Alright, it’s time to get analytical.
Sorry – it’s just the way I’m wired
I’ve been messing around with my night-time routine for a while now. I value this time in my day, as it allows me to wind down and reflect. I focused on a few different aspects when structuring my routine. A few of these in no particular order:
- A quality night sleep
- Feel good in the morning
- Vivid (or lucid) dreaming
- Reflection on the day and addressing any issues I want to deal with
- Reinforcing mental strength/spirituality
These are all important to me in maintaining a useful balance in my life. I also am beginning to greatly value the very beginning of my day – possibly even moreso than my nights – but that is a separate issue.
Everything listed below is based on my personal experiences. What works for me may not work for you.
All of this fits in a 5 – 30 minute window before I go to bed.
We have ~960 waking minutes in a day – there’s definitely some time to implement a system for yourself.
So a couple of the areas I focus on are obvious. I mean who doesn’t want a good night sleep or to feel good in the morning? I’ve come across a few things that have helped me improve these areas.
One is eating a tablespoon of honey before I go to sleep – in some chamomile tea recently. This helps keep your blood sugar stable so you wake up feeling nice and fresh. Highly recommended. I just bought some real bee honey which tastes much better (and I believe is more effective) than popular clove honey.
I also have been using an alarm clock app called Sleep Cycle. This wakes you up when you are in your lightest sleep and you can set a range to wake up (preferably 30 min or so). I also like it because you can create variables to test each night. The app provides your night’s quality of sleep, as well as the individual variables’ effects.
I would also recommend to reduce your exposure to light – especially blue light – before you go to sleep, as this affects your melatonin response (allows you to reach deep sleep). Because of this, the TV (and sometimes the computer) goes off an hour before I want to go to bed. I downloaded f.lux software on my computer, which adjusts the background light to help this issue. I also keep melatonin next to my bed, which I occasionally take. Melatonin is naturally produced in your body, so it appears to be a safe measure.
I have really grown to enjoy my dreams and evaluating them for what I’m worried about or other issues I should be dealing with. I believe dreams, in a way, gives us some exposure to our subconscious. But in order to do all of this, I need to first dream and then remember the dream. I have couple ways that helps me increase the probability of me dreaming. One is I occasionally take Alpha Brain, a Nootropic that helps our brain focus and receive more oxygen. I use this supplement for more than just sleep, but it does have a crazy effect to make you have lucid dreams. I also found that the more relaxed you are, the better chance of dreaming. I sometimes use some stimulating music to get my imagination going – often Radiohead. Other times, I read novels. Another trick I use sometimes – okay, often – is having a glass of whisky at night, which also aids in making my dreams more vivid.
At the end of the day, I always enjoy just 10 minutes where I can just sit and relax. My routine changes quite often based on my mood, things I need to work on, and what I have present.
At times, I will just clear my head – or meditate.
Sometimes I listen to music.
Occasionally I read.
When needed, I repeat positive things in my head to help instill confidence and strength.
I may find a minute or 2 to pray.
One thing has stayed pretty consistent though. I keep a journal. This journal is where I keep a collection of anything I learned that day, which I have titled as Philosophy/Notes. I have personal notes back 3 years. I’ve noticed a lot of common themes going on in my life with this practice. I also have used pages to write down anything that is really on my mind or how I’m feeling that day. I find that writing things down is an effective way to organize my thoughts.
Other things I’ve tried (or trying):
- Try and spend a minute or 2 focusing on what I want to accomplish the next day. Just write down the 1 or 2 things that, if I accomplish the next day, would make me feel satisfied. I enter these either in my calendar on my phone, with a reminder on if it is time sensitive. If I think of something that I want to do with no time frame, I enter it on my app called Errands. I like this app because it is basically a checklist that you can check off when completed.
- Pick out my clothes, make my lunch, and automate as many morning decisions as possible. This will help me get out of the decision-making thought process early in the morning leading to a calmer mind to start my day.
- Taking a Magnesium pill before I sleep.
This is where I’m at in my process to get a better sleep and improve many areas of my life in those minutes before I get some shut-eye. This may sound complicated, but it really isn’t. I pretty much focus on whatever is on my mind, with a couple routines. This system is far from perfect and is always being tinkered with. For most of my life, I never focused on anything like this. However, I realized the use of these final minutes of my day can be some of my most productive and set the tone for my next day.
If you have anything that works, please add them in the comments. I’m always interested in seeing what works for others.