The first and last 30

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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  1. Always have an alarm to wake up to. Never, no matter how tempting, hit snooze. Unless you’re willing to have a 'lazy morning'.
  2. Sit up asap, get up and move. This stops you being tempted to hit snooze.
  3. Drink water. I always have water by my bed and drink at least 500ml straight away.
  4. Toilet. It’s like clockwork...
  5. 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.
  6. Review your mind emptying list from the night before.
  7. 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