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Habits

10 Things to Do Before You Go to Bed

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Things to Do Before You Go to Bed

If you’re like most people, you probably go straight to bed after dinner or binge watch your favorite television show till you pass out. But, there are consequences to every action you take and it’s time to think about how to use the evening time more constructively.

Here are the 10 things to do before you go to bed to enjoy a deeper, more restful sleep.

1. Take a hot shower

Who doesn’t like the feeling of warm soothing water on their skin? Especially, after a long rough day, a hot shower can help release accumulated stress in your body and mind.

But according to recent studies, taking a hot shower before you go to bed has much more benefits than just making you feel good. A study done on two teams of young football players concluded that a hot shower before going to bed can improve the sleep onset latency period.

Sleep onset latency is the time it takes for you to go from being awake to falling completely asleep. In this study, one of the teams were made to take a hot shower before bed and others just followed their regular routine. They concluded that the players who took the hot shower fell asleep faster and had a good REM sleep.

2. Read fiction

Things to Do Before You Go to Bed

Genres like self-help or management can feel a bit heavy to read before you go to bed. Simply stated, they can make you think deeply about your present and future life. And, this is the last thing you need before going to sleep.

Here’s a better solution: Read books that make you feel present in the moment. The whole point of reading before you go to bed is to ease tension and beat stress in 10-15 minutes. So take your mind off your day to day life by diving into a fairy tale or a romantic story and wake up refreshed in the morning.

3. Have a cup of caffeine-free green tea

Green tea consists of an anti-stress relieving amino acid called theanine. It is the main component in green tea that makes us feel good and bring feelings of well being after drinking a hot cup of it.

According to a study done in a university in Japan, caffeine-free green tea can not only make us feel good but can also help us enjoy a deeper, more restful sleep.

4. Light exercise

Due to stereotypes, a lot of people avoid exercising at night time. They think it will hinder their sleep by making them more active and lively. But nothing could be further from the truth as recent research says the complete opposite of it.

According to the Center of Studies in Psychobiology and Exercise, Brazil, light exercising before improves sleep patterns in good sleepers who are non-athletes. It didn’t seem to hinder the subject’s sleep or comply with any stereotypes people had prior to this study.

5. Plan for the next day

Things to Do Before You Go to Bed

Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution; this gives you a 1,000 percent Return on Energy!”

– Brian Tracy

Knowing what you have to do the next day makes you more focused and keeps you more relaxed. You don’t have to write a detailed plan for the next day before you go to bed, but making a bullet list of urgent tasks can help you to stay ahead to everyone else.

It’s better to wake up with a short purpose in mind than to spend precious morning time thinking and recollecting where you left off yesterday.

6. Spend quality time with loved ones

Most people spend their entire day working and engaging in other recreational activities. We rarely get time to check on our family members and talk to them about how their day went.

A recent survey conducted by visitanaheim suggests that American families spend just 37 minutes of quality time together per day during the week.

So don’t forget to allocate at least a couple of hours to your family members who need your attention and care more than anyone else.

7. Listen to ASMR

Things to Do Before You Go to Bed

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) videos are one of the most viewed categories on YouTube. Audiences get a tingling sensation in the crown of the head by audio-visual triggers such as whispering, tapping, and hand movements displayed on the screen by their favorite ASMR artist aka ASMRist.

Most people fall asleep very quickly while listening to these relaxing sounds. There are various categories of ASMR, the sleep and relaxation category is best suited to watch before you go to bed.

8. Make sure the room is dark and cozy

The environment is a major factor when it comes to a good night’s sleep. It influences our feelings and reactions and can have a great effect on our sleeping patterns.

Most people tend to automatically feel sleepy in a dark and cozy ambiance. So, make sure the windows are properly sealed and there is no light seeping through windows or coming over the top of curtains.

For people working night shifts, a sleeping eye mask can be a lifesaver. Coupled with a comfortable pair of earplugs it can help you create an ideal environment for sleeping even during daytime.

9. Meditate

Meditation is an ancient method developed by numerous spiritual teachers from the Eastern world. At present, it is widespread and popular in western countries as a way to relieve stress and tension.

