Or, how I learnt to take back control of my night-time routine.
This is part one of a two-part series on how routines are my favourite thing in the whole wide world.
You’ve heard it a thousand times before that waking up refreshed and ready for the day begins with the night before.
I used to scoff, as for most of my teen and post-teen life I would go to bed fairly early every night (hello to my fellow sleep lovers and bed hermits!), and yet I would still wake up in a foul mood, shattered and run around my house like a headless chicken and arrive at work unprepared and find it hard to get into the day. Going to bed would involve getting out of bed multiple times because I’d forgotten this, left that on, had to check on the other thing.
But, now? Now I sleep soundly, and when I get to work I am consistently more put together, more serene and ready to tackle whatever comes my way.
“But how?” I hear you cry as you read this groggy-eyed and slurping your first coffee of the day.
As I mentioned above, I have always been someone to enjoy sleep, and I am lucky enough to call myself a morning person, so I am a big believe of ‘early to bed, early to rise’ and that has yet to change.
So, step one was setting myself a bedtime. Apparently, living like you are eight years old again and going to bed before the start of the 10 O’clock News will do wonders in waking up reinvigorated the morning after.
Step two, was changing how I viewed my bed. My bed for far too long was for sleeping, eating, writing and everything in between. Now I try and use my bed only when getting in it to sleep. The result? There is even more sweet satisfaction of nestling in those covers that haven’t been tarnished with my dinner!
The most crucial step (step three if you’re keeping count!) is to empty out my mind. As an anxious person I find it hard to switch off, and many a night I’ve tossed and turned in my bed worrying about something that I’m not prepared for or have just remembered at 11pm. To combat this, I bring out my trusty bullet journal and review what’s in the diary for the next day, or just jot down things that are plaguing me. The catharsis of removing the thought from my brain onto a piece of paper, much like unwinding a memory from your mind into Dumbledore’s pensieve, has helped me achieve a better night’s sleep.
Step four, wind down with a relaxing hobby. I love to read, as you can probably tell from my Instagram, so most nights I will stop scrolling Instagram or binge-watching Gilmore Girls, and I will sit down with a tea and a good book. I may only manage a chapter, but it helps to strip myself of the days worries by getting lost in someone else’s mind.
Finally, step five is putting my phone away before I go to sleep. However, I put it to good use. About three months ago I downloaded the Pillow app, and for me, it has two functions. The first, its intended use, to track my sleep. Though I am doing all I can to ensure a better night’s sleep, I like to track what that sleep was like, and Pillow does that fantastically. But secondly, it’s smooth, plain interface when tracking your sleep is perfect. I now don’t check the time and see anxiety-inducing messages or wonder what photo someone had just liked on Instagram. Instead, I see what the time is. And I can easily fall back asleep, brain still disengaged, hanging onto those final hours of sleep.
What do you do to get a better night’s sleep? Are you a morning person too? Check back next week to see how I have also enhanced my morning routine!