorrow. You will not be going to bed thinking “Oh … I have to wash the car tomorrow” or “Have to pick up my daughter from school because the husband is working late”. You have already written it down and that’s a task done. It almost always feels like the task is half done when you have written it down. And by the way, use a paper and a pen to do the notes. You don’t want to put that on your phone on some fancy app!
#5 Set the stage
Bedroom has to be prepped before bed time. Ensure the temperature is not too hot or too cold. Set the Air conditioner or room heater to the right temperature. Make sure the sheets and pillows are in place and the dog hasn’t walked away with it. Bedrooms are required to be dark for a good sleep. Sleeping in a dark room is found to be beneficial and restful.
While most people would stretch or exercise before supper, its recommended that you only indulge in workouts 3-4 hours prior to bedtime. With heavy workouts or cardio, your endorphin levels will increase. Endorphins are more or less like pain killers. You could compare it with morphine. It feels good when the endorphins levels rise and when you feel good, you damn well don’t want to sleep. So , avoid workouts. But stretches are not prohibited. A light stretch or some Bed yoga could be a great way to relax your entire body.
Read anything boring and read from a book. A real book with pages made of paper. Dont indulge in a newspaper. And make sure that the book is educative and thus boring. I once had a friend who would read quantum physics in bed. I believe it helped him sleep. You may want something less interesting , may be a self help book or something spiritual. Anything which is related to business, news or your hobby will automatically create interest and delay sleep. So avoid them. I know its hard. I usually read something spiritual to bed. But then, thats me.
Most often that not, you will end up sleepy 14-16 hours after you wake up. Set your alarm to wake up accordingly. I wake up at 3:30 and i am in bed a little before 08:00 pm. And i don’t nap in between. Its tough to keep yourself on the clock every single day but thats the price you have to pay for better health and success. OK i am not warren buffet or Dwayne the Rock yet but i am successful in my own way.
And by the way, if you cant get to sleep still, may be its time to make some changes in your lifestyle. How about checking out the post on “tips and habits for a better sleep every night”. You will see small things which may require your attention. Small things which are easy to do and make real big difference to your health and sleep.