If you ask successful people how to have a productive day, they’ll tell you to start the night before with an effective nighttime routine. How you go to sleep each night sets the stage for how you wake up the next morning. After all, no matter how many hours you spend preparing for an important meeting or presentation, it can still be ruined if you don’t have enough energy to execute it.
Getting a full night’s sleep is easier said than done, which is why a nighttime routine comes in handy. This ritual will help you maximize your evenings for productivity and sleep preparation. It’s easy to lose track of time at night on mindless activities that aren’t helping you reach your goals. Watching tv and scrolling through Instagram not only wastes time, but they also hinder your sleep.
Below you’ll discover how to establish a nighttime routine that sets you up for success using the tips below:
1. Eat dinner early
Eating late at night can raise your heart rate and make it harder to fall asleep, so try to knock out dinner by 7 p.m. This will also help you curb late-night snacking. If you accidentally eat something with caffeine in it, such as chocolate, this will also give your body time to process it before bed. Try meal-prepping on Sunday nights to make dinnertime easier on you during the workweek.
2. Review tomorrow’s calendar
You’ll never get surprised by a meeting or deadline if you review your to-do list the night before. While you may think this exercise can increase nighttime anxiety, it actually reduces it. You’ll feel prepared and ready to take on the day when you wake up. It also gives your brain more time to solve problems you’re trying to tackle. You never know what solutions you’ll have the next morning when you wake up.
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln
3. Put the phone away
Not only does scrolling through Instagram waste tons of time, it also keeps you awake. The blue light from your phone tricks your brain into thinking it’s earlier than it is. Schedule catch-up calls and texts for earlier in the evening, and make sure to limit this screen time to avoid losing track of time. 1 to 3 hours before bed, put your phone on the charger far away from you and forget about it.
4. Lay out your clothes
Reduce the number of decisions you have to make in the morning by knocking out low-level tasks the night before. Laying out your work clothes is an easy task to tackle in the evening. You can also consider limiting your wardrobe. During his presidency, Barack Obama only wore light and grey suits to help offset decision fatigue. Stick to a simple, polished color palette for work to reduce the number of decisions you need to make surrounding your wardrobe.
5. Skip the wine
A glass of wine before bedtime doesn’t help you sleep better, even if it makes you feel drowsy. Alcohol actually reduces the chances of you achieving REM sleep, and could also result in a pesky wine hangover. Save the alcohol for special occasions.
6. Wind down
Before you retire to your bedroom, start the wind down process with an activity that relaxes you. Whether this means taking a warm bath, reading a book, doing stretches, or practicing meditation, the activity will help you clear your mind and get ready for sleep. Light candles and dim the lights to put your mind even more at ease.
7. Practice gratitude
Transform your perspective with a gratitude journal. It is so easy to take life’s little blessings for granted, but a gratitude journal reminds you of what you are thankful for each day. This activity can take less than 10 minutes and is a great way to clear your mind before bed.
Write down highlights from your day, and a few things you are grateful for. You can also note things you didn’t accomplish that day but hope to tackle tomorrow.
“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” – Zig Ziglar
8. Get on a schedule
Getting a good night’s sleep is the key ingredient to a successful nighttime routine (and it can extend your life!) Go to bed at the same time every night to get your body in a rhythm and you’ll find it’s actually easier to sleep each night. While the amount of sleep each person needs varies (and is actually impacted by genetics), adults should plan to get 7 to 8 hours on average each night.
Creating routines that emphasize productivity and healthy habits is the key to habitual success. A successful nighttime routine sets you up for a successful day ahead, full of energy and intention.