Quick question: what do you do before bed? Do you scroll on your phone until you feel bleary-eyed? Get lost in the pages of a good book? Or squeeze in the last episode of that terrifying true crime series?
Whichever camp you fall into, your pre-bedtime habits can make or break you and if you’ve ever woken up in the morning feeling out of sorts for no obvious reason, your evening routine could be to blame.
Why? Because the things we consume in the 45 minutes before we go to sleep – whether it’s an unsettling true crime doc or a lengthy scroll on social media – are replayed by our subconscious mind up to six times while we sleep.
Basically? If you went to bed feeling ticked off or upset there’s a strong chance you’ll wake up feeling the same way. And ultimately, that feeling will play out the rest of the day unless you do something to actively change it.
While that might sound like bad news, it’s actually a great opportunity. As our subconscious minds are most easily programmed in the moments before we fall asleep, it means you can actively shift your bedtime routine to ensure you feed your mind with wonderful thoughts that help it to expand and grow.
By focusing on your goals at bedtime, reinforcing positive beliefs, and feeding your subconscious mind with inspiration, you are literally priming it to seek out success. And all it takes is a few subtle shifts to see the benefits.
Right now, you can decide to put an evening ritual in place that enriches you and sets you up for the best evening possible, so are you ready? Here’s how…
How To Create An Evening Ritual
Carve out a schedule
All good habits start with a schedule. Don’t just take our word for it. In Atomic Habits, author James Clear notes that scheduling a time to complete a task is one of the key habit-forming ingredients. By assigning a time to a new habit, you are far more likely to complete it. So before you start plotting what you’re going to do before bed, start planning the ‘when’.
Our pro tip? Figure out what time you want to be asleep by and work back from there. Research says you should start winding down for bed one to two hours before nodding off. Want to be lights out by 10.30? You could start by switching your phone off at 8.30 to get rid of distraction, running a hot bath to relax your body or getting into your cosiest PJs to signal that it’s time for bed.
Once you have these habits sussed you can set aside some time for activities that help you recharge, refocus and replenish. Reckon that sounds like a whole lot of effort? It really isn't. Dr Wayne Dyer believed that you could successfully reprogram your mind in as little as five minutes, by thinking positively right before you fall asleep.
Our suggestion? Try adding one new habit at a time – like reading 10 pages of a book, journaling in The Head Plan Journal, or meditating for 5 minutes – you can then add on more activities over time. You don’t want to overwhelm your ritual.
Plan for the day ahead
Feeling consumed with worry right before you drift off? It’s time for a brain dump. The Head Plan Journal is a great place to unload and get all your tasks and activities out on paper. Doing so is proven to reduce stress, clear worry, and allows you to take back control.
Another benefit? Planning ahead before you fall asleep also helps you to refocus on your goals at the exact time your mind is at its most impressionable.
Want to go one further in the preparation stakes? Fill up your Daily Drench bottle and stick it in the fridge so you can grab it first thing and lay out your outfit to save on decision-making come morning.
You’ll sleep easy knowing so many of your to-dos are already taken care of and you’ll have more energy to direct toward your goals when you wake.
PRO TIP: Can’t resist a sneak peek at your phone before you go to sleep? Manifestation coach Kathrin Zenkina advises setting your vision board as your screensaver so that when you do pick up your phone you’re subconsciously focusing on your goals.
Feed your mind and soul
Ask yourself this: How do you want to feel when you wake up in the mornings? Do you want to feel centred, empowered, and calm? Maybe you want to feel upbeat, focused, and ready to take on the world. Once you’ve landed on an answer, consider what evening activities could help you achieve those emotions.
It could be that you need to meditate to reconnect with yourself and absorb the day. Maybe you need to reflect on your biggest achievements so you feel motivated to go after your goals again tomorrow. (We’ve provided a space for you to do just that inside The Head Plan Journal).
Creating an evening ritual that works for you is about uncovering what you need and how you want to feel so grab your journal and get clear.
Stuck for ideas? Here are a few of our favourites…
- Take five minutes to yourself with a cup of herbal tea
- Journal your thoughts and feelings
- Reflect on your wins and successes from the day
- Read an inspiring book
- Recite affirmations
- Visualize your goals as you fall asleep
Make room for Gratitude
Even if you had the worst day there is always – yes, ALWAYS – something to be grateful for and we thoroughly believe practising gratitude, particularly before bed, is one of the most life-changing things you can do.
Humans have an in-built negativity bias that means we’re primed to focus on our complaints. While this primitive function protects us from danger, it also means we have to work a little harder to find the positives.
That’s where gratitude comes in – shown to reduce stress, boost optimism and increase productivity. It's a surefire way to ensure you go to sleep with a smile on your face. It also provides a healthy dose of perspective that allows you to reframe even the most difficult days.
Before drifting off, Rhonda Byrne, author of The Secret, advises mentally running through the past 24 hours and trying to find the very best thing that happened that day. It could be something simple like that first sip of tea in the morning or something huge like receiving a job offer or getting approved for a mortgage.
We’ve also provided a space in The Head Plan Journal to note down what you’re grateful for that day. It only takes a few minutes but, thanks to the subconscious mind’s ability to replay our thoughts, that feeling of gratitude will carry right through until the next morning.
Good night, great day…
A great day starts before you close your eyes the night before. It starts with a decision. The decision to put your needs and wellbeing first and to drift off in a good mood that will impact the energy you give to the world the next day.
Good moods don’t just happen by chance, they are the result of rituals and routines that set you up for success. So go on, rewire your evening ritual and feel the difference, not just today, but every day.