Beginner's Guide to Getting More Sleep, From a Reformed Night Owl

Apparently, the early bird gets the worm, miracles happen in the morning, and successful people get more done before 9 am than most people do all day.  Sounds great, but what if you’re a night owl like me?  After surveying our community, it sounds like many of you are night owls as well.  Since our world revolves around jobs that start at 8 am, and gasp, even earlier for some, let’s take a peek at what those successful people do to get up earlier. 

Obviously, being an early riser or a night owl has a lot to do with nature.  But when your job and your family depend on you being up and at ‘em no matter what nature gave you, we need to build in some nighttime routines that give us a fighting chance at doing so. 

Through trial and error, I’ve developed a list of my favorite night time rituals that help me get up earlier so I can get more done in the morning.  So, let’s dive in.

1)     Stop drinking caffeine early in the day.  Coffee in the morning, great.  Coffee at night, nope.  Set a cutoff time no later than 2 pm for your java fix.  Don’t stress, if you’re getting good sleep, you won’t need the afternoon pick me up.

2)     Reverse engineer what time you need to be asleep.  Decide what time you want to get up in order to include your morning routine.  Back up by 8 hours.  That’s your bedtime.  Now, if you’re used to getting way less sleep, you can do this in 30-minute increments.  But you really need to be aiming for 7-8 hours of sleep a night.  Stop laughing.  It’s doable.  Unless you have a baby, then all bets are off.

3)     Set an alarm on your phone for one hour prior to your designated bedtime.   This will alert you to start winding down and start getting ready for bed.  Set your phone to go to nighttime screen at this time as well.  

4)     Turn down the lights.  Just by dimming the lights, your body takes its cue to start winding down.  Your body is smart that way.

5)     No screen time 30 minutes prior to sleep.  The light from your screen is like being in broad daylight, and your body thinks it’s time to rock and roll.  In order to get into your circadian rhythm with ease, you need to ditch the screens.

6)     Relax with yoga or meditation.  There are lots of great 5-10-minute yoga videos on you tube that will help you stretch and relax.  Try it, you may develop a new healthy addiction.

7)     Record 3 things you’re grateful for in your journal.  Focusing on what you’re thankful for is an excellent way to take your mind off what’s worrying you and shift to a more positive focus right before you go to sleep.

8)     Reading is one of the best ways to wind down.  Take advantage of the last few minutes of wakefulness by reading something that will positively influence your life.

9)     Set your intention for the next morning.  Before dropping off to sleep, I tell myself that no matter how tired I feel now, I will awake feeling rested and ready to start my day.  I tell myself I’m excited to work out the next morning and am grateful for the energy it will give me.  This may sound pretty silly, and at first, I thought so too.  But by programming my mind with positive thoughts, I’m much more likely to create a peaceful, productive morning.  Put your mind to work for you while you sleep.  You’ll notice the difference.

Leave a comment and let me know what works for you or if you have other methods that have helped you!  Us night owls have to stick together!