Did you know what you do the night before significantly affects how you show up the next day? While the morning mindset, movement, and motivation routine will work wonders to shake the cobwebs off, there’s no replacement for a solid amount of shut-eye. I recommend adding these habits and upgrades to your nightly routine to help your mind clear, body relax and sleep improve.

I do not buy into the idea that in order to be successful your sleep has to suffer for extended periods of time. After a few days of not getting a solid 6 to 7 hours, I am irritable and angry. The quality of my work, relationships, and life, in general, takes a hit so I’ve made it a priority to create an environment that allows me to fall and stay asleep. Over the years, I’ve tried everything under the sun to get a solid night’s rest.

In my experience, I suck at sleeping. It’s like the military and fire department has permanently disrupted my body’s ability to fall and stay asleep. Unlike my fiancé, who drifts off as soon as her head touches down, I used to toss and turn and stand and sit in an attempt to finally fall asleep. I’d turn on the white-noise fan app, put earplugs in, and, even with blackout curtains, still put a shirt over my eyes to catch the chance of any other light. I put magnesium in my chamomile tea and am always on the lookout for supplements that support sleep. I’ve had a lot of experience with restless nights and there are a few things I’ve learned.

So how do I nail my nightly routine?

Excellent question! The following article goes over habits and rules I’ve implemented into a nightly routine that puts me in a headspace to reduce stress, sleep better, and wake up more refreshed. My hope is that they’ll save your sleep, just as they did mine.

Stretch

For the same reasons, you’re stretching in the morning add this to your nightly ritual. Stretching will help you destress and unwind before a restful night of sleep. It frees up tension built up in your back, legs, and mind. After a long day’s work, it’s certainly tempting to flop down on the couch. Just don’t miss out on the opportunity to relax your body and unwind your mind so you’re better set up for a night of slumber.

If you do sit down and watch TV, slide off onto the floor and do your morning mobility routine once more. Add some static stretching and foam rolling to release all of the energy bound up from a long day’s work. Focus on stretches and exercises that loosen up tight hips and shoulders and relieve back pain. If you sit down a lot, chances are your hip flexors are tight, your hamstrings are overstretched, and your back is weak. Correct these imbalances with a couch stretch, hip bridge, and any and all of these you can do on the floor while catching up on your favorite show.

Try this: Spend 10 minutes static stretching and foam rolling each night before bed. Hit all major muscle groups, sinking, slowly into a deep stretch for 20-30 seconds at a time. 

photo of a phone on airplane mode to help you disconnect and enjoy your nightly routine

Shut off your devices

What you do the final hour before bed determines the quality of your rest, the details of your dreams and how you show up the next day. Don’t sabotage your sleep by staring at a screen. Do not be lured in by likes, shares or media that’s manufactured to distract you. We’ve been emotionally conditioned to buy into the illusion that we must always know what’s going on with everybody, at all times, all around the world. We don’t. If you must know the happenings of the world or respond to social media requests, set aside some time during the day to scan the screens.

   My favorite thing about a phone is the airplane mode feature. When you’re at work, be ready to respond and react to meet the incoming demands of your clients, customers, and coworkers. Once you get home, especially during the crucial last hour before bed, put your phone in first-class mode and find some time for yourself. Once you do, you’ll start to see your sleep quality improving alongside your memory, focus, and mood the next day. Remember to keep your phone in airplane mode at least until after you’ve wrapped up your morning routine. 

Try this: Stick to just one show or a specified amount of screen time then power off and slide your phone into airplane mode, at least 1 hour before bed.  

Sit down and reflect

Everything you have right now in your life is a culmination of your past thoughts, ideas, and decisions to this point. It can be easy to lose sight of the fact that we’re in charge of where we steer this ship. The final hour before you sleep is a sacred time to remember, reflect on, and learn from the day. Each night brings a new chance to evolve and grow. If you are dissatisfied or after more growth, more love, more freedom or anything else under the sun, take the time to sit down and reflect each night to track how much closer you are to obtaining it. It’s never too late to course-correct.

Everything that happens to you is a lesson you need to learn. The faster you learn the lesson, the faster you level up in life. Take some time to reflect, grow and let go each night by asking yourself the following 3 questions. Write down your worries and unfinished to-do’s and look for any silver linings or hidden lessons from the day. Ask yourself:

  • What worked well for me today?
  • What could have gone better?
  • How did I grow?

Try this: Make reflection a part of your nightly routine before you go to bed by answering the above-stated questions.

sign that says "give thanks" to remind you to be grateful in your nightly routine

Show gratitude

Cultivating feelings of gratitude is the easiest way to improve your outlook and life and the best way to end your day. Before slipping under, consciously shift your focus to all things going great in your life and around the world. It’s too easy to get caught up in drama, judgment, failure, regret, worry, fear and negative self-talk. If that’s the road you head down each night, it’s time to pull the brakes! Focus on the positive and those pessimistic thoughts will eventually begin to fade.

While sleeping your brain is processing all of the day’s memories and experiences. It’s organizing your thoughts and feelings and making them long term memories. It’s categorizing what you learned and watched and priming your mind and body for the same thing tomorrow. By reflecting on what you are grateful for before you slip under you are attracting more things to be grateful for tomorrow. Gratitude opens the door for stronger relationships, increased self-esteem, improved outlook, and better sleep. With an attitude of gratitude, life gets easier.

Try this: Share 3-5 things you’re grateful for today, and 1-2 opportunities you’re grateful for tomorrow.  

For more upgrades to your nightly routine consider implementing the following rules as well – 

  • Try this: Eliminate light, noise and turn your room into a cave with blackout curtains like these.
  • Consider: Setting a time to stop eating each night, about 2 hours before bed. Check out this story of how a mom did it and what she learned. 
  • Try this: Avoid caffeine completely and if you can drink your last cup before lunchtime comes. Maybe you’re ready to give up coffee? I recommend green tea.
  • Consider: Limiting blue light exposure after sundown. Try Iris on your laptop.
  • Try this: Replenishing electrolytes, especially after your regular workout or if you battle the hypnic jerk.
  • Consider: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Humans are wired for rhythm and routine. 
a cup of tea to help you solidify your nightly routine

If you’re not sleeping successfully, the potential for positive physical, mental, and emotional progress is poor at best. It can be done, but sleep is so incredibly important. Not only will adding these rules and habits to your evening routine likely improve your sleep, but it’ll also maximize life’s learning curve and drastically increase your well-being. Commit to going all out in implementing these to your life for one month. Let’s see how much you grow!

Ultimately, it’s discipline and consistency in following simple rules that will set you up for success. Start to implement these habits into your nightly routine so you achieve some serious shut-eye tonight and you’re ready for action tomorrow. Don’t forget to pick back up with part 1 and part 2 of your morning routine first thing tomorrow. You are on the verge of a breakthrough! Come back and tell us about it.

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Jesse Simpson

Jesse Simpson

Hello! My name is Jesse Simpson and I’m a Leadership and Life Coach with Ama La Vida. I’m a former US Marine and firefighter, kickboxing instructor and personal trainer, with a passion for helping others overcome adversity and take action towards their dreams. I’m a fitness enthusiast, avid volunteer and world traveler that believes the best measures of a life well lived are how much you give, how much you grow and how much you go! I’m inspired by the people I’ve met around the world who’ve shown me there’s nothing we can’t accomplish if we have the right tools, techniques, and team in our corner. Read the rest of Jesse's story here.
Jesse Simpson

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