Getting up early starts with going to bed early. Obvious? Yes. Easy to forget in the evening? Also, yes!
I have always been a night owl and didn’t see any reason to fight that…until I had children. I have to be intentional in my evening, if I want to get to bed early. I have found the following to be KEY:
Get off the computer and phone at least an hour before going to bed. The blue light emitted from your smartphone disrupts the release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. I can attest to this. When I am up late on my computer or phone, I have so much trouble falling asleep. This is the case even when tired. It’s a combination of the blue light and the level of mental engagement. Confession: if I am just on for 10-15 minutes during the last hour before bed, I’m satisfied. I figure, it’s LESS disruptive than a full hour.
Prepare for tomorrow. Spend a few minutes going over tomorrow’s schedule. If you are not one to schedule out your entire day, that is fine. Focus on the first hour or two at a minimum. Spending a few minutes NOW to ensure a productive first hour tomorrow, will help you in the morning. Here is the one simple task that will help plan for tomorrow.
Prepare for your morning dash out of the house. Are you leaving the house tomorrow? Why is that ALWAYS so hectic? Doing a few minutes of prep at night helps keep morning stress down. Set out your clothes. Make your lunch. Make sure your children are also prepared. (Dependent on age, of course. If they are older take the time NOW to teach them to prepare themselves! You will be thankful later.) Your mind will be more at ease when going to bed, knowing that you just took care of a bit of your morning stress.
Create a calming ritual. Spend a portion of the last 30-60 minutes doing something relaxing. This is a wonderful time to sit down with a book or magazine. Read your evening devotion. A warm bath or yoga are also good options.
Sleep in a cool, dark room. Set yourself up for a great night’s sleep.
Create a sleeping haven in your room. If you want to dabble in minimalism…start in your bedroom. When surrounded by complete chaos, it’s harder to relax at night. Don’t make yourself stare at a desk piled with all your work when trying to attempt falling asleep.
Record bedtimes. This may seem like an odd one, but this has been key. Midnight used to be my bedtime deadline. As long as I was in bed by midnight, I was satisfied. I would even feel a smidgen of pride when seeing 11:4-something. (Wow! I’m going to bed early!) If you set a bedtime goal, recording your actual bedtime will help to hold you accountable. When having a bedtime goal of 11, I would cringe to have to write down anything after midnight. It’s motivating…trust me. It’s amazing how helpful the simple step of writing it down is.
This post is from day 2 of my journey to make the most of my mornings by creating an early morning wake-up habit. Read all about it here: How to Enjoy an Early, Joyful, and Productive Morning.