Darren Hardy talks about being intentional with the bookends of your days…meaning the way you start your day and the way you end it. The beginning and end of your day are where you have the most control over your time. That’s not to say that emergencies won’t come up, but in general, you can put routines in place and stay consistent with them to start the day and close it out with your best foot forward.
Up to this point, I haven’t had a nighttime routine other than reading to my daughters and doing gratitude practice. My “routine” has been to spend the night hours doing work and watching TV.
What got me thinking about putting a real nighttime routine in place is going through the Optimize coaching program. Brian Johnson, the founder of Optimize, talks a lot about nighttime routines and being committed to putting one in place. His philosophy is that the better night you have, the better morning you will have…and I agree.
One of the top things Brian suggests is putting a digital sunset in place. A digital sunset means cutting off all of your devices and blue light stimulation. He recommends you shut off electronics an hour before bed.
That concept really intrigues me. I’ve always had that kind of stimulation right up to bedtime. So, I’ve started playing around with a digital sunset to see how it affects me. I am aiming to figure out if it will help me sleep better and wake up feeling more rested.
In my journey of putting a digital sunset in place, I have found that to be even somewhat successful I have to have a game plan of what I’m going to do with that hour. Everything I list below are not things I do every night, but more of a list of things I choose from.
Here are the different strategies I’ve been experimenting with that I want to share with you to get your wheels turning!
This one is a little tricky because I do need my phone to meditate because I use the InsightTimer app for guided meditation. So I am working to build my discipline to fire up the meditation app and that’s it. I’ve been doing meditations that are anywhere from 10-15 minutes long.
I have been sitting down and reading for about 20-30 minutes before bed. It’s really nice because I don’t feel guilty about doing this since it’s part of my overall nighttime routine. I don’t feel that I’m wasting time…not that reading is wasting time, because I believe in the power of reading…but I can certainly feel antsy while reading when there are other things that I feel need to be done.
This part of my routine is twofold. One, it’s relaxing to stretch and there are a lot of health benefits that come with it. But also, I started taking Krav Maga and I need to be more flexible than I am…so stretching makes sense to add to a nighttime routine.
Hanging Out With My Family and Friends
Reclaiming time to spend with my wife and kids is really essential to building better relationships with them. We can spend time talking, playing games, hanging out in the backyard, or doing something that helps us unwind together.
Another way to stay off my phone is to spend time with friends. One way I do that is to go to a friend’s house every week for a men’s Bible study. Even though I’m not a religious person, I go to expose myself to new ways of thinking and to build better relationships with other men.
I’ve been using my Morning Upgrade cards to write down what I thought went well during the day and what I think needs work. There is a journal section on the card where I list my thoughts in the morning, and I now leave room in that section to reflect on the day at night.
I try and take a walk every day, but it’s always good to go on as many walks as you have time for. This is something I can do with my wife because we both enjoy walking…it’s an easy way to combine movement with building relationships.
So these are the strategies I’ve been playing around with and considering for my nighttime routine. While I don’t have my entire routine nailed down, I’m sharing this blog with you to get you thinking about things you can do to start a nighttime routine.
My tip for getting started on this is to figure out your anchor point. For example, the anchor of my morning routine is that it’s an investment in myself. It’s important to me to start the day off on the right foot because it has a ripple effect for the rest of the day.
For my nighttime routine, the anchor point is going to be putting a digital sunset in place. This will help me get myself ready for the next day while also doing things that will help me with other goals.
Here are a few benefits I’ve already noticed from working on putting a digital sunset in place.
- The extra reading has helped me with my self-education.
- Adding more meditation into my day is helping me fall asleep faster.
- Hanging out with my family and friends is helping to build better relationships.
- Stretching and walking are both helping me physically.
I’m still nailing down what a nighttime routine could look like…but I’m leaning more towards the nighttime routine being different each night and not so structured. All of the things I’ve been doing are beneficial and could be things I choose from. Plus, diversity will keep it interesting.
I hope that this will help you start thinking of ways you can incorporate routines into your nights that will help you unwind from the day, sleep better, and chip away at your goals.
- Find an anchor point for your nighttime routine.
- Come up with ideas that will serve you best before bed.
- Pay attention to how you feel each morning, and tweak your nighttime routine until you get it where you want it.