A work day doesn't begin with morning rituals, but rather with a conscious effort the night before to prepare for a great day.
A highly productive person probably doesn't bolt out of bed in a panic after a short night's sleep or hit the snooze button several times — they more likely have nighttime habits the evening before which help set them up for success the next day. As a yoga instructor, I know the importance of both sleep and peace of mind. So if you're looking to wake up well-rested, bright-eyed and actually excited about your day, here are 10 nighttime rituals to help you on your way!
1. Unplug to Recharge
Even your beloved smartphones can't go nonstop without being recharged, and your mind is no different. At least 30 minutes before going to bed, turn off all your devices to allow your mind time to relax and unwind. You may notice the inevitable side effect of feeling more present to enjoy the final moments of your day.
Put down that glass of vino! "Rose all day" on weekends if you want to, but if you want to wake up alert, focused and productive, avoid alcohol before bed. It can lead to frequent sleep interruptions in the later half of the night as blood sugar levels spike. And those disruptions to your REM sleep can cause next-day drowsiness. Try some herbal tea to wind down instead!
3. Stretch It Out
Take some time to give your muscles and joints a little love! They work hard for you all day and deserve a little TLC each night. Try a few overhead stretches, heart openers and hamstring lengtheners. And don't forget to open the hips! Preventing physical tension in the body helps keep mental tension at bay as well.
Read more: 10 Yoga Poses for a Better Night's Sleep
4. Prepare for Tomorrow
Take some time the night before to choose and lay out your wardrobe for the next day. Pack your bag or briefcase too, and don't forget a healthy lunch! Being prepared the night before makes mornings less hectic and gives you time to consciously ease into your day.
5. List Your “Big Three”
Take just a few quick moments to write out the three main things you want to accomplish tomorrow. Make sure they are achievable tasks that help you elevate your productivity. Think "practice patience" rather than "meet and marry Brad Pitt." This will give you a sense of accomplishment and help you feel successful the next day.
6. Set Aside “You Time”
Budget at least 20 minutes of intentional decompression time before bed. Whether it's a candlelit shower or reading a feel-good book, give yourself some personal time to celebrate a successful day!
Read more: 21 Stress-Reducing Techniques
7. Have a Pajama Party
Put on those PJs! Experts say that a conscious transition into "bedtime" mode actually helps your body and mind begin to prepare for sleep. Choose something loose-fitting, cool and comfy for optimal relaxation.
8. Practice Gratitude
Avoid the habitual trap of replaying negative events or encounters from your day over and over again at night. When you're tired, your brain tends to find things to worry about simply based on your conditioning. Reprogram your mind by taking five minutes to meditate on things you're thankful for. You'll find yourself going to sleep feeling content and abundant, which makes for better dreams.
9. Forgive and Forget
Keep a journal by your bed and take a few minutes each night to pour into it anything from your day that you want to get out of your brain. This can be a fantastic mental release as you practice forgiving those who have challenged you during the day. It's also essential to your well-being that you forgive yourself for any mistakes or mishaps so you can start fresh the next day feeling great about yourself. Get it all out into your diary pages and go to sleep free from swirling negative thoughts.
10. Stick to Your Bedtime
Set an earlier, non-negotiable bedtime for optimal sleep. Getting a full night's rest (seven to nine hours is the optimal range) gives your body time to replenish. It can help regulate your hormones, recharge your body on a cellular level and refresh your mind as well. A good night's sleep is one of the best and most scientifically proven ways to enhance our mood, energy and productivity.