From entrepreneurs and presidents to writers and CEOs, it seems happy and successful people have a good before-bed routine. Perhaps it’s because their time is limited and valuable, or maybe they’ve just learnt good organisational skills along the way. Regardless of what they do before going to bed, it seems they all value consistency and a good night’s sleep to ensure they have a successful and productive day when they wake up.
Of course, you don’t have to be the CEO of a global company to aim for a good sleep and successful day. For some of us, just getting through work, exercising, organising kids, eating well and staying healthy, being social and keeping our home on track is a big challenge every day. So we’ve come up with a list of what to do before bed that will help transform your day into an organised, productive success.
#1. Plan your day
Before you go to bed, spend five minutes going through your planner or calendar. Make a list of all the things you have to do, (e.g. write a report, attend a meeting, pick up children), then write a list of the things you’d like to accomplish, (e.g. gym session, walk around the park, wardrobe clean out, pay rise request). If the list gets too long, prioritise and move things to other days in the week. Some people write down 3 things they’d like to achieve each day, which seems like a good number. It’s not too overwhelming but certainly by the end of the week, you’ll have achieved a lot!
By doing this the night before, you’ll wake up in the morning knowing exactly what you need to do so will have a jump start on the day.
#2. HAVE A QUICK CLEAN UP
Another good trick is to have a quick clean up around your house or apartment. We’re not talking about a major vacuuming session or anything, so don’t panic. Try and do the dishes so the kitchen is clean and inviting in the morning. Put shoes and clothes away and tidy up paperwork. For some people, it’s an ideal time to put a load of washing on so you can hang it up before you leave for work in the morning.
If you’ve spent the night watching DVDs or playing video games, clear up the discs, remotes and controllers. Fluff up pillows and fold up throw rugs. Put any snack wrappers in the bin and return toys to their storage space.
If you wake up to a tidy house, you’ll probably be more clear headed and ready to take on the day, starting with a nutritious breakfast in your tidy kitchen.
#3. WIND DOWN, CLEAR YOUR MIND
If you go to bed feeling anxious, chances are you won’t enjoy a good night’s sleep. You may stare at the ceiling, with different thoughts racing through your mind. If this goes on until 2am you’ll probably wake up tired and grumpy and won’t have a great day.
There are a few strategies you can try to clear your mind before going to bed, including meditating. This can be as short as two minutes or as long as thirty. If you’re not sure how to mediate you could enroll in a beginner’s class or purchase an app.
Another idea is to read a good book before going to bed – preferably a paper book rather than a tablet, as the light may stimulate your brain1. By reading a book your body and brain will relax so may help you enjoy a soothing sleep.
#4. LAY OUT YOUR EXERCISE GEAR
A great way to start the day is with a workout at the gym, a run in the park, a walk with the dogs or a bike ride along a beach path. But, of course, it’s easy to put off exercising because it’s too early, you’re running late or you’re just not organised.
By laying your clothes out the night before, half the battle is won. You turn off you alarm (you don’t hit snooze!), you stumble out of bed, you put your clothes on and before you know it, you’ve had a juice and you’re on your way.
While it only takes five minutes to lay out your gear at night, instead of fumbling around in the morning looking for clean shorts, the right socks and your drink bottle, the benefits are huge. You’ll be living a healthier lifestyle, you’ll feel charged and motivated afterwards and you’ll probably enjoy a hugely productive day.
#5. TURN OFF YOUR PHONE
Enjoying a great sleep every night is crucial if you want to be productive the next day. So the last thing you need is to be woken up by the beeping, ringing or pinging of your phone. Even Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, turns her phone off at night! While she admits it’s painful she turns it off so she won’t be woken at night2.
Turn your phone off, put it on silent or, better still, leave it in the kitchen. If you use the alarm function on your phone, you might like to consider an old fashioned alarm clock – a digital one as you don’t want the sound of ticking keeping you awake all night!
Remember, phone calls, emails and notifications can usually wait until the morning. And if you get a great night’s sleep, you’ll probably be able to deal with any messages in a more positive and thoughtful way.
Remember, getting things done before bed each night will hopefully help you enjoy a great night’s sleep and a successful day. If you have trouble sleeping, you might like to read these Sleep Tips or talk to Snooze about a new mattress, as a good mattress could be the difference between tossing and turning and sleeping well.
Of course, if you have ongoing sleep problems, we recommend you talk to your GP or a sleep expert. Good luck!