Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” Taken literally, this is actually pretty sound advice; however, we’re not so sure frog goes super well with our morning omelet.
We like to think Marky Mark meant that when you start with a top point on your to-do list, the rest of your day can be a breeze by comparison. Finishing off your day feeling accomplished and assured? What dream world is this?
Figuratively eating the frog is not a fantasy, but being prepared to tackle your day right at the sound of your first alarm is dependent on a very key factor, and one that can make or break a productive morning routine: Your Bedtime Routine.
Yes, how well you prepare the night before is the deciding factor in whether or not your morning runs smoothly. This doesn’t mean simply shortening your get-ready ritual by showering at night; preparation can start as early as when you’re about to leave the office. The result of laying this groundwork for great sleep is a more relaxed mind and an easier transition into your day.
Prior to leaving your desk, jot down 3-5 of the most important things you need to do the next day. It’s easy to sit down in the morning and get consumed by new emails and menial tasks, but reminding yourself of the big stuff first thing will guarantee that you get it done when you’re most motivated. Eat that frog, girl!
Give yourself time to decompress and remove yourself from “work brain” to be fully present at home. A quick walk while chatting with friends or your significant other can help get anything off your chest that might still be bridging the gap between the office and home, allowing you to enjoy the rest of your evening. Don’t let this turn into a lengthy vent-sesh (unless completely necessary); just a little about your day will help you end it on a good note.
Unless your job absolutely requires that you be on call 24/7, there is no real need to keep your phone on all night. Turning off your electronic devices (phone, computer, and yes, the TV) a couple of hours before you tuck yourself in will help your body transition into sleep mode without a distracting glow from a screen.
The blue light emitted from many of our devices can prevent the release of melatonin, the hormone responsible for helping us fall asleep, so even though you may recognize the fact that you should be tired, you won’t immediately feel it, and will end up staying up later without reason. Your electronics need sleep, too!
Slouching over a computer, running back and forth between meetings, clicking around in heels, and just generally being on the move for at least 8 hours a day can wind us up tighter than we realize. Once you’ve physically and mentally removed yourself from the workplace or classroom, take it a step further and travel on a mini vacation in the comfort of your own home.
Whatever relaxes you—whether it be cooking, taking a warm bath, making yourself a hot cup of tea, or reading a great book—is the personal time that you enjoy. After all, going to bed happy means waking up happy, and we could all use more morning like that.
Something as simple as already having your lunch packed or having the cutest outfit ready and waiting the night before will be one less thing for your brain to keep track of in the morning, meaning the sleep that leads up to your alarm clock can be that much more sound. Getting the tiny stuff out of the way, even if it’s just making sure you know exactly where your keys are, will give you peace of mind and peaceful dreams.
If you’re tired at 10 pm, go to sleep. If you’re truly not? Don’t. Simple as that.
Forcing yourself to go to bed and subsequently struggling to fall sleep just leads to frustration. If you’ve followed all of the preceding tips and are still not asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed, go to another room, and do something relaxing until you’re actually ready to get some shut-eye.
A winning morning routine depends entirely on everything you do the night before. Taking the extra steps to be prepared will calm your mind and body without taking up a significant amount of time, and we bet you won’t mind laying your under eye circles to rest, either. Feeling equipped to take on the day can’t occur unless you’re awake of enough to do so, so get comfy, coordinated, and clear before you snuggle in.
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