Getting to bed when I should is one of my biggest life struggles. For real. I am horrible, terrible at making myself get to bed on time.
It could be that I don’t finally “wake up” until about 11 pm. It could be that I hate switching gears. It could be that I am a super procrastinator. It could be oh so many things.
In the moment, I actually believe myself when I say I’ll only watch one more show. And I honestly believe myself an hour later when the next show starts and I say the same thing. And I believe myself again an hour after that.
I should definitely know better. But I don’t. I never do.
I’ve come to realize that willpower just isn’t going to cut it for me. I need strategies and tips. Real, useful strategies and tips. I need some subtle ones, and a few that will wallop me over the head. This is what I’ve come up with…
8 Tricks to Get to Bed On Time
Subtle Sleep Tips
1. Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Decide on a wake up time, and count back 7-9 hours; this should be your bedtime. Or, check out this handy-dandy sleep calculator that will do the math for you. http://sleepcalculator.com/
2. Once you have a bedtime picked, plan a night routine. As bedtime approaches you might do a quick tidy up, let the dog out one last time, make a cup of tea to bring to bed, etc. Soon, it will become a habit and you’ll feel weird if you haven’t started the routine as bedtime approaches.
3. (This one is from a friend.) When you have trouble making yourself go to bed, think about how awesome it feels to wake up after a good night’s sleep. Ask yourself if it’s worth it to stay up and lose that feeling.
…In all honesty, my late-night self does not care about my early morning self. My late-night self thinks it feels great to stay up, and is totally cool with my early morning self’s suffering. Your late-night self might be less of a jerk, so I thought I’d toss this one in.
4. No screens for at least an hour before bed. This includes TVs, laptops, cellphones, tablets, etc. Screens are stimulating, and make it harder to sleep.
Bold Sleep Tips
1. Set your computer, laptop, TV, etc. to automatically shut down at a certain time each night. Ouch, right?! Many devices have settings to make this happen. If yours don’t, put them on a cheap indoor timer.
2. Put your lights on an indoor timer that makes them dim or turn off automatically at a set time.
3. Decide when you need to start your bedtime routine, and set an alarm for that time. Put it in an inconvenient place, that forces you to get up to turn it off. This will break your focus from the task at hand, making it easier to switch gears. If needed, have multiple alarms in different areas that are set to go off 30 seconds apart.
4. Use a site like stikK to make you more accountable. You choose a goal and decide how much you’ll pay if you don’t stick to it (and who the money will go to). You also choose a referee who reports your progress. If you don’t meet your goal, your credit card will be charged the amount you decided on.
Want to make it even better? Agree to support something you hate. If there was even a chance of me chipping in towards the (hideous) camouflage recliner my husband wants, I can guarantee you my butt would be in bed EARLY each night. That’s my kind of motivation. Take that, late-night self!!!
When I look at the list I think both the Subtle Side and Hammer suggestions are important. The Subtle Side tips work on my subconscious, letting me build lasting, positive sleep habits. The Hammer strategies give my late-night self a kick in the butt, so that the Subtle Side tips actually have a chance to work.
What do you think will work best to help you get to bed on time….Subtle Side, The Hammer, or both? Tell me why in the comments below.
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