A 15-minute mindfulness session just before you go to bed can help clear your mind and prepare you for a deep uninterrupted sleep. Different types of meditation techniques like mindfulness, transcendental, focusing on a particular object etc can help you in different ways.

Mindfulness meditation is known to promote a healthy sleep cycle. So, find a calm and comfortable place in your room and practice meditation daily before you go to bed. I meditate twice daily, once right after waking up in the morning and once before going to bed. I used the Headspace app for all my meditations.

10. Listen to affirmations

Affirmations are positive statements made in present tense either in written or consumed in audio format. \ Simply stated, an affirmation isthe repetition of a desired scenario several times in our minds to become more aligned and aware of it in order to manifest it in real life.

Writing them down on a piece of paper may seem like a lot of work but it is more effective than just listening to them. However, listening to the audio format just before you go to bed can be relaxing and rejuvenating. I read my affirmations right after I do my morning meditation.

Most successful people spend at least one-hour reading books. They sleep better after reading because now they have a better understanding of the events that took place on the same day. Reading in the evening also keeps their mind rational and organized the next day.

However, due to numerous reasons, some of us can’t manage to slip in this one hour in our existing schedule. This precious time before you go to bed can be used for such self-improvement yet relaxing practices.

References-

1. “A shower before bedtime may improve the sleep onset latency … – NCBI.” Accessed March 23, 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28691581.
2. “Sleep onset latency – Wikipedia.” Accessed March 23, 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_onset_latency.
3. “Reduced Stress and Improved Sleep Quality Caused by … – NCBI – NIH.” Accessed March 23, 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5537891/.
4. “Physical exercise performed before bedtime improves the … – NCBI – NIH.” Accessed March 23, 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22092095.
5. “American Families Spend Just 37 Minutes Of Quality Time Together ….” Accessed March 23, 2019. https://www.studyfinds.org/american-families-spend-37-minutes-quality-time/.
6. “Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) – NCBI – NIH.” Accessed March 23, 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6010208/.

Habits

Why Should You Stop Being Hard on Yourself

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Why Should You Stop Being Hard on Yourself

Growing up, we are often subjected to comparisons drawn by adults. You are always in competition with children in your society, children in your school, children in your parent’s friend circle, and so on. Eventually, you start comparing yourself to everyone else as well.

This becomes a subconscious habit that can be really detrimental to your mental health. Constantly making comparisons puts undue stress on ourselves in addition to the amount we already have from work and life in general.

We get so caught up in proving ourselves that we often forget to give ourselves credit for the things that we have done and milestones we have achieved. There comes the point when we have had enough, and we start losing motivation; as a result, we start spiraling.

When people say “life is too short,” what they mean is that it is too short to spend trying to impress others. The years you have should be spent on doing things you like and learning stuff that you want to. You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone, and you don’t need to be better than anyone. The only person you should be in competition with is your past self. Aim on being better than yourself, that’s it.

It is Okay to be Yourself

One thing we are never told is that it is okay to be ourselves. We often try too hard to be like someone else, to impress others, to make our families proud, but the price we pay is too high. We lose ourselves in the process. Sooner or later, it catches up to us, and we start feeling unsatisfied with our lives, no matter how great it is.

“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Our peace of mind and state of health is not worth compromising, our happiness is not worth giving up, our motivation is not worth losing; be yourself, that is who you can be the best version of.

It is Okay to Put Yourself First

Every person has their own strengths and weaknesses – no person is the same. No one is perfect, even if they seem like they are. What meets the eye is just the tip of the iceberg. If they seem insanely good at something, chances are they have sacrificed something else in their life to get to where they are.

“Faithless To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you want to learn something and master something, then it is okay to say “no” to other people. It is okay to put yourself first. Doesn’t matter if it is for you to focus on your craft or your mental health. At the end of the day, if you don’t value yourself enough to put yourself first, why would someone else?

It is Okay to Make Mistakes

Don’t beat yourself up for mistakes, embarrassments, and having negative thoughts when things don’t go your way. It is natural to feel beaten up when you face failure or make mistakes. All of these things, though, contribute to the uniqueness of your character. The moment you start being yourself, you will start noticing that a lot of people are like you, lost and isolated in the big world – thinking about things they could have done differently.

