Win The Morning with an Effective Bedtime Routine

One of the best ways to have a great morning is to prepare for it! Here are five effective bedtime routines every Personal Kaizen community member should do at night that will help you wake up well-rested and ready to win the morning.

Be smart about what you eat and drink before bed

The food and drink you consume at night have a major effect on your sleep, which has a major effect on how you feel the following morning. Here are a few tips, backed by science.

Win the Morning - don't overdrink
  • Avoid caffeine in the afternoon. Caffeine peaks about one hour after you consume it and has a half-life of about 5 hours. It takes about ten hours for caffeine to completely run through most people.
  • Avoid eating within about two hours of your bedtime – especially anything with sugar.
  • Don’t have more than 2-3 alcoholic drinks within 2-3 hours of your bedtime. This is a rule-of-thumb, but what you eat while you are drinking, the water you drink, and many other factors can affect this. By the way, that double-IPA you are drinking from a 16-ounce can counts as nearly two drinks!

The effects of caffeine, alcohol, and sugar vary among individuals. Experiment to discover your limits, as you may have more or less tolerance. Staying within your limits will help you win the morning.

Get to bed on time!

It took me about 20 years of my life to figure out that waking up on time was primarily a function of going to bed on a schedule. Our bodies work best when we have a consistent routine.

Here is the simple process:

  • Figure out the amount of sleep you need to function well. For most people this is around 7 to 8 hours, but start with using the amount of sleep you typically get on a normal night.
  • Determine when you should be waking up in the morning based on your day.
  • Subtract the amount of sleep from your wake-up time. For example, I need about 7 hours of sleep. If I want to wake at 5:45 AM then I should be asleep by 10:45.
  • Get into bed with your lights out 15 minutes before your target time. This would be 10:30 PM in the example above.

The key change for me was realizing that I need to keep my sleep habits consistent even on weekends and holidays. Now I can go to bed most nights and wake up on time without an alarm.

Prep your clothes for the morning

Win the Morning - Prep clothes

Before you go to bed, take a moment to prepare what you are going to change into when you wake up. Be sure that your outfit facilitates your morning routine.

For example, if you plan to exercise in the morning, get out exercise clothes to change into. If you plan to go to work then prepare your clothing so you are not rushing to do this at the last minute, or are pressured to cancel another part of your routine.

Get your phone out of the bedroom!

Win the Morning - avoid a phone alarm

Avoid using your smartphone as your alarm. If you do, the first thing you will be doing in the morning is picking up your phone to turn off your alarm. If you are like me, this can turn into checking for updates, seeing what emails were missed, looking at the news, etc.

A better plan is to use a separate alarm (not your phone) and get your phone out of your bedroom at night. Charge it in the kitchen or office. This simple step will help you get it out of your bedtime and morning routines.

Focus on gratitude before bed

Win the Morning - Daily gratitude journal

We have discussed this best practice before. Every evening before you go to bed record three things that you are grateful for. This could be people you appreciate, good outcomes, or positive feelings from the day. This reflection might be hard at first, but over time you will get in the habit of identifying the moments that you will record later while they are happening. This realization helps you better appreciate the moment and lean into it.

I have recently begun this practice by keeping a small notebook (not my phone) next to my bed. I am still building this new habit, but every night my goal is to write down three things I am grateful for. So far it has helped me go to bed with a better mindset!

For those who want the convenience and support of their smartphone for daily gratitude, try this Simple Gratitude Journal app.

Take action tonight to win the morning

Decide to implement one or more of these best practices tonight! Each one of these five tips above will help you have a better morning. If you make all five a habit we are certain you will begin to win the morning!

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