Evening routines – Day 19/30

To make sure I get the right number of hours sleep, I really need to be in bed at 9.30 at the latest. Right now, I can’t quite get there. So I’m working with 10 pm for now.

For Day 1 of the Asian Efficiency Evening Routine Challenge,  I’ve set a “reverse alarm” for 8:30 pm that tells me I’m getting up in 8 hours. This is to remind me that I have an hour before I have to start getting ready for bed. I have another reminder to finish up what I’m doing at 9.20, and another one for screens off at 9.30, which is when my bedtime routine begins.

So what goes into a bedtime routine?

I really love the structure that Lisa Grace Byrne has put together for a bedtime routine in her book Replenish. She describes the bedtime routine as “a bridge from where you are at the end of the day to a place where your body and mind are ready to fall into a deeper level of rest”. Its purpose is to “slowly disengage you from the world and bring you back inward to yourself to ready your self for deep restorative sleep”.

Lisa outlines four basic steps. First you cut your connection to the world for the night, by finishing up the jobs you have to do and turning off your screens and devices. You should have a fixed time to do this. For me it’s 9.30.

Then you move a step inward and do something to calm your body – it might be having a bath or a shower, washing your face, doing some light stretches, something gentle like that. Another thing that many sleep experts suggest as you start your bedtime routine is to dim the lights around the house to make sure your melatonin (the sleep hormone) production isn’t disrupted by artificial light.

The next step inward is to calm and soothe your mind, so Lisa suggests things like inspirational reading, meditation, calm breathing or journalling can be good to get thoughts out of your head before you go to sleep. The final level of transition is to nurture your spirit. Lisa says that she loves “including something before bed that aligns with [her] spirit and symbolises what [she wants] to bring more of into [her] life”, so she might do some gratitude journalling or prayer.

Lisa shows it as going a bit like this: World >> Body >> Mind >> Spirit (but she has a pretty diagram rather than words).

At the moment I don’t do much of any of the last two steps, but I feel like it would be a nice way to close the evening. Maybe some simple breathing exercises, some light reading and thinking about what I’m grateful for and what I hope for tomorrow. I don’t want to be writing stuff down at bed time or I won’t stop, and I’ll stay awake all night!

To me there seems to be a bit of an overlap between the last two steps (mind and spirit), so I think it’s a matter of experimenting to see what I might like to do and the order I do it in.

That will be my main focus for the last 10 days of this challenge.

As I start to work out what I want to do, day 2 of the Asian Efficiency Challenge is to write your routine down and put it somewhere you’ll see it to make sure you follow it. I’ve done what I think might work, and the approximate times I should be doing the things that should make sure I’m in bed by 10.00 pm. Now I have 25 minutes before I have to shut everything down and get ready for bed….

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