The most successful and wealthy individuals in the world have some sort of morning routine or ritual that they perform every single day. They’re usually up bright and early, meditate, exercise, read, and work on personal projects way before the rest of the world even wakes up. They have officially mastered how to be productive, and even though they often discuss their morning routines, I can just about guarantee that the majority of them have bedtime routines as well.

You probably wake up feeling tired, a bit foggy, and definitely not ready to jump out of bed and tackle the day until you press snooze at least once. Luckily, setting yourself up with the right routine before going to sleep can help to change how you start your mornings. Here of some of the benefits of establishing a bedtime routine:

You’ll Fall Asleep Easier & Stay Asleep Longer

Taking an hour before sleep to create a bedtime routine that focuses on relaxation as opposed to letting the stresses of the day keep us awake, your body will get the time and attention it needs to focus on recovery.

Sleep is when your body rejuvenates and heals, and it’s important to make sure you’re allowing your body to focus on that throughout the night. If you’re one to toss and turn while you sleep, and wake up in the morning feeling like you didn’t sleep at all, it’s time for you to establish a sleep-centered bedtime routine. The routine I outline below is what I personally use to help combat my sleep issues and to get the most restful sleep possible.

Bedtime Routines Can Relieve Stress

Stress causes us to stay up late at night worrying about things that haven’t even happened yet such as upcoming bills, tomorrow night’s dinner, your morning meeting–all things that you don’t need to be dealing with while going to sleep. With a bedtime routine, you’ll make a to-do list for the next day, transferring all your mind’s worries onto paper so you won’t forget them tomorrow, and most importantly won’t think about them while you’re lying in bed.

Even better, you will wake up knowing exactly what needs to get done despite morning brain fog, so you can sleep as late as your schedule allows. No more waking up ahead of your alarm because you left yourself extra things to get done in the morning. To-do lists will also make your mornings more efficient because while you’re feeling groggy waiting for your coffee to finish brewing, you’ll know exactly what else you can be getting done without having to put much thought into it.

They’ll Also Make You More Productive

One of my favorite things about preparing ahead with a bedtime routine is that I don’t have to wake up stressing over what needs to be done that day and whether or not I’m forgetting anything. We all want to accomplish as much as possible in as little time as we can because let’s face it, there’s just not enough time in the day sometimes. The people who seem to effortlessly manage to get all of their daily tasks done by noon can often seem like an entirely different species when compared to the rest of us. But, let me tell you something. That can be you. It just takes a little bit of initial effort to see a huge change. Waking up immediately knowing what needs to be done for the day (and in what order, if you make your to-do lists like I do) can make the day’s tasks so much easier to tackle, and actually make you want to get out of bed to get started.

Efficient Bedtime Routines Can Make You Happier

Everybody likes to feel super productive and that they can accomplish any task they set their mind to. With a little bit of planning and preparation, you can be super productive and I promise it will make you feel like you are on top of the world. Productivity combined with a great night of sleep, less stress, and more time for things you actually enjoy leads to a much happier you.

So, now what? Changing the way you end off your days with a bedtime routine can make a huge impact on your quality of life. No single bedtime routine will work perfectly for everyone– I’ll give you recommendations based on my personal bedtime routine which can then be tweaked to fit your needs and your lifestyle.

Here’s how to get started with a bedtime routine:

  1. Make a cup of calming tea such as chamomile or peppermint.

    • I find that I can drink my tea after dinner when I am still getting a few last-minute tasks done for the day ahead and am not fully ready to get in bed yet. This helps my body unwind and slowly get into bedtime mode.
    • I love Celestial Seasonings’ Sleepy Time & Tension Tamer blends if you need any recommendations!
  2. Dim the lights and turn off your electronics one hour before you want to fall asleep.

    • Studies show that artificial bright lights, specifically blue LED light found in everything from televisions and smartphones to overhead lighting and computer screens, can greatly interrupt sleep over both the short and long term. When exposed to natural light from the sun, your brain’s hypothalamus determines when you will sleep and wake based on whether it is light or dark outside. Artificial light confuses your brain and interrupts these sensitive patterns. Blue light suppresses the hypothalamus’ production of melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep, so this can make it difficult to fall asleep after you are looking at your social media feeds or watching your favorite TV shows in order to “get tired”. Even street lights and alarm clocks are enough to disrupt your body’s sleep cycles.
    • It’s not all bad though. During the day, this same blue light can also help boost your attention span, reaction times and mood, which are all great when you want to be alert. So keep your lights bright and your electronics on during the day, and keep the lights low for at least an hour before you try to fall asleep.
  3. Make a to-do list.

    • This is my absolute favorite thing to do before I fall asleep at night. If I get home late from work and don’t have an hour to spend winding down, this is the one thing I make sure to get done because it only takes 5 minutes and saves so much time for me the next day. When I create my lists, I like to assign tasks to a schedule so I know what time I am waking up, what time each task needs to be accomplished by, and approximately how long each one should take. I’m a little over detailed sometimes so I put everything on this list from when I’ll stop hitting snooze and brush my teeth to the time it will take me to eat breakfast and pack up my laptop. This may seem unnecessary but for someone who struggles with morning brain fog that can be paralyzing at times, it’s a fool-proof way to take those little tasks off of my mind and transfer them somewhere else so that I can stop thinking about them and sleep peacefully.
  4. Plan your outfit for the next day.

    • Maybe it’s a little different for people who wear suits every day or those of you who wear a uniform to work, but for a lot of us deciding on an outfit can waste a ton of time in the morning, especially if you constantly feel like you have “no clothes to wear”. So do yourself a favor and get it done before you go to bed. Come the morning, you’ll be so glad you did.’
  5. Meditate while you fall asleep.

    • A lot of successful people will tell you that they meditate in the morning as a way to set their intention for the day. For me, I prefer to start setting my intention the night before. It allows me to cleanse my mind of all that happened that day, and to wake up with a completely clear focus on the day ahead of me. It also resets my motivation and gets me excited to get up the next morning to tackle my goals once again. I also find that it helps me fall asleep faster if I meditate as a way to relax myself into dreamland. If you’re unsure how to get started meditating, try downloading an app such as Headspace, Calm, or Oprah & Deepak’s 21-Day Meditation Experience.

Establishing any sort of routine in life can be difficult, especially at first. We all feel like we don’t have time in the mornings to get things done, so we come home after work and scramble for the few hours we have to do things at home and spend time with loved ones before going to bed and starting all over again. If we ever want to change we need to make a commitment to ourselves no matter what circumstances we’re in, and implement the bedtime routines that fit our lifestyles. The same bedtime routine will never work for everyone, so just make sure to find what works for you and work ceaselessly to turn it into a habit.

What do you think you could be doing as a part of your bedtime routine to make your mornings easier and your days less stressful?

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