How to reach a healthy sleeping routine to wake up energized and ready for the day ahead

In a previous article, I’ve talked about why a morning routine can help you start your day with energy and good vibes, allowing you to have a productive day. It’s all about putting yourself first and run the day with that mindset. Still, to make the most of your mornings, having a good night’s sleep is essential, and reaching that healthy sleeping routine is what we’ll tackle in the following lines.   

Of course, many of us find it hard to wake up in the morning. We’re feeling tired and sleepy and keen to just stay in bed a little longer instead of facing all the tasks we need to deal with during the day. Most of these problems, though, come from the same “root cause”: we’re not sleeping enough, and our sleep quality is terrible. Except for insomnia or some medical problems, the cause of poor sleep is that we’re not following a thorough sleep discipline.  

I know what happens. You’re watching a movie till late, you’re out with friends (well, maybe, less of that during lockdown), the kid is refusing to go to sleep, or… (happy days!) you chat on your phone with your lover. You lose track of time as the thrill keeps you awake till late hours.   

There are many reasons why you don’t go to sleep before very late. Therefore you wake up as late as you possibly can, hitting the snooze button as many times as possible. When you finally get out of bed, you feel tired, and your energy level is super low. You dread all the activities waiting for you next and think you can’t wait for the evening to come, promising yourself you’ll go to bed early this time. I’m sure we all know this feeling!  

Now, of course, if you want to change that, you can. You’ll need some discipline, but if you change your mindset and put yourself first, it will come in handy and easy. Ready to find out how to sleep well every night and have the energy you need and want for the day?  

Switch to a simple sleeping routine  

On average, our body needs 7 hours of sleep every night to function normally, have the energy required to perform, and keep an overall healthy lifestyle. You can organize your sleeping routine starting with this time frame in mind.  

The first step would be to decide what time you want to wake up in the morning. We’ll aim to train the body to wake up at the same hour every morning, even on weekends. Every time we manage to turn something into a habit, it will become easier to follow. That’s why training the body to wake up every day at the same hour will only make our sleeping routine a long-term sustainable change.  

Once you have the wake-up time set up, count back 7 hours to get the time you should be asleep. Let’s say, for example, that you want to wake up every day at 7 in the morning. That means you should be already asleep at midnight.  

Now, a personal note. It might be a myth or real science, but I think it is healthy to sleep at least one hour before midnight, that is, latest, 11 pm. Based on my sleep analysis (I have a watch that tracks my sleeping phases), my most in-depth sleep phase is just around midnight. Hence, my routine is going to sleep before 11 pm and waking up at 6 am every morning. I do this now for more than 5 years, with no difficulties at all.   

I know you might have trouble falling asleep as you don’t feel sleepy, so you end up spending time in front of a TV just waiting for the sleep to come in. Well… to fall asleep, an essential thing to do is to tune out technology at least one hour before the time you should be sleeping already. That means you need to turn off the TV and the movie you’re watching, ignore your phone, stop browsing Facebook or Instagram and definitely stop chatting with your friends over texts or messages.  

By doing so, you have one hour free of technology and the blue light keeping your brain alert. That’s precisely the time needed for your mind to actually rest and get into a sleeping mood. You don’t have to just sit there and do nothing for one hour. You can read a book (ideally a paper book, not a tablet), write a journal, meditate, talk to your roommate or partner, drink water or your favorite tea, craft something or… do any relaxing activity you wish that doesn’t include technology.  

The picture below sums up very well what your body needs before sleep (or mostly, what it doesn’t need) so that you can quickly achieve your own personal sleeping routine. 

Infographic by Jan Diehm for The Huffington Post 

It may take one hour in the beginning. Still, after a few days, you’ll see that as soon as your brain has a technology break and starts relaxing over a book or a chat, sleep will install easily. You’ll enjoy an excellent night’s rest. We call this a pre-sleep routine. With time, this routine will trigger the brain to relax and go to sleep very fast! It’s a very efficient way to fall asleep, sleep well, and wake up fresh and energetic.  

Some reasons to wake up early  

I learned to wake up at 6:00 am every morning – I’ve trained my body and brain to do so without much effort now. I admit the most challenging part is actually getting out of the bed, especially during winter when there’s still dark outside and maybe a little cold in the room.  

But once I hit the bathroom and splash some water on my face, and then get to sip from a fresh, amazingly smelling coffee – everything looks so much better, and I feel good. I have the energy to do the things I love doing. I also have the time to do them before I have to start my day job (where I also love the things I am doing, but that’s another story).  

My mornings are me-time. Before my boyfriend wakes up, hunger kicks in, the dog wants a walk, etc. My time is to read, write, sew, get creative or do anything my soul wants to be doing just for me. It’s putting myself first.  

From my personal experience, waking up early in the morning is possible for anyone, if:  

  • You sleep at least 7 hours every night, needed for your body and mind to rest and regenerate.  
  • When the alarm goes on, you wake up, go out of bed, stretch, have coffee or tea, or whatever helps you feel awake completely. Hitting the snooze button is absolutely out of the question!  
  • You have some excellent reasons to wake up, like having something exciting to do, something you really look forward to doing. Anything you don’t have the time for once the crazy day starts.  

It’s wrong to believe a sleeping routine will work on its own – it needs to be connected to a life routine or habits that will allow you to keep going and feeling well.  

I choose to have the morning and first hours of the day for me and my personal development and discovery because this is the time of the day when my brain is most rested. I have great ideas and the best energy level. As I really believe that I am the most important person in the world to me, I choose to allocate the best time of the day for it.  

Think about it from a different angle as well. After spending 8 hours at work, dealing with lots of people and tasks and strategies and solving problems, you feel drained. I feel dead. All I want is to enjoy a good dinner, relax, spend time with my dear ones and just… do nothing… well, maybe the gym, but that’s still not requiring much from my brain.  

So, here’s what you can do right now: 

Think about when you have the most energy. 

Think how much you’d like to sleep and when to go to bed to be able to wake up at the same time every day. 

Find out what drives you to wake up happy every morning and commit to doing so starting as soon as you put your mind to it. 

You know now how to trick your mind into falling asleep and waking up – but it’s you who needs to put them in practice and reach your desired life and sleeping routine.  

It’s really up to you to find your balance. That’s really all you need to do to sleep well, be in a good mood all day, and eventually, accomplish something (can be big or really small) you are really proud of.