Let’s talk about your bedtime routine. Because I’ve heard this a lot lately…
“how do you go to bed so early?”
“I can barely go to bed by 11pm.”
“I can’t get everything done in time to go to bed that early.”
“I’m a night owl, that won’t work for me.”
“I’d like to go to bed earlier, but it never happens.”
I get all of that and I’ve said it all before, except the night owl thing, that’s never been me. The truth is I am tired and ready to go to bed when I start my nighttime routine at 9pm. And I’ve used my time throughout the day to the fullest so I’m not choosing between going to bed and finishing the laundry or going to bed and prepping food for the next day. Which wouldn’t be the easiest decision.
A few things contribute to the success of my early bedtime. And they are ALL in your reach. Try them out if you’re hoping to get your butt to bed.
1. I wake at 4:50am
Because I wake up so early, by the time 9pm comes around I’m ready to get to bed and get at least 7 hours of sleep. I’m not forcing myself into sleeping, I’m ready.
I know what happens when I get overly tired. If I started my bedtime routine late, didn’t go to bed early enough, and still woke up at 5am each morning, I have no doubt a few days into it my body would literally revolt. I’ve had this happen in the past when I try to do way too much and just “push through”. It feels like I am shutting down. And I end up sleeping for 12 hours straight to “make up for it” (which apparently isn’t actually possible). The only way this is sustainable is if I go to bed early and I value my productive morning time too much so I start my bedtime routine at 9pm.
A couple of side notes:
First, I think the way you set up your alarm is super important to bedtime routine and morning routine. I think it’s so important that I detail how I set myself up for success in this alarm post.
Second, I want to try this sunrise simulation alarm clock, how nice does it sound to gradually wake up to a sunrise each morning?
2. I don’t drink caffeine after my morning coffee
I know that caffeine can be a bedtime routine buster, but this is really hard for me somedays because I truly love the taste and the ritual of drinking a hot cup of coffee. And in the afternoon a shot of espresso with cream is one of my favorite treats. I like the smell, the warmth, and the little jolt.
Sometimes this is hard for me to resist, but I try to limit that indulgence to days that I know I’ll be up late because of our social or travel plans otherwise my eyes feel wide open when I go to hit the pillow even if my body is ready to go to bed. I do drink a heavy pour of caffeine (COFFEE) in the morning though—a large (about 20 ounces) bulletproof coffee each morning and I love it.
Side note: if you’re not on the bulletproof coffee + intermittent fasting train like me, it’s something to consider. The habit has helped me drop almost ten pounds without changing anything else and I love the time I save and how I feel in the morning. I detail all of the that jazz about bulletproof coffee and there’s an upcoming post about intermittent fasting if you’re curious.
3. I have built a bedtime routine and a habit of going to bed early
Starting to get ready for bed at 9pm is a habit for me now. I created this habit overtime and I think it was more of a mental discipline than anything. I decided to create a routine and a reward (reward is super important) out of getting ready for bed so that my body would know it’s bedtime and I would look forward to and enjoy the process.
My bedtime app reminds me at 8:50pm (30 minutes before my “bedtime”) that it’s time to start my bedtime routine. If you want to know how to use the bedtime app I have a full post about how I use it. When that chime goes off I finish up whatever I’m doing, fill up my water (because I always sleep with water right by my bed so I can start hydrating right when I wake up), brush my teeth, wash + moisturize my face, go to the bathroom, put on PJs and get into bed.
The reward for me is the minty fresh coolness from brushing my teeth, the refreshing calm from washing off my makeup and putting on that moisturizer, the coolness of the bed when you hop in, and the feeling that everything is set for me to have a good morning. Once I jump into bed I am so comfy and relaxed, it’s good feeling and I look forward to getting into bed for the night feeling accomplished rather than rushed and annoyed that I’m going to bed late.
4. I am productive throughout the day so my bedtime is possible
There is way more to touch on here than I will in this post. But I truly believe the fact that I accomplish what I set out to accomplish during the day gives me permission to shut my eyes at 9pm and not feel guilt of what else I could be getting done. This is all about planning out what I want to accomplish, when I want to accomplish it and saying no to everything else.
There you have it! Hopefully you see that I am truly not doing anything special to get to bed early. But like I said, it’s mostly a mental battle. A battle of discipline. If you want it enough, you’ll get there.