How you start and finish your days can have a big impact on how the proceeding day will go. Something that has paid dividends of late is having a 30 min pre and post sleep routine. I have been ‘practicing’ my routine for nearly 9 months now after over 2 years of trial and error to get it right.
The reason I am a fan of routine is your body and mind enter a state of comfort once you are in them which I think is of particular importance especially before sleep and getting a good start on a productive day. I developed my routine because for the past 2 years, not one week went by that I consistently slept in the same bed (work & study commitments, not the reason you’re thinking of… keep it clean please). I worked out that it largely didn’t matter on the environment I was in or woke up to it was how I felt going to sleep. And, as most people probably know… going to sleep in a comfortable mindset means waking up fresher and more productive.
You need to figure yours out for yourself but I think a good pre sleep routine should involve 4 things.
- Limiting blue light, TV, computer phone screen etc… I stop watching any TV or looking at my phone/computer 30 min before I want to sleep, sometimes a full hour.
- Emptying the mind. I write down what my following day involves and order it either by time or importance of tasks. This gives my brain one last chance to remember something I have forgotten and ‘switch itself off’ for the night. This also comes back into play for the morning.
- Stretching. Personally I use ROM WOD as it varies which stretches you do for each day and has some good calming breath work which I like. Again, you may have a stretch routine you really like to do, just make sure it’s a relaxing one and doesn’t create heat in the muscles.
- Reading. Usually the last thing I do before I sleep. I’ve worked out thanks to forgetting my book a fair few times it doesn’t matter what I read I just need to read something. Only thing that hasn’t worked is the room service menu… I now check if I have remembered a book or not and pick something up prior to my 30 min routine window.
Boom, 4 things I need to do and no matter the time or location i’m asleep. I always pack my bag or have things ready the night before which helps with emptying the mind too but I have that done long before bed time. Oh and clean your teeth!
As said earlier, going to sleep with a good mindset means waking up with a good mindset. People who get up on the wrong side of the bed normally get in on the wrong side of the bed. There are still a few things you can do in the first 30 min of a morning though to help set you up for the day.
Mine is ordered pretty much the same everyday but again you need to figure it out for yourself.
- Always have an alarm to wake up to. Never, no matter how tempting, hit snooze. Unless you’re willing to have a ‘lazy morning’.
- Sit up asap, get up and move. This stops you being tempted to hit snooze.
- Drink water. I always have water by my bed and drink at least 500ml straight away.
- Toilet. It’s like clockwork…
- Measure HRV and fill in wellness scores. This helps you actually reflect on how you are feeling and makes you aware of where your head and body is at.
- Review your mind emptying list from the night before.
- Crack on with your day!
These 7 steps take me around 5 – 10 min each morning. From there I have 20 min to make coffee/breakfast, drink more water, shower or put my kit on and start my day without feeling rushed or in a state of unproductiveness.
By: Tom Walker, Endurance Coach