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou

You have to learn to make the most of what you have already achieved and build on the lessons that you learned because of those mistakes and failures. People are afraid to try new things because they are afraid to fail in front of someone else. But, if you do not take those leaps, then you will never reach where you want to be. One thing to remember is that when things go wrong, it is US who have to face the brunt of it, not THEM, so do things and make mistakes with only you in mind.

It is Okay to Have Bad Days

We feel success is when we do not have problems and are always happy. It cannot be farther from the truth. No matter how much you earn or how successful you are, life will also be a sequence of ups and downs because, without downs, there are no ups.

“Some days are just bad days, that’s all. You have to experience sadness to know happiness, and I remind myself that not every day is going to be a good day, that’s just the way it is.” – Dita Von Tesse

Without experiencing bad days, you won’t be able to appreciate the good days. Bad days also make us who we are, more than the good days ever will. We learn and grow from them. Remember, if it is a really bad one today, you do not have to do today again. Tomorrow brings a new day and new opportunities.

It is Okay to be Less Than Perfect

This is the one area that I have struggled with the most. The need to be perfect has been ingrained in us since childhood. Being compared to children who were good in other areas always made us feel inadequate. Some children learned to cancel the noise, while some couldn’t take it. It became a part of them, eating them out with every passing day. When thoughts like these are ingrained in you, no matter what you do, you will never feel satisfied.

“People are not perfect… very often the relationships that are strongest are those where people have worked through big crises, but they’ve had to work through them. So the challenge to us is to work through that.” – Patricia Hewitt

You have to learn to be okay with not being perfect in every single thing. It is okay to strive for perfection, but do not make that your goal. Your goal should be learning and achieving. That is what makes the process perfect.

Final Thoughts

Life already throws a lot of curveballs at us. We do not need to add ourselves to the mix. Be your own cheerleader, and go easy on yourself from time to time. Understand that not all days are going to be the same. You are going to achieve a lot one day and nothing the other day. On the days when nothing seems to be going your way, remember to be kind to yourselves.

Keep reminding yourself that it is okay to do things for yourself, and it is okay to stop for a moment and gather your wits. Take care of your wellbeing, and everything else will follow.

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Goals

How to Prioritize When Everything Seems Important

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How to Prioritize When Everything Seems Important

Prioritization is the key to achieving your goals. It helps you focus on what is important. While talking about how to prioritize your tasks to help you achieve all your goals, I briefly touched what you should do if everything seems like a priority – 

If you find yourself with more than three top priorities, then that’s a problem. It means you haven’t figured out what tasks are more important. Figure out which ones can wait until later. If all of the tasks are of same nature making them equally important, then that means you need to cut out some tasks, you might have taken on more than you can handle.

Having a laser-like focus on only a handful of things is essential here so that you can have only the tasks that matter the most on your list.

Most of us struggle with this. Prioritizing is not easy if you don’t know how to differentiate actual priority from the task that seems like one. Even if everything on your plate is supposed to be equally important, you will still need to find a way to break down which ones you should be spending your time on.

How we slice up our time and what we dedicate our time to often dictates what direction our life is going to take. The first question one has to get past is whether or not everything really is of equal importance – when you start questioning is when you will start looking for ways to deal with the problem the question possesses.

Dealing with Conflicting Priorities

How to Prioritize When Everything Seems Important

When you are trying to deal with your personal and professional life at the same time, the tasks together can become more daunting. We face multiple demands on our time every day because of that. 

In the professional scene, often the tasks that are urgent override the schedule, resulting in loss of control and inattention to priority tasks. So how should priorities be determined? 

To begin with, ask questions. 

Let’s take an example. Suppose you are in your office. You have a project that needs to be done today. A colleague comes by and asks you to help with something that is also urgent and needs to be done by the afternoon. Now, you didn’t say “no” because that might be rude. You have an urgent task that is not your priority and you have your own project that is a priority but not as urgent as this other task.

Ask questions to yourself – 

  • Is taking this additional work going to affect your workflow?
  • Do you want to do this?
  • Is this stressing you out or causing you anxiety?
  • Are you stretching yourself too thin trying to be helpful?
  • Can this work be done by someone else?

If the answer to even of these questions is “Yes” then we move on to the next part, that is, learning to drop the task because it is not a priority.

