Years ago, I saw a cartoon of a man and a woman announcing they were going to bed. The cartoon was gender humor, the husband announced: I'm going to bed! Then he went directly to bed. The wife says the same thing and then she prepared the coffee maker to brew the next days coffee, she scheduled the dishwasher to wash the dishes, she let the dog out and then back in, and did a few other things. All of this went on and on every night. I'm sure the cartoon was intended to be humorous but I mostly noticed how the woman set herself up for a good nights sleep and the next days success.
Here are good bedtime routine components worth considering:
1. Disconnect from your work.
Do not check your email in bed at night and try not to dwell on work issues as part of your bedtime routine. It will be much harder to relax if you do. Your bed is for sleep and for sex. Your night time bed activity should not include work.
2. Make a to-do List.
You need to clear your mind. Do it before going to your bed. Make a list of items and matters that you will address the following day so your thoughts don't end up invading your mind in the night.
Reading can take you on an escape, it can fuel your creativity, it can cleanse your mind and help you to unwind. Schedule 30 minutes of reading at night as a non-negotiable gift to yourself.
4. Spend time with the family.
The family can be those who live with you and it can be your pets. Doing so can reconnect you with what is important to you. Talking about your day is a wonderful way for everyone to connect.
5. Have a hygiene ritual.
The National Sleep Foundation actually recommends that you create some manner of hygiene ritual so that you send a psychological signal to yourself that you are winding down and getting ready for bed. Brush your teeth, wash your face, even adjusting the bed pillows as part of your ritual sets you up mentally for the next step: quality rest.
Sweet dreams tonight!