Sleep better at night with a morning routine
Updated: Mar 21, 2020
I want to talk about how a morning routine can actually help you sleep better at night. Now I know that sounds a little crazy that what you do in the morning might help you sleep at night. But it’s true that what we do all day long determines how well we sleep that night.
Most of the reasons why people can’t sleep is because of our modern lifestyle. We’re stressed when we wake up in the morning and go, go, go until it's time to fall into bed at night. So our stress level is very high all day long.
If you've been listening to me at all you know that I talk a lot about cortisol, our stress hormone. Our cortisol levels should be high first thing in the morning because that’s what helps us wake up and stay alert throughout the day. But if our cortisol levels are really high and out of the normal range and if that's happening first thing in the morning then they’re just going to stay elevated all day long unless you do something to manage it. So that's why I like to start off the day at a lower stress level so that you aren't setting yourself up for being stressed all day long.
I got into a morning routine when I read Hal Elrod’s book the Miracle Morning a little over a year ago and I’ve been doing it ever since. He recommends waking up early and going through this routine with these six steps which I'll get into in a minute. But the purpose is to start your day off in a positive and motivating way.
So in October of 2018 I did his 30-day challenge where I committed to doing my Miracle Morning every day for 30 days. (Now I make lots of changes by committing to 30 days and then seeing if it works for me.) It made such a difference in my stress levels and patience and outlook on life that I've been doing it ever since!
So what he recommends in the miracle morning are six activities that he made into the acronym SAVERS.
S: silence or meditation
S: scribing or journaling
Before I started this I would literally wake up when I heard my son crying. Then I would jump up out of bed and go get him. And so I started my day in a place of stress.
So I started taking this time to wake up a little bit earlier for my morning routine. Now the one thing I disagree with Hal about is sacrificing sleep because I do think that it's important to get the sleep we need (big surprise there, right?!). So it just meant that I had to go to bed by 10:00pm and wake up at 6:00/ 6:30am to get the sleep I need. Since my son wakes up around 7:00/ 7:30am then I have thirty minutes to an hour to myself to do my morning routine.
So you can imagine the difference from jumping out of bed rushing to take care of my son to having this time to myself to start my day to reflect. Then when he wakes up I’m really excited to see him and coming from a place of calm and relaxation instead of stress.
I've made my own version of the miracle morning routine. I do a lot of what Hal recommends but we also have to adapt it to what works for us. So I get up and I go walk the dog. I count that as my exercise even though I get “real” exercise later on in the day. But I still think it does help to get moving and get your blood flowing. While I'm walking the dog I say my affirmations for my financial, business and personal goals. Then I come back inside and I sit down and meditate for about five or ten minutes depending on how much time I have. Then I do some visualizations. Next I sit down and I write down five things I'm grateful for and my goals as well. So the only thing I really don't do is reading in the morning because I read at night and I don't have time to do it in the morning. Like I said, I’ve made a version that works for me (and I think Hal would approve).
Doing these things in the morning has literally changed my life. It's changed who I am: I’ve become much more positive, I’m much more grateful and I'm much more motivated to keep doing the work I’m doing. It's also made me feel less stressed during the day so that I sleep better at night.
I tend to just do my morning routine on the weekdays. I don't always do it on the weekends and there's sometimes on the weekdays when I don't get to do it. But I can tell a big difference on the days I don’t do it so it keeps me motivated. Sometimes my son wakes up early and so I don't get to do it first thing in the morning. If that happens then I take the time to do it once I drop him off at school before I start working.
I hope that this helps and that maybe this will motivate you to start your own morning routine. Even just getting up ten minutes early or taking ten minutes first thing in the morning to have this relaxing time and not checking your phone immediately will make a difference. Making sure to keep your stress levels low first thing in the morning can really help you keep your cortisol levels lower throughout the day. Then you’re less likely to have elevated cortisol levels at night which will suppress melatonin and keep you from sleeping.
One of my clients thought that implementing a morning routine made the biggest difference in her sleep, more than anything else we did. So it works! Try it out and let me know how it works for you.