Going to Bed Early (and Waking Early)
Once I was in bed, I didn't put any pressure on myself to go to sleep at a particular time. I would read on my phone until I fell asleep. I didn't set any restrictions on how long I could read each night ... the only mandate was to head upstairs by 10pm.
In terms of what I read, I tried to stay away from anything too serious, like world news. So I either read articles on self-improvement or fitness and nutrition. If I was in the middle of a book, I would read that.
Somehow, this approach has worked like magic. All of a sudden, I was falling asleep by 10pm or 10:30pm, and waking up by 6:30am. And waking up early solved a problem I wasn't quite aware that I had, which was ... how to squeeze in a workout with everything else on my to-do list, and my kids at school for a seemingly short 3 hours each day.
My routine up until a couple of weeks ago was to drop my kids off at preschool and then have breakfast while writing this blog. Then I would work out and meditate, in that order. Sometimes, I would have to run errands first though, and this would throw off my schedule. I'd find myself trying to work out while my kids were home, which was challenging unless I let them watch a show.
When I started waking up earlier, I decided to use the time to exercise and meditate before the kids woke up. Working out hard every morning made me so tired in the evenings that I found myself falling asleep by 9pm or 9:30pm. I would put the kids to bed, and instead of going back downstairs to watch a little TV and have a snack, I would go to bed myself.
It's only been a few days, but it's been great. I get my workout in first thing so I don't have to spend brain bandwidth the rest of the day figuring out when I can squeeze it in. Going to bed early also addresses the issue of nighttime eating, which I wrote about recently. I'm too tired to snack before bed these days. Instituting the 10pm cut-off for going upstairs has set off this upward spiral of waking up earlier, being productive, and then tiring myself out and going to bed earlier. It's been an unexpected upside of a simple change, and one I feel very grateful to have experienced.