Many people have trouble shutting off their fast-working minds as they transition from their day to their evening and to sleep time. This happens to most of us at times of high stress, life changes and is a common issue for people taking ADHD medications among others.
The problem is about more than simple fatigue. It’s that our day starts later than we wanted it to, we get less done, have less energy, and on top of all that, we sometimes beat up on ourselves for not getting enough sleep, enough done or enough self-care.
Physical, mental and emotional fatigue. And then we’re not there for ourselves or for those around us.
We are not our best selves.
Sleep Routines: 9 Ideas to Wind Down
Take what works and leave the rest. Try experiments. Or feel free to share with someone else having sleep cycle issues. The idea is to give your body some signals or habits, so your mind and body wind down, allowing for calmer and easier sleep cycles.
- Clear the mental clutter. How do you mentally close out your day? You need a method to leave behind the tasks you didn’t get to today. Create a way [system] to get these out of your head and into a trusted place you’ll remember to return to, tomorrow. Emptying your head [pretty much] is a huge piece of winding down, slowing down and eliminating distractions.
- If end of day sneaks up on you: About a half-hour before then, set a reminder to begin getting into “personal” mode or “home life” mode. Be pleasant and not distracted when you show up at home. It’s a different rhythm so begin shifting your energy.
- Take time with meals: Eliminate the rushing and have a more relaxed dinner time to start slowing down.This may mean more of a focus on meal planning, but it does not have to be rigid!
- Decide on a “no technology” time zone: It’s proven that technology keep us alert (dopamine increases). How about if you shut off all technology by 7 p.m. ? Have a good, old-fashioned “quiet time.” Or spend time dong those other hobbies or projects you keep meaning to get to.
- Set an intended bedtime. You may or may not make it, but if you don’t then you have no goal to aim for. Advice: If you’re used to 2 a.m., don’t go with a “should” be in bed by 10 p.m. because that’s unrealistic. Start with 1 a.m. or midnight and maybe you get enough sleep that way, or maybe you continue moving the time backwards.
- Watch no violence after 8 p.m. If you enjoy TV/Netflix, consider the noise level, mind vibration and activity level of shows you’re watching. Active shows won’t help relax your mind.
- Nighttime/morning routine swaps: Take a few days to notice the patterns or routines for both evenings and the mornings. If evenings feel stressed to the max, is there one routine you could move to the morning instead? Are you trying to jam too much in? What are the time wasters?
- What calming activities do you use? Music, reading, hot tea, a walk after work – What sorts of activities help to calm your mind? Which can you do at night or early evening, even on the way home from work ?
- Check the lights. Do your curtains need to be a darker color? Do you remember to close them at night ?
Choose one and experiment with it. Keep track of how you do, and remember – progress not perfection.
If you need support, you can try my ADHD workbook charts, or if this is one of several issues you’re wrestling with, I offer a no charge introductory call for coaching possibilities. Email Sue@CoachSueWest.com or text: 603 765 9267