By BRADY RIESGRAF
May 22, 2019
This is one of those things that almost everyone looks forward to each night, crawling into bed under the warm sheets and laying down for a good night of sleep after a long day. However, it is now stated that 27% of U.S. adults have trouble falling or staying asleep most nights, and more than that, 68% of American adults struggle with sleep at least once per week. That’s a staggering 164 million adults in the U.S. alone!!! A good night sleep is not only good for your mental health, but it affects all other areas of your life as well. From the ability for your body to process and digest foods, to your concentration levels during the day, and even your susceptibility to contract chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. You can plainly see how sleep is important for your health, and since your personal health is the bedrock for which you can accomplish anything else in life, this makes sleep a pretty important topic.
The way that you prepare for bed each night is one major way you can begin to control and improve your sleep habits. Moreover, what you do before you hit the pillow at night comprises one of the biggest influential factors on your own personal success and accomplishments in life. Let’s compare two individuals, the first, spends the final fours hours of each day watching tv, scrolling through social media, and finishing off the bag of Dorito’s laying on the coffee table in the living room. No planning, no growth, no learning, and definitely no preparation for the next day, and that means that individual is spending the first hour to two of the next day planning, prepping, and trying to figure out what they need to do for the day. On the other hand, individual number two uses the four hours before bed spending time with family, improving on a hobby or activity they enjoy, reading, and preparing for the next day. With this schedule, individual number two has the opportunity to set their schedule for the upcoming day, lay out their clothes and materials needed for the day ahead, and reflect on the day prior. Doing a very quick analysis (we’re really challenging you now), who do you think gets more done during the day and will have more success over the long run? Well if you said individual number one, then you might as well close this page now because you are probably looking for a different type of success than we are trying to promote. However, if you choose individual number two and want to be the individual that makes the most out of each day (and gets a good night sleep on top of it), then you’re in business, because that’s what we’re here to talk about today.
Success is defined by all the small acts we do each day, and what you accomplish and prepare before you go to bed is one of those small acts that can change your life. From things to help you fall asleep, to things that will help you grow, and others that will help you prepare for the next day, we want to bring you the bedtime routine of the most successful on the planet. If they got to where they are using these acts, it might not be a bad idea to give them a try, so we want to pass that invaluable information on to you. Let’s jump right and get started so you can start sleeping better and get the most out of those minutes and hours before you get to turn the lights off each night. Enjoy.
Here are 5 Things You Need to be Doing Every Night Before Bed:
If the president of the United States and the second most wealthy individual in the United States incorporate this into their routine, then you probably should too. Both Barack Obama and Bill Gates are known for setting aside 30 minutes each night before bed to read on a topic of their choosing. Both of these men are known for reading much more than just these 30 minutes, but this is time they set aside every day no matter what so that they can make sure to each read a little bit each day. They annotate this time as “non-negotiable” to make sure that they do it each day, and if it is that important to them, maybe consider it for yourself. Reading helps stimulate the brain and helps you to be constantly learning and growing throughout the course of a novel. It doesn’t matter if you like to read biographies, non-fiction, thrillers, or magazines, just get something that you like to read on a regular basis and read it. Not only does it help you learn, but it also helps you wind down from the day, which is a huge component of getting better sleep. So, first things first, grab a book, magazine, or newspaper and put it on your nightstand and start reading each night before you start counting sheep.
This dates back to the days of Benjamin Franklin (not that it is out of style now) and is a component part of nearly every successful individual you know today. Journaling can take a variety of different forms, so it is important to find what works for you. Some individuals journal about things they are grateful for, others jot down all their accomplishments for the day, and others just write about their mental and emotional state for the day. Whatever it is for you, just spend five to ten minutes each night before bed to reflect on the experiences of the day. Not only does this help you think through the events of the day and how they made you feel, this also helps you get the thoughts out of your head that somehow seem to emerge every night the second the lights go out. I’m talking about the “oh I forgot to”, the “I need to remember to do X tomorrow”, or the “why the hell did I do that?!?!”. For all of you that think everyone doesn’t have these thoughts, you are definitely wrong, as overthinking is a hallmark trait of humans. So, whether you are Ben Franklin and like to write in a “gratitude journal” or are Kenneth Chenault (the CEO of American Express) and like to write down all the tasks you didn’t complete for the day, just find what works for you and take a little time to reflect on your day each night before bed.
