If you tend to worry about or plan the next day while lying in bed at night, preparations before you hit the sack can help reduce stress so you can get to sleep.
Here are 10 ideas I’ve used myself at one time or another. Choose just ONE of these to experiment with and let me know how it goes!
In your bedroom . . .
- Pick out your morning clothes. Whether you’re dressing up for the office, complete with shoes, a bag, jewelry, jacket or simply laying out your workout ensemble, it’s one less decision to make in the morning.
Anywhere except in your bedroom! . . .
- Empty your brain. I’m not a fan of putting even a pen and paper on the nightstand because it encourages your mind to keep thinking. Every time you turn on the light to write, or turn on your screen to capture something, you’re also encouraging activity and inattentiveness. Especially if you use a device to capture your thoughts, you’re zapping your available melatonin, which helps you surrender to sleep. Setting aside even 15 minutes to let your mind settle and capture any thoughts before you enter the sanctuary of your bedroom is important. And, you can use whatever notetaking system works for you (electronic or otherwise).
Reduce stress naturally: in your kitchen . . .
- Decide on breakfast. Select what you are going to have, based on what’s in the fridge and how long this nourishment needs to sustain you. For example: if I know I’m going to be out and about, I’ll make a high-protein breakfast. You can also choose to set out something to remind you of your plan, like a pan or a smoothie cup.
- Prep the coffee maker. Set a timer so that when you’re ready for that first cup it’s already available. While I’m a sleep coach, I still believe there’s something fabulous about the smell of fresh coffee that’s made — without any effort —for you in the morning!
- Plan your next meal. If you know you’ll be running around right up until lunch, have something available to eat (without a lot of cooking fuss) when you get home, or a plan where you’ll grab a healthy lunch out. Maybe there’s a plate of leftovers in the fridge with your name on it.
In your office . . .
- Calculate your typical “get ready” time. In other words, how much time do you usually need in the morning? For me everything I do takes about a half hour: my yoga practice, getting showered and dressed, and having breakfast. I like a little “me time” too, so I pad this with 15–30 extra minutes. Then, set your alarm to wake you exactly at that time. You won’t have to second guess (or do math about) whether you can snooze and still do what you wanted. Plus, getting up at the same time is an important rhythm that sets the stage for your sleep the next night!
- Pack your bags. If you’re leaving the house for work, ensure your handbag is as packed as it can be and place it near the door. Check the weather so you have an umbrella or sunglasses handy too. If you don’t have a handbag for your stuff, put it all together on a table or counter near the door, so you can pocket it on your way out.
- Ease your commute. When taking public transportation, locate any fobs or cards; if you’re driving, find your keys! If you have to drive take a bus or train to a new place, know exactly where you have to be, and how you will get there. Use Google maps, check bus apps / routes. View being early as an opportunity: pack a book or plan to listen to a podcast.
- Make sure there is space in your day’s schedule. I find I do best in two hour blocks, and then I need to switch tasks. It might be computer work vs. movement, social vs. alone time, whatever. Assume things will take longer than you expect, and that unexpected and unplanned things will arise.
Reduce stress naturally: wherever!
- Straighten up! Whatever area you’re going to encounter first thing in the morning should be clear and free of clutter. Maybe that means the kitchen sink is clean and free of dishes. If your desk is neat and tidy when you set out to work, you won’t be agitated by clutter or tempted to procrastinate. (This is especially useful if you work from home.)
I certainly don’t ALWAYS do all these things. But the busier I know my day is going to be, the more likely I am to do some of them the night before. Why?
Because even if I do just one, I start my day feeling more calm, more centered, and more ready to face whatever happens (that I haven’t prepared for)! What’s more, my mind ceases worrying about tomorrow, when I’m ready to rest and sleep.
Are you ready to get serious about sleep?
I CAN HELP.
If you’re sick of stressing & worrying about your sleep & the toll it’s taking on your productivity, relationships, & health, download my FREE video series: 3 MINDSET SHIFTS REQUIRED TO RECLAIM YOUR SLEEP when you click the button below.