There’s so much talk out there about self-care. So many of us see it and hear about it, but do we really practice it? Do you really focus on taking care of yourself each and every day?
I have lost sight of this on my journey recently, through the ups and downs, especially during the pandemic. After reading the 5 AM Club and The Miracle Morning, I am refocused with great intent on taking care of myself and getting good sleep. I’d like to share a few tips that work for me to help me to wind down my evening and get myself ready for bed. These have helped me to be ready to go early in the morning to lead, be energized, and feel healthy.
Remember, these work for me, they may not all work for you. Do what’s best for you, and maybe try a few new and different things. However, I’ve been feeling great and blessed to sleep well.
I recommend trying some of these out
Set a bedtime: There should be a wind down prior to, but set a bedtime. I work my schedule so that I can be in bed by 9 PM and lights out shortly afterward. I read for about 10 or 15 minutes before I go to bed each night.
No fluids and no foods: I try not to have any fluids after 8 PM and try not to eat past dinner. Sometimes dinners at 6 or 6:30 but I try not to go past that. Ideally, I’d like to go earlier but that doesn’t happen all the time. With busy schedules, kids’ practices, events, and a busy school calendar, this doesn’t always work out but I try to have dinner at a semi-set time
Moving air: We have a ceiling fan that runs on low and a standup fan near the bed that’s moving the air around the room.
Use a sound machine: This creates a gentle hum in the room and helps shut out some background noise.
Mouthguard: During the pandemic, my wife and I realized we were grinding our teeth. I would wake up with headaches and the dentist confirmed I was grinding my teeth. Through Amazon, we both got custom-made mouthguards. This has helped immensely! If I go to bed without it now I feel like I’m in a car without a seatbelt on.
Eye cover: My wife is not necessarily in bed at the same time as me but she likes when I leave a light on for her. I use my eye cover to shut out any light that would be in the room.
Earplugs: I invested in a great pair of earplugs that help block out any noise. I’m at the point in my life where my children are up later than me, so obviously with teenagers and preteens, there’s noise. The earplugs shut everything out creating a quiet seal for me to be able to sleep.
No cell phone in the bedroom: I charge my cell phone in another room. I was that guy answering emails, ordering items on Amazon, and checking social media late into the night. I have cut that out and do not bring the phone into the room. My bed is a place of quiet and reading and I’m happy that I keep my phone out of the room. If you’re currently doing that I recommend trying charging your phone in another room.
Alarm clock away from the bed: 5 AM comes early. In The Miracle Morning, Hal Elrod recommends moving your alarm clock away from your nightstand. This forces me to get up and turn the alarm off. It’s far enough away that I actually have to walk to it to turn it off. I do this quickly also, so as not to disturb my wife. That process of bending down and turning it off is almost like a reactive switch for me to wake up and put my exercise gear on and get down on the elliptical.
As I look back at this list, I know it seems extreme, but it works for me. As my friends and I joke, we’re not getting any younger, so I really focus on my sleep and my health to be the best I can be for my family, myself, and those I serve. Having a great night’s sleep is so important to this journey. Sleep used to be something that just happened on its own and I didn’t have to work much at it, but like all things it changes. I recommend trying some of these if you’re having a hard time sleeping or if you’d like to change some of your habits.
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