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Part 2: How to Become a Morning Person

Zoe Mittman, LSW

You might be wondering, why is part 2 of this blog called “How to Become a Morning Person”, if I am going to focus on the importance of an evening routine? The purpose of this blog is to not get you to stay up later, but rather to explore how an evening routine sets you up for the next day.

Evening routines are twofold – you can decompress from the current day while preparing yourself to have a good night’s sleep, which then leads to how you feel in the morning. You deserve to take care of yourself – this includes unwinding after the workday and getting enough sleep. I want you to ask yourself: Why did you decide to read or listen to this blog in the first place? What is telling you that there needs to be some sort of change? What are you hoping to get out of an evening routine? 

Unpacking the motives behind our desire to change is just as important as the action steps themselves. Self-awareness is a crucial part of personal growth. The answers to the aforementioned questions are limitless. The act of establishing an evening routine just because is quite uncommon. Whether conscious or unconscious, our actions have motives. There is some reason for wanting to make a change, whether you can verbally express it or not.

Do you look at a bright screen before bed? This includes TV, scrolling on your phone, playing Xbox and much more. If so, then you might want to consider how this is impacting your sleep habits and the quality of your sleep. I’m going to pause and switch from the discussion of self-awareness to the science behind the negative impacts of light before bed.

Research has shown that when light enters the eye, cells in the retina send this information to our brains, which then determine what time of day it is. Signals are then sent from our brains to our bodies. Our bodies now function like it is daytime. Essentially, bright light tells you when it is time to be awake and alert. If you wake up to natural light in the morning, your internal alarm clock (circadian rhythm), tells you that it’s time to wake up and start your day. With that being said, despite it being dark outside, the bright screen tells your body when you’re lying in bed at night, that it is time to be awake. Your brain and body are not given the chance to shut off before bed, and this, in turn, impacts your quality of sleep, and the next day.

Here are some steps you can take to form an evening routine. Make your home cozy. This might include candles, blankets, or lamps. The vibe of your room sets the tone for the night. With a clean room and a calming ambiance, your body understands the cue that it is time to relax. What can you do once the room is peaceful? I encourage you to explore what works best for you. Some activities that immediately come to my mind are: read a book, listen to music, and journaling. Don’t give up if you have not found your cup of tea. It is totally okay and normal to try out different evening routines. You will find what works for you. We are all human and learning from our mistakes or what doesn’t work is part of life. Nobody is perfect and it is actually necessary to engage in trial and error. This process increases self-awareness – it can teach you something about yourself that you never knew was possible. 

Yes, routines are meant to be utilized more often than not. They are meant to become habitual, automatic routines. However, that is not to say that you won’t miss a day. When you are in the process of establishing your evening routine, be kind to yourself. If you skip a day, it is okay. You are strong. You are human. One step back can bring you many steps forward. For example, let’s say you don’t engage in your evening routine one day because you’re simply too tired from work and just want to lay on the couch and order food (that happens to most of us!). How did you feel in the morning? What were you thinking? If you noticed a difference, that is a key aspect of motivation. You may feel more inspired to get back on track, while also giving yourself that love and compassion. 

Now to tie parts 1 and 2 together – what you do before bed impacts your quality of sleep, which then impacts how you’re functioning the next day. It is like the domino effect.

If you are interested in personal growth, morning and evening routines are a great place to start. Furthermore, therapy is a safe space for you to explore what personal growth looks like to you, your values, and your intrinsic motivation to change. 

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/bedroom-environment/light-and-sleep

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