“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage – pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically – to say ‘no’ to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside. The enemy of the ‘best’ is often the ‘good’.”

-Stephen Covey

What Do You Do? The Art of Saying “No”

Everyone considers their project to be the most important and wants information or action immediately, they won’t always be considerate of your work. All most people care about is getting their work done. If you have trouble saying “no” chances are that your work will keep suffering. How to deal with this? 

How to Prioritize When Everything Seems Important

Even though you feel bad about not being able to help your colleague, it is okay. You have to put your work first. Of course, special circumstances do demand changing your priorities but most often than not saying “no” will immediately put the dilemma to rest.

If multiple people are involved in your project, find out where your piece fits into the overall project. Taking charge of your space and your time will allow you to focus on what is important, meet deadlines and minimize job and personal stress, this starts with learning to say “no.”

Why Writing Down Your Tasks Help

We have a scientific term to explain why writing down goals helps. It is called the generation effect. What it basically means is that you remember information more when you have generated it with your own mind than when you have read it. There’s no one specific answer to why it happens but a lot of studies have been conducted on it, and this phenomenon is used in quite a few things. 

How to Prioritize When Everything Seems Important

You must have heard people say “Goals that are not written down are just wishes.” You can dream or talk about it all you want, but until you write it down on a piece of paper, it remains a half-hearted attempt – nothing more than a wish. 

Another thing and an important one at that, is encoding. Our memory has the ability to encode, store, and recall information. By writing your goals down, you are storing it externally by putting it on paper. Now, by visiting it again and again, we are encoding it into our brains. There are few intensively used types of encoding. Two types are at work here, Visual encoding and Elaborative encoding. I have discussed all of this in detail when I talked about why writing down goals can help you achieve them faster.

Basically how it works is that we write something and that can be visual encoding, looking at that, again and again, evokes the feelings associated with that task, the reason of it, if you may. That is elaborative encoding, this is how priority kicks in. The elaborative part helps us associate reasons behind the task and the consequences associated with it, and in turn, its correlation with our ultimate goals.

This eventually helps us only pick out priority labeled tasks to make us more productive and efficient.

Spending Your Time Right

How to Prioritize When Everything Seems Important

Most people generally panic when they have to tackle their tasks by priority because everything feels important. When everything looks like a priority, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. It is difficult to skillfully juggle multiple priorities and competing responsibilities at the same time. There are times when you have to manage the workload at the office as well as home. 

What we often fail to keep in mind when handling multiple activities is to prioritize them according to their importance. Many people just try to handle various activities as per their instinct and end up never doing the important things. Later, they might blame it on ‘not having enough time’, which obviously is untrue. You have enough time, you just have to start spending it right.

If you don’t know what your priority is, you will never have enough time to get your work done. As Laura Vanderkam says, “Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels.”

Final Thoughts

Prioritizing your to-do list is very simple if you learn to differentiate between your actual priority and what feels like a priority. Learning to say “no” to whatever is hindering your chances of success is the next big thing. If you learn these two things, you are pretty much sorted. All there is left to do is employ strategies to actually get the work done.

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Habits

5 Non-Negotiable Things You Need to Do Before Your Bedtime

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5 Non-Negotiable Things You Need to Do Before Your Bedtime

What you do before going to bed can help you end the day on a positive note even if it wasn’t a particularly positive day, and will also help you set the tone for the next day. The activities you do also help you to immediately fall asleep without lying in bed tossing and turning.

If you have had a good night’s sleep, most of your health problems will go away. The problem with the start-up and entrepreneurial culture is that we try to work as much as we can by sacrificing everything – food, sleep, fun, and eventually health.

“A well-formulated nighttime routine will help you wind down and sleep better.”

-Anonymous

Good sleep helps you start your next day well-rested, bright, fresh and stress-free. If you have been trying to wake up early, the first step is to go to bed early to get in a full sleep cycle. 

If having a morning routine is important to take care of yourself and make the most of your day, so is having a night routine. What you do at night helps you wrap your day up feeling satisfied and that helps you fall asleep better which then helps you wake up feeling energized and motivated. 

A well-rested body and a well-rested mind will help you achieve a lot more than working 24-hours non-stop and this is why you should always do these things before you turn in for the night.

