For as long as I can remember, I've been a morning person. I'm up at 5 a.m. every morning and at the gym by 5:30, and I often like to get to the office at 8. That means, though, that nighttime tends to be a challenging part of the day for me, so while some people can stay up late to work out or get extra work done, I'm pretty brain dead by 9.
Because I'm rendered useless so early at night, my bedtime routine isn't exactly a well thought out process. It usually consists of me scrolling through Instagram, watching Netflix, or just falling asleep in a pile on the couch. I thought to myself: my morning routine is so clean and organized, so why couldn't nighttime be the same? In an attempt to get more quality sleep each night (I had only been sleeping six and a half hours, which simply is not enough for me), I decided to be more thoughtful about the way I got ready for bed each night.
These are the new rules I made for myself:
- No electronics an hour before bedtime (especially social media)
- Pack my lunch and get my gym bag ready for the next day
- Spend quality time with my partner
- Wear actual sleepwear each night
- Clean my bedroom
I followed this formula for one whole week, and here's how it affected the rest of my life.
I Slept Straight Through the Night
I never have any trouble falling asleep when my head hits the pillow, but it's the tossing and turning at night that gives me trouble. When I put intention into my bedtime routine, though, I noticed that it was much easier for me to go to bed at a more reasonable time. I wasn't falling into a TV hole or mindlessly looking at Instagram, so my circadian rhythms weren't being disturbed by the blue light emitted by electronics. My brain was able to completely shut down and allow me to fully rest — sometimes for eight straight hours!
My Boyfriend and I Had More Sex
This was an unexpected turn of events, as I didn't think my sex life would be affected at all by this experiment. I can hinge this very happy change partly on the fact that I started wearing cute (yet functional) sleepwear to bed, rather than a raggedy old t-shirt and leggings. I opted in for a washable silk pajama set from Lunya, as well as a comfy romper, both of which were an immense upgrade from my previous PJs.
Suddenly my nighttime felt like a special time for me to unwind, rather than simply collapse. Combine the soft material of real pajamas on my skin with a freshly washed face, and bedtime was now a luxury more than anything else. Plus, because my boyfriend and I were spending quality face-to-face time together each night, he actually noticed my new sleepwear — and he loved how they looked on me. The result? More sex all around.
My Mornings Went Smoother
By putting aside some time to organize myself in the evening, I could virtually walk out the door without having to do any extra work in the morning. In addition to packing my lunch and preparing my gym bag, I even picked out my outfit the night before, so I didn't have to waste much brain power in the morning to get myself going. This, along with cleaning my room up the night before, freed me up to meditate more than I normally do, or even sleep in a few minutes if I felt like it.
My Morning Workouts Were Much More Rewarding
When you get to the gym with a clear head and well-rested body, your workouts will always go a little better. I had way more energy than usual, and there were a couple days when I even hit a new record in my weight-lifting routine. In order for the body to perform at its best (and lose weight, if that's what you're going for), it needs a decent amount of high-quality sleep — between seven and nine hours, to be exact. And this experiment taught me how very true that was.
I Made Better Choices With My Diet During the Day
I know I'm not alone when I say that my eating habits get worse when I'm tired. My body craves sugary, carby snacks in order to get a boost of energy somehow, which leaves me reaching for things I wouldn't normally eat. But having seven and a half hours of sleep under my belt gave me more self-control and a more pressing urge to feed my body in a healthy way. I ate more fruits and vegetables, rather than crackers or chips, and I packed my lunch every single day of the week.
Product Credit: Stella McCartney PJ set