This goes hand in hand with journaling, as you need to plan out your schedule for the next day. This saves the turmoil of waking up each morning and trying to figure out what you need to accomplish, what you need for the day, and how you’re going to schedule it out to get it all done. This means not only scheduling out your time for the upcoming day, but it also involves getting everything ready so that when your feet hit the floor in the morning you are ready to get started with your day. This is going to be different for everyone, but you need to set aside what is necessary for you to get the most out of your day and use your time most effectively. For me, this means setting out my workout clothes, packing up my clothes for work, making my lunch, and writing up a schedule for the upcoming day. For you, this might be something entirely different, but it just means you are prepared for the day ahead. This will help clear your head thinking about everything you need in the morning and it will make your tough decisions much easier (going to work out, getting out of bed, making healthy food choices). Implement this and I promise you will not regret it.
This is one that goes along the same line as reflecting on your day, but it pertains to you tracking all the things that matter to you. This is an easy way to see how you feel, what helps your body perform at peak capacity, and the things that you did throughout the day. This ultimately provides a daily log of everything you do (the things that are important for you), making it easy for you to look back at your days, weeks, and months to see how you are spending your time and when you feel the best. The things that I routinely track include, hours of sleep (what time I wake up and when I go to bed), what I ate for each meal, the amount of exercise I got in a given day, and a rating for how my body and mind felt that day. There are a host of other personal KPI’s (Key Performance Indicator’s) that I track alongside these mentioned, but these should give you a taste of what kind of things you can be looking at in your daily routine. This easily will help you look back, see what works best, and tailor your schedule to the best of your days. If you want to maximize your life, this is an essential component to figuring out what works best.
This is an easy one, but an increasingly difficult one to follow in our era of personal devices and streaming media. Most individuals spend the evening hours perusing YouTube, binging Game of Thrones, and double tapping Instagram posts. As easy as this is to do, this sets us up to waste multiple hours each day, and moreover, sets us up for a terrible night of sleep, as the blue light emitted in electronic devices trick our brains into thinking its daytime, when in fact, we should be going to bed. Helene Emsellem, an MD at the National Sleep Foundation recommends at least 30 minutes before going to bed, to help ensure the best night of sleep possible. So, if you’re going to tune in to your favorite episode of The Office or see what events are coming up on Facebook, do it at least 30 minutes before bedtime, and then be sure to put them away as you are getting ready for bed. Sleep is the foundation on which our energy, concentration, and ultimately our total health, so do yourself a favor and keep the electronics away from the bedroom.
So, there is it, the best tactics to get the most out of each night and get a better night of sleep. How you use the hours after work and before bed each night separates the average from the immensely successful. It may seem insignificant thinking about how you prepare for bed each night, but it impacts every part of your life, including your use of time, your use of time, what you are learning, and how you prepare for the next day. Your health depends on it, your sanity depends on it, and ultimately, your desires and passions depend on it, because without a good bedtime routine and a good sleep schedule it is tough to accomplish everything you want to each day. If you aren’t truly convinced, just know that the most successful individuals we know of over time, from Ben Franklin to Barack Obama and Bill Gates to Tony Robbins, all have set bedtime routines that encompass all parts of the tactics listed above. If that’s not enough, then just try it for yourself to see how it changes your life. Try it for a week, and if you don’t feel like any of it is helpful, then find something else that works for you. However, it’s likely that if it works for the most successful in our society, it will probably work for you. With this in mind, go out and give it a try, get a better night of sleep, and discover your peak performance. Hopefully this will help you count a few extra sheep in the nights to come.