BEDTIME ROUTINE - Success Starts The Night Before

Sep 06, 2022

Waking up early and following a morning routine is the secret of highly successful people. From Oprah and Tony Robbins to Naomi Osaka and Richard Branson, it all comes down to adopting energizing habits in the morning for high achievers.

Or does it?

While a morning routine is critical to boosting your energy levels and setting the tone for a productive day, so is adopting a healthy bedtime routine. From Bill Gates and Arianna Huffington to Michael Phelps and Sheryl Sandberg, high achievers also know to prioritize their sleep to be sharp and productive the next day.

In this post, I’ll explain more in detail why a bedtime routine is so critical to your success before sharing five ways to build a good routine before bed.


The Importance Of A Bedtime Routine

“Your morning routine is only sustainable if it hinges on a restorative bedtime routine”.

I’m a big advocate for adopting a morning routine and being consistent with it. I have one myself, and I prompt all of my clients to adopt energizing habits in the morning, even if it’s only for fifteen minutes.

But the truth is that no matter how good our morning routine is and how diligent we are with it, the quality and duration of our sleep will impact our mood and productivity the next day. While stretching after waking up, exercising, hydrating, journaling, or meditating are all excellent habits that will help fuel our energy levels, if our bedtime routine is out of check, we will feel depleted regardless. At least in the long run.

A sustainable morning routine depends on a good bedtime routine. That’s because a morning routine can’t override an insufficient amount of sleep.

Sleep is paramount to humans’ ability to function and perform at their best.

While we sleep, our brain doesn’t rest. In fact, it’s extremely active, and a host of chemical and electrical activities take place. When asleep, our brain processes all of the information we’ve learned during the day and stores it for us, helping us memorize it.

But sleep doesn’t only help to enhance our memory.

Studies also show how powerful sleep is in boosting our energy levels, sharpening our focus and attention and improving our problem solving and decision making. And this, of course, is critical to being productive and sustaining high performance.

Now, restorative sleep can only happen if we set aside some time before bed (our bedtime routine) to allow our body and mind to relax after a long day. This time is critical as it helps us transition from activities requiring high energy levels to a relaxed state conducive to sleep.

So, there you have it; both our bedtime and morning routines are key to our success.

And as Benjamin Franklin would say: “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”


Five Ways To Build A Better Bedtime Routine

Now that we’ve established the importance of prioritizing our bedtime routine, here’s how to maximize our recovery time.


Prepare The Room

It can be hard to relax in a hot and cluttered room. So, make it a ritual to prepare your bedroom before bed by setting the temperature to between 61 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit (approx. 16 and 22 degree Celsius) closing the curtains, and dimming the lights.

Put the clutter away to allow your mind to relax and diffuse your favorite scented oils, or light up a scented candle to create a soothing atmosphere.

Also, once you’re into bed, make it the last thing you do before sleeping. Getting in and out of bed multiple times will prevent your body and mind from calming down and prevent you from dozing off.


Sleep For At least 7 Hours Every Night

As mentioned before and also in my earlier blog post, sleep is the cornerstone to our success. And while the optimal number of hours of sleep varies from person to person, performing at your best requires at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Some people might need 9 or 10 hours. Others will be perfectly functional and extremely productive with 7 hours of sleep.

How much you really need depends on how you feel on 7 or 8 hours of sleep. Do you feel rested when you wake up after sleeping for 7 hours? Do you feel productive and happy? Do you tend to sleep more when you don’t have to go to work?

The answers to these questions will help you determine your optimal amount of sleep.


Set Up A Bedtime Alarm

Like your morning alarm, your bedtime alarm allows you to prepare for that well-needed restful night.

Start to slow down your activities, ideally between 30 to 60 minutes before your sleep time.

And this is when you should turn off ALL of your electronic devices. This includes computers, televisions, tablets, and smartphones.

That’s because electronic devices emit strong blue light. And blue blight has been proven to block the production of melatonin in your brain, a hormone produced as a response to darkness and that makes us feel drowsy. Every time you use your phone or watch TV before bed, that blue light floods your brain, tricking it into thinking it’s daytime.

As a result, your brain suppresses melatonin production and works to stay awake.


Choose Your Bedtime Activities Wisely

Here are a few bedtime activities that will allow your brain and body to slow down right before bed and settle into a nighttime mindset.

  • Read a book: avoid drama or suspense books as they could keep you awake.
  • Have a conversation with your partner
  • Meditate: mindful meditation has been shown to help fight insomnia and improve sleep quality. So, find a comfortable position, close your eyes and focus on your feelings and thoughts. Simply observe them and don’t judge them. Let them slip on you like a raindrop on a leaf and relax.
  • Journaling: this will allow you to clear your mind and fully unplug from the daily grind before bed. Note that you should do this approximately 30 to 60 minutes before bed to allow enough time for your mind and body to disconnect and relax.


Watch Your Food And Water Intake

Experts recommend eating a light meal at least three hours before bed to allow your stomach and body to process the food properly and prepare for bedtime. Also, try to avoid eating sugar before bed, as sugar causes your blood sugar levels to rise, leading to restlessness and awakenings. So, avoid having ice cream or chocolate as a pre-bedtime snack ;)

Hydration is another essential factor to consider. While you should keep hydrating throughout the day to replenish your water levels, refrain from drinking too much water before bed as it can cause you to wake up for a toilet break in the middle of the night, disturbing your sleep.


And that’s a wrap for today.

As humans, our body’s internal clock works according to the sun; as the sun sets, we should start slowing down and preparing to transition for nighttime. But because we’re living in such a fast-paced society where sleep is perceived as a waste of time and days need to be maximized to fit all of our work, and personal commitments, the importance of a bedtime routine is often overlooked. Yet, it has never been so important, especially if you want to excel and sustain your high performance.

I see it every day as I help clients like you maximize their impact! So, if you need help setting the right habits to fuel your success, don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’d love to help. 

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