I hope everyone had a great night’s sleep.
Yesterday you took the first step to creating your evening ritual.
Reminder: An evening ritual is how you wind down your day. It is the step-by-step sequence you go through to get quality sleep.
The reverse alarm you set is the reminder that initiates the evening ritual. The ritual is going to help you get the sleep you need to perform at your best.
Other fancier names for reminders include:
I like to look fancy. So I’ll be using all these words to describe the reminder that begins your evening ritual. And yes. There will be a vocab test at the end of this challenge ;-)
How to change your bedtime behavior
BJ Fogg, a professor at Stanford and expert on habit formation, believes there are three parts to lasting behavioral change.
To change a behavior you need:
- the motivation
- the ability
- a trigger
We could stop the evening ritual challenge at day one and it would be a big win for many of you.
The cue to start prepping for a good nights sleep could be just what you needed. With the motivation to get more rest and the ability to fall asleep, the trigger was all that was missing.
But if you are still struggling with the motivation (just one more episode of Stranger Things) or ability (I can’t shut my mind off), don’t worry. We still have 4 more days to go.
Yesterday was the trigger. Today is going to be the routine.
Benefits of routine
Your body loves routines. There are many time and energy benefits to packing your days full of them. Here are a few reasons for adding a routine to your evening:
The wind down effect. High performers tend to get a wound up when they’re excelling at things during the day. An evening routine helps you wind down, relax and simply slow things down at the end of the day.
Close the loops. You’ll often have many tasks, projects, and appointments that still need doing, processing, or attending. Your evening routine is a chance to release those thoughts for the day by journaling, reviewing, planning or prepping for the next day.
Peace of mind. From knowing that you will have a good night of sleep and wake up energized and ready to go.
Building your routine
You likely already have some parts of your routine in place. You brush your teeth. You wash your face. You dim the lights.
Today is the day you get clear on those evening ritual steps. You may even add a step or two.
For example, here is my evening routine:
- Dim the house lights
- Set phone and computer to charge in living room
- Fill up water bottle with lemon water and set next to bed
- Use bathroom, brush teeth, wash face, mix calm magnesium drink
- Cuddle and talk about day with significant other
- Turn out lights, close blackout curtains
- Read fiction on Kindle Paperwhite
When I started intentionally crafting my ritual, I already did most of the steps on the list. I only added:
- a specific time marker
- reverse alarm set for 9pm
- two actions to help me fall asleep faster
- magnesium drink
- read fiction
- one action to set me up for the next day
- fill water bottle with lemon water to drink first thing in the morning
Other evening routine ideas include:
- Brewing and drinking herbal tea
- Bath (with epsom salt) or shower
- Light Yoga
- Writing or thinking about the people or things you are grateful for
- Breathing routine (e.g. breath in for 4 seconds – hold for 7 seconds – exhale for 8 seconds)
- Getting in sleep specific clothes
- Turning on humidifier
- Applying or diffusing essential oils (lavender and orange are my favorite)
- Packing a lunch for the next day
- Preparing your workout clothes for the next day
- Writing down your most important task for the next day
- Writing a list of accomplishments you had that day
- Giving yourself a problem to solve or an intention for the sleep
- Turning off all screens
- Snacking (I like cherries and greek yogurt. Turns out cherries have melatonin, the sleep onset hormone, in them.)
Write a list of the routine in the order you’d like to perform them. Put that list someplace visible. I used my whiteboard. My sister taped a note to her bathroom mirror. Some people I’ve talked to have put it next to their phone’s charging station.
Tomorrow we’ll talk about how you can make this evening ritual stick. For now, all you need to do is:
- Leave your reverse alarm clock reminder on your phone
- Select 3 to 10 steps you’d like to have in your evening routine (hint: they should not take more than an hour to complete)
- Write the steps to your routine down in the order you’d like to complete them.
- Put that list someplace visible (hint: next to where your first ritual step takes place)
- Complete all the steps to the routine before slipping off to your great night’s sleep.
*Note: The easiest trigger/marker/cue to start your evening routine is time – for example, starting your evening routine at 9pm. But the reminder does not need to be a digital notification. In fact, natural markers can work well if you have a more flexible wake up schedule.
You could start your evening ritual when:
- finishing dinner
- coming in after a night out
- closing your journal entry for the day
The natural evening ritual marker must be something you do every day. If not, the ritual will be inconsistent and not give you the full benefits you’d see with this daily habit.
Let’s keep the reverse alarm clock on for the 5 days of the challenge. You can go au naturel once you get into a rhythm.
The live challenge is over, but you can follow along to the next day here. You can also enter your name and email address below to join us on our next challenge!
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