Six things you need to do before you go to sleep

If you missed the article on post-sleep routine, have a read after you have consumed this one.

It’s time to master your pre-sleep routine.

So many of us struggle to have a good night’s rest. I am going to give you six tools to optimise your sleep.

What’s more important than preparing yourself for the day? Preparing yourself for rest.

Are you ready to further optimise your day?

This routine begins 30 minutes before sleep and will give you sufficient time to wind down for the evening.

Problem one

No routine. We have established routines for many aspects of our lives. They allow us to live effectively and efficiently. Let me give you just one example. When you leave the house you usually put your clothes on, go for a pee, grab your keys, and wallet or purse. Why?

Because this is what you need when you leave the house. A routine like this one may not even feel like a routine because you do it so often it becomes automatic. Even subconscious. Oh, that reminds me. Driving. You will definitely have experienced this routine. Driving from A to B in auto pilot. A number of habits and routines have combined to allow your body and mind to subconsciously carry out the actions required to transport you effectively and efficiently from A to B.

How can you expect to sleep effectively and efficiently if you do not have a routine?

Solution one

Routine. Find your pre-sleep routine and stick to it. Take a shower, brush your teeth, and get into your nightwear. Our bodies love going from warm to cool before bed. I recommend a warm shower before you head off to sleep. Once you have found three or four steps that are right for you, stick to them consistently. This will arm you with the ability to carry out you pre-sleep routine without even thinking about it and your subconscious mind will start to recognise it’s almost time for some sleep.

Problem two

Bright lights. The streetlight is bursting through the cracks in your curtains or blinds. Your hallway light is creeping in under your door. Your television standby light is blinding you in the dark. Your heating is on and you have to stick a leg out the duvet to cool down. You have left the dishwasher and washing machine on and now they sound like pneumatic drills. You’re tossing and turning; restless in your pursuit of sleep.

Solution two

Lights off. Ensure your sleeping environment is dark, cool, and quiet. Scan your room over the next few evenings. Is it dark enough? Get some black out blinds or curtains. Is it cool enough? Open a window 15 minutes before bed. Is it quiet enough? Turn off your electrical devices and machines. Make your bedroom a sleeping sanctuary.

Problem three

Full belly. Eating food before you go to sleep can leave you feeling bloated. And if it is sugary your blood sugar level can spike; not what you need before bed. You want the body to be in equilibrium.  

Solution three

Equilibrium belly. Non-negotiable: no food 30 to 60 minutes before bed.

Problem four

Full bladder. You’re about to nod off and you realise you need a pee. You try to forget about it and four hours later you wake desperate for the toilet. It’s 03:00 and you should be in your deep sleep zone. Instead you need to leave your warm bed in the middle of the night and head to the toilet. You are now wide awake and as you trudge back into bed your brain starts firing signals of frustration, ‘you should have just gone before you went to sleep, you idiot!’ You are back in bed, lying on your back. Your eyes are as wide as a rabbit’s caught in the headlights.

Solution four

Empty the bladder. Take a sip of water, go to the toilet, and make sure this is the last thing you do before bed.

Problem five

The phone. Scrolling on your phone in bed, watching Netflix in bed, and answering emails in bed. Essentially being online when in bed. This is going to continue to stimulate the mind and not contribute to any natural release of melatonin. You need this to feel sleepy.

Solution five

No phone. Turn off your television and electrical devices. Try leaving your phone on the other side of your room. This will not only stop you scrolling in bed but when your alarm goes off in the morning it will force you to get up and out of that warm duvet.

Problem six

STRESSED. You dive into bed and expect to fall asleep instantly. Five minutes go by and nothing. Ten minutes go by and nothing. Twenty minutes go by and you start to get agitated. Why can’t you fall asleep? You roll over. Change position. Again. And again. And again. Still nothing. In fact, you now feel more awake than you did before you got into bed. ‘Argh!’

Solution six

Relax. Reduce the pressure. Get into bed and read for ten minutes, or set a ten-minute timer on an audiobook or podcast. If that doesn’t work maybe you aren’t ready? If you are wide awake in bed and trying to force yourself to sleep this isn’t going to work. Maybe it’s time to reset? Get up and out of bed – go to the toilet, have a drink of water, read a couple of pages of a book (in another room), and then head back into bed 10-15 minutes later. Your body has had an opportunity to reset. You don’t eat when you’re not hungry so why do you expect to fall asleep when you’re not tired?

Now you are ready.

Our bodies love routine. Keep it simple and keep it the same.

Giving just one of these a shot could have a significant impact on your sleep quality.


If you enjoyed this article you may enjoy working with me for the next 63 days. On Monday, 20 others and I begin the PSL challenge. Today is the last day to join … if you want to find out more or join the challenge click here.

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