Fix Your Sleep By Getting Your Routines in Order

Fix Your Sleep By Getting Your Routines in Order
Contributor: Beth Skwarecki

How has this month’s health reset been going? (I’ve got a bunch of kiwis on the kitchen counter that I am going to devour as instructed. Gotta be honest, I’ve been waiting for this one.) This week, your assignment is to lock in your bedtime and morning routines so you can sleep better from here on out.

You’re probably used to catching up on sleep on the weekends, but the lack of a formal structure (assuming you work a 9-to-5) means that it’s also a blank slate for experimentation.

(Personally, I have Friday nights set aside to stay up late if I feel like it, and Saturday I don’t set an alarm. If I need to catch up on sleep, that’s my chance. As a night owl, this is sort of my pressure release valve — a mental break that allows me to say fuck it, I’m doing what I want.)

Morning and evening routines are both important, so you can decide which you’d like to tackle first. A good bedtime ritual sets you up to awaken feeling amazing, and a plan for the morning anchors your whole schedule, letting you pick an appropriate bedtime and set up a routine to get there relaxed and ready for sleep.

Set up a morning routine, but be kind to yourself

There’s a good chance you’ve smudged schedule into a blur, especially if you used to commute to an office and now you’re working at home. Take a minute to evaluate your morning routine and ask if it’s working for you.

A morning routine doesn’t have to be super structured or super early. If you want to get up before dawn and meditate and exercise and cook a full breakfast, that’s great! But even the people who do that routinely probably worked up to it over time, inching the clock back a bit every time they thought “yeah, I could add something else, that would make me happy.” Consider a low-key “non-routine routine” if that’s more your speed.

Not sure how to make your morning routine better? We have some ideas. Consider not checking your phone until after you’ve had some breakfast. If you hate mornings, streamline your routine so you can get through it faster. Or think about what you do as a ritual for mental readiness instead of a set of chores. For more ideas, check out some posts from the Wake Up Week we did last year, which are packed with tips for dealing with sleepy kids, exercising in the mornings and preparing breakfasts you’ll look forward to.

Be realistic about your bedtime routine

Your bedtime routine should end at bedtime, which means you’ll need to count back from your wake-up time to set the schedule. Most of us need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. If you often feel tired or like you don’t have enough “energy,” try giving yourself some extra time in bed each night and see if you start feeling better.

Then work backward to set yourself up for success. If you want to be in bed at 11, what should you be doing at 10:30? Do you like to brush your teeth and crash onto the pillow, or do you enjoy having some wind-down time once you’re in your jammies?

We have tips on how to sleep despite your anxiety about the fact that the world is falling apart, how to make sure you’re following basic sleep hygiene rules, and how to make your bedroom feel dark, quiet and dreamy. Putting your devices away before bed is often a huge help, and if I’m going to be totally honest, a lot of our best bedtime advice is on Offspring. Just read the advice for getting kids to bed without a fight and apply it to your own inner child.


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