1. Express Gratitude

5 Non-Negotiable Things You Need to Do Before Your Bedtime

Expressing gratitude is an activity that is becoming more and more popular with the millennials. With fast-paced lives, always running to get somewhere or get something done – we have forgotten to stop and appreciate the little things in our lives.

In the race for getting what we want, we fail to show gratitude for the things we have. Being appreciative of what you have achieved, what you have, people you love and who love you can fill you with joy and optimism. An optimistic approach toward things helps you move forward with a renewed vigour and helps you lead a better life.

“When I’m worried and cannot sleep I count my blessings instead of sheep.”

-Bing Crosby

You shouldn’t only be appreciative of external factors, you need to acknowledge and motivate yourself too. While I suggest giving yourself positive affirmations every morning, acknowledging your achievements for the day when you are about to go to bed will help you feel better about yourself and will help you curb the always rising self-doubt.

There are gratitude journals that give you prompts about things to write or you can write three things you are thankful for each day.

2. Set Goals for the Next Day

5 Non-Negotiable Things You Need to Do Before Your Bedtime

I have talked in detail about why you should prepare your to-do lists in the night, but here’s the gist. At the end of the day, you know what you have achieved and what remains. This gives you a chance to revise the list and make a new game plan for the next day. 

When you make a list at night, you can spend your time in the morning focusing on yourself rather than working out a schedule for your day. You will wake up with a schedule and a sense of direction. Mornings should anyway be dedicated to your health and well-being.

3. Read for 45 Minutes to 1 Hour

5 Non-Negotiable Things You Need to Do Before Your Bedtime

If you want to learn about anything, read.
If you want to grow, read.
If you want to polish your skills, read.
If you want to sharpen your mind, read.

I have always loved reading and keep looking for ways to read more because there is so much to read and I never feel like I have enough time to read them all. Only reading isn’t important, comprehending what you read is as important, especially if you are reading non-fiction.

Reading isn’t limited to only books – with the internet comes a ton of reading material to choose from. With successful people telling the world what they read and with them sharing their reading habits, everyone trying to make it as an entrepreneur has started to pick up more books, which is a good thing.

If you can’t find time to read during the day, then allot 45 minutes to an hour before your bedtime to reading. This will make sure that you have a schedule and help you get some reading done every day.

4. Meditate

5 Non-Negotiable Things You Need to Do Before Your Bedtime

Meditating is one of the easiest ways to get in touch with your inner self. It lets you spend time with your own thoughts and emotions. When you focus on your inner self, you give yourselves the opportunity to take time out to sort your thoughts and acknowledge your emotions. You don’t keep pushing things that are bothering you and you don’t file unacknowledged emotions to the back of your mind to crop up later. 

“Man should forget his anger before he lies down to sleep.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

You start becoming more aware of your emotional and mental health and learn to let go of things that might have bothered you throughout the day. It also helps you become more focused and improves your concentration. It helps you feel in control of your life and yourself.

5. Go on a Walk

5 Non-Negotiable Things You Need to Do Before Your Bedtime

Walks are a great way to sort your thoughts while getting some exercise in. Going on walks after dinner helps with digestion and because your body gets worked up a little it always helps you sleep better.

Talking an evening walk or an after-dinner walk is one of the most common routines that people share – spending time in nature, getting some fresh air, working the food down, and getting some exercise are few of the many reasons.

Bonus: Set Your Alarm

5 Non-Negotiable Things You Need to Do Before Your Bedtime

This is an obvious one. But, I would suggest revising your alarms every few days. Waking at the same time if you recently have started needing to put in more hours at work just doesn’t make sense. Your body won’t be getting the full rest it needs.

“Finish each day before you begin the next, and interpose a solid wall of sleep between the two.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Yes, waking up early is important, but what is more important is getting complete rest. If you need to wake up late then, by all means, change your alarm to a later hour.

Final Thoughts

Having a setlist of non-negotiable things you need to do before going to bed helps you be mindful of what energy you carry with yourself to sleep. Try going to bed pissed at things and try going to bed feeling peaceful – you will feel the difference in how long it takes to fall asleep, in the thoughts that enter your mind, and in the quality of sleep you get.

And of course, don’t forget to brush and floss and wash your face!

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