I have a love-hate relationship with mornings. Rarely do I wake up feeling ready to get out of bed, and I often snooze the alarm three or four times before actually getting up. Since I was a kid, I’ve struggled with insomnia; there were times in college when I’d stay up for days in a row! Exhausted from lack of sleep, I’d guzzle coffee to pay attention in class and function throughout the day, then lie awake at night before eventually getting up and cleaning or studying. I knew it wasn’t healthy, but the only solutions I’d ever been offered were to take medication every night, which also seemed unhealthy.
So, I lived with it.
Once I started working full time, sleep became a bit easier. Of course, I thought my job must be wearing me out mentally more than my classes had, and never really thought about the impact of my new routine nine-to-five schedule Monday through Friday.
While sleep was becoming easier, I’d still wake up feeling groggy and like I could use a few more hours of shuteye. When I tried a few of those sleep tracker apps, my results were sporadic, and it seldom showed that I was sleeping deeply.
It’s no wonder I was tired all day – I wasn’t really sleeping at night!
So, I set out to create a simple night routine that calms my mind and works with my circadian rhythm to promote deep, healthy sleep.
Wake Up Feeling Rested with My Night Routine
- Eat dinner early and stop snacking at least two hours before bed. I love chocolate, and I’d often snack on a couple pieces of dark chocolate at night – turns out it blocks adenosine, a chemical that naturally makes us sleepy! This article by VeryWell Health goes into more detail about the effects of late-night eating.
- Turn off my TV and cell phone at least one hour before bed – having the TV on stimulates your brain and the blue light from your cell phone emits blue lights which suppress melatonin. This article from The Sleep Doctor explains the effect of blue light on sleep.
- Pack a lunch and get a few things prepped for breakfast – knowing that all this is ready to go clears up so much mental space, and makes mornings much more relaxing.
- Pick out my clothes for the following day and pack them into my gym bag with my water bottle, yoga towel, mat and toiletries, then lay out my workout clothes.
- Wash my face and follow this nighttime wellness and beauty routine, turn on my oil diffuser with lavender and sandalwood, then get in bed with a book and read until my eyes start to feel droopy.
- Turn off the bedside lamp, cover my eyes with a sleeping mask to block any lights from electronics or through my window, and catch some Zzzs.