Self-improvement is something that we can all work on. Forming healthy habits before bed is a great and easy way to wake up feeling like a better you.
You would be surprised to know that even the smallest things you do before bed can have a lasting positive effect on your life. Whether this is improving your mood, keeping yourself more productive, or inspiring you to be more motivated, these healthy habits before bed can go a long way in helping you improve yourself.
Forming habits can take a long time, depending on how much you want them to become part of your daily routine. There will inevitably be days when you don’t want to add extra tasks to your plate, or you simply feel like you can’t keep up with these new habits. But, if you can persevere through those first few weeks, then these new habits will become ingrained into your daily routine.
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Be strict about when to stop doing work
To prevent yourself from going to bed with your mind still occupied, set a time in the evening when you’ll stop doing work regardless of what else needs to be done.
This will give you a few hours to yourself in the evening to decompress and reflect on yourself before you have to repeat the whole process the next day. This is really important in ensuring that you don’t burn out during the week.
By giving yourself this time, you can go to bed with a clearer headspace, which will then translate to a better night’s sleep. This is also a great way to make sure that you go to bed feeling relaxed and not stressed by the events of the day.
Relax and have some me-time
Going to bed relaxed is one of the best ways to ensure a good night’s sleep. Relaxing your body will soothe your mind and prevent you from going to bed stressed or anxious.
Relaxing can also improve mental health by reducing depression and anxiety. Plus, it has other physical benefits such as lowering your heart rate, reducing muscle tension and decreasing your breathing rate, which are all beneficial to you getting a better night’s sleep.
Relaxation can come in many different forms. You can find a few that work for you by going through trial and error. Some of the more popular ways include taking a bath, listening to music or reading a book.
Put all technology down at least an hour before bed
Studies have shown that blue light from screens has a tendency to suppress your body’s production of melatonin (the sleep hormone). This means that you aren’t feeling tired when you’re supposed to and you end up sleeping later.
How can you prevent this?
Turn on the blue light filter on your devices in the evening to decrease the amount of blue light displayed on your screens. This can help you sleep better and reduce the strain on your eyes so that they don’t feel so dry and tired at the end of the day.
Do some light exercise
Exercise at any time of the day is good for your sleep. But if you’re feeling a little restless, some light exercise at least an hour before bed can be very beneficial.
Any form of physical activity can reduce your levels of stress and anxiety, which in turn, will improve your sleep quality. However, if you’re exercising in the evening, try to keep it at a light or moderate intensity as vigorous exercise may instead make it harder to fall asleep.
Some light-to-moderate exercises:
These exercises are particularly suited for the night-time and can improve sleep quality by allowing you to stretch and relax your muscles to relieve any tension remaining from your day. Going to bed with a calm mind and body can assist in helping you drift off.
Go to bed at the same time every day
Get yourself into the habit of going to bed the same time every night so that you can also wake up at the same time every morning.
Over time, as your body adjusts to a consistent schedule, you’ll be able to wake up naturally at the same time every day. This means that you won’t need any more blaring alarms to jolt you awake and so you’ll feel refreshed and ready for the day every morning.
Have you ever felt groggy and exhausted even after sleeping 8 hours or more? (otherwise known as a ‘sleep hangover’)
According to Dr. Michael Breus (the sleep doctor), this can occur when you wake up at the wrong time, that is, in the middle of a REM cycle. This is why it’s so important to maintain a consistent sleep schedule, waking up and getting out of bed at the same time every morning.
Of course, we all want to have a good sleep-in on the weekends. So, to prevent the dreaded ‘sleep hangover’, try to limit your sleep-in time to no more than one hour.
Keep a gratitude journal
Sometimes it can be really easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of life and focus on all the negatives that befall us. Keeping a gratitude journal to really reflect and think about the good things in life can go a long way in helping you develop more positivity.
A gratitude journal can also encourage mindfulness, helping you recognise and cherish the sweet moments in life. It can help you focus on being present in all moments and live life to its full capacity.
Write down your thoughts and feelings of the day
Do you ever feel overwhelmed after a long day?
I know that I definitely do. This is why I try to journal every night before bed so that I can get everything off my chest and onto paper. From personal experience, doing so has improved my sleep quality and I rarely wake during the night, whilst before, I used to have a fitful night’s sleep at least once a week.
After a long day, your mind can get really cluttered and it’s a good idea to clear this clutter before you attempt to fall asleep. Otherwise, you risk tossing and turning throughout the night and not being able to get a good night’s sleep.
There are so many different ways that you can get your thoughts down on paper. You can write them out, or you could draw them. If you’re feeling more creative, you can even create a scrapbook or a junk journal.
Personally, I like to use a Leuchtturm1917 dotted notebook. There are so many pages and the dotted pages are the perfect balance between the freedom of blank pages and the restriction of lined pages. I’ve also used 365-day journals, which were how I got into the habit of daily journaling.
Read a book
Getting into the healthy habit of reading a book every day before bed can calm your mind and help you get a better night’s sleep. Of course, each different genre can affect your life in a variety of ways.
Self-improvement books are great at keeping you inspired and reaching for your goals so that you can be excited for the day ahead. The same can be said for biographies and autobiographies of those who inspire you and have reached success.
My personal favourite is reading fiction because I get to escape into another world for a bit before I have to get back into reality again. It also makes me more creative and open to new ideas.
If you need some help falling asleep, I’m sure that reading a textbook on the most boring topic you can find will get you to drift off in minutes!
Plan out your next day
If you want to wake up feeling motivated and productive, then you should plan out your day the night before. If you already know what needs to be done, why not make a to-do list for yourself then, instead of trying to remember all of the tasks that need to be completed the next morning?
This can eliminate any confusion or forgetfulness the next day, which translates to high levels of productivity. Since it saves you time and effort, you’ll be ready to go first thing in the morning.
In addition, if inspiration tends to hit you late at night, having a pen and paper nearby could be handy. This is so that you won’t be trying to retain information in your mind that you could have written down.
Read all about planners in How to Get Organised with Planners.
Implementing these healthy habits before bed will allow you to relax, get a better night’s sleep and wake up a better you. Perhaps you’ll feel more motivated, more productive or just more energetic in general. Forming a habit is all about baby steps and if you can stick with it, then you’ll be making significant progress towards self-improvement.
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