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Try One of These Nighttime Routines for a Better Morning

Try One of These Nighttime Routines for a Better Morning

Whether it is a new year or you just want to make a fresh start, improving your habits can start with your nighttime routine. Most people have a morning routine even if they don’t realize it. You may get up every morning and brush your teeth, drink a cup of coffee and grab a smoothie on your way out the door.

If this routine starts your morning on the right foot and brings you peace of mind, then slipping into a nighttime routine may be as easy. If you are living life sans any routines and feel overwhelmed, then the following nighttime routines may be just the change you should consider.

Tips for Improving Your Morning at Night

The following are 10 tips you can start this evening for a better night’s sleep and a smoother tomorrow. You don’t have to do them all — just pick one to start:

1. Spend a Few Minutes Preparing for Your Morning

The best time to prepare for a busy morning is the night before. Spend a few minutes gathering items you need for work, laying out an outfit with shoes and packing your lunch.

Having everything you need in the morning sitting near the door can relieve the early morning panic of not finding your keys.

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2. Make Your Bed Look Inviting

One of the reasons you may find it difficult to go to bed at a decent hour is because your bed does not appear inviting. Take the time to change the sheets on a regular basis and maybe add a few extra pillows to make it seem a little more luxurious.

Also, in the mornings before you get dressed, make your bed. You’ll be more excited to get into it and relax and night.

3. Review Your Top Priorities

Before winding down for the night, check your planner or calendar for your top three priorities for the next day and write them down. Reviewing them the night before reduces the risk of you forgetting something important.

It also helps keep your brain from operating in overdrive and becoming overwhelmed with a never-ending to-do list. You definitely don’t need that before bed.

4. Draw a Line between Work and Home

Making a smooth transition between your work life and your home life is easier than you may think. It could mean spending an hour at the gym working up a sweat after work before you head home in the evening. You could change from your work clothes as soon as you come home into more casual attire — or even your favorite pajamas. You can also try listening to an audiobook on your commute home or engaging in a favorite hobby before dinner.

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No matter what helps you disconnect from work, doing so will give you a break from the grind — and make your time, as well as that of those around you, more pleasant.

5. Relax With Your Family

As much as you may love your career and other responsibilities, making time to relax with your children and/or significant other before bedtime will create strong family bonds.

For example, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, leaves her office at the same time every day to ensure she makes her children a priority in her day.

6. Make Your Bedroom Device-Free

In 2014, an estimated 75% of children and 89% of adults had at least one electronic device in their bedrooms. Yikes.

Electronic devices interfere with your production of melanin, your body’s natural chemical that regulates your circadian rhythm and tells you it’s time for sleep. If you’re up until the wee hours of the morning checking your social media on your smartphone, it’s going to be hard to face the morning.

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If possible, keep your phone on the charger in another room and remove devices like the television. This keeps your room solely for sleep and intimate activities.

7. Take a Bubble Bath

One way to relax after a long and stressful day is with a bath. You can add bubble bath mix or essential oils to the water for a scented soak.

Gwyneth Paltrow swears by her nightly bathing ritual of soaking in Epsom salts and rubbing essential oils on her pressure points to help her wind down after a hectic day.

8. Reflect on Your Day by Journaling

Benjamin Franklin used to ask himself, “What good did I do today?” This question was the Founding Father’s way of reflecting on his day and on what went well and what he could do better the next day.

Assessing your day can help you keep track of where you are with your goals, and it can help you develop a deeper understanding of your thoughts and emotions. You can also take it one step further and write down what you’re grateful for. Gratitude can improve your physical and mental health as well as self-esteem — and yes, it can even help you sleep better. Win.

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9. Slip Into Another World Through Books

If you are not quite ready to slip under the sheets, consider slipping into another world through books. Many successful people, like Bill Gates and Arianna Huffington, make it a point to unwind with a good read before they hit the hay.

Whether it’s a fiction novel, a steamy romance, the newspaper or even a non-fiction book about a particular topic, reading can help your mind disconnect from the day — meaning you’ll fall asleep easier and wake up more refreshed.

10. Keep a Consistent Bedtime

Pick a bedtime and stick to it. Once your body adjusts to the new time, you will find yourself ready for bed earlier and possibly falling asleep faster.

Ready to make your mornings better? Put these tips to use and get started — tonight.

Featured photo credit: Thought Catalog via stocksnap.io

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Kayla Matthews

Productivity and self-improvement blogger

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

What is decision fatigue? Let me explain this with an example:

When determining a court ruling, there are many factors that contribute to their final verdict. You probably assume that the judge’s decision is influenced solely by the nature of the crime committed or the particular laws that were broken. While this is completely valid, there is an even greater influential factor that dictates the judge’s decision: the time of day.

In 2012, a research team from Columbia University[1] examined 1,112 court rulings set in place by a Parole Board Judge over a 10 month period. The judge would have to determine whether the individuals in question would be released from prison on parole, or a change in the parole terms.

While the facts of the case often take precedence in decision making, the judges mental state had an alarming influence on their verdict.

As the day goes on, the chance of a favorable ruling drops:

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    Image source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

    Does the time of day, or the judges level of hunger really contribute that greatly to their decision making? Yes, it does.

    The research went on to show that at the start of the day the likelihood of the judging giving out a favorable ruling was somewhere around 65%.

    But as the morning dragged on, the judge became fatigued and drained from making decision after decision. As more time went on, the odds of receiving a favorable ruling decreased steadily until it was whittled down to zero.

    However, right after their lunch break, the judge would return to the courtroom feeling refreshed and recharged. Energized by their second wind, their leniency skyrockets back up to a whopping 65%. And again, as the day drags on to its finish, the favorable rulings slowly diminish along with the judge’s spirits.

    This is no coincidence. According to the carefully recorded research, this was true for all 1,112 cases. The severity of the crime didn’t matter. Whether it was rape, murder, theft, or embezzlement, the criminal was more likely to get a favorable ruling either early in the morning, or after the judges lunch break.

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    Are You Suffering from Decision Fatigue Too?

    We all suffer from decision fatigue without even realizing it.

    Perhaps you aren’t a judge with the fate of an individual’s life at your disposal, but the daily decisions you make for yourself could hinder you if you’re not in the right head-space.

    Regardless of how energetic you feel (as I imagine it is somehow caffeine induced anyway), you will still experience decision fatigue. Just like every other muscle, your brain gets tired after periods of overuse, pumping out one decision after the next. It needs a chance to rest in order to function at a productive rate.

    The Detrimental Consequences of Decision Fatigue

    When you are in a position such as a Judge, you can’t afford to let your mental state dictate your decision making; but it still does. According to George Lowenstein, an American educator and economy expert, decision fatigue is to blame for poor decision making among members of high office. The disastrous level of failure among these individuals to control their impulses could be directly related to their day to day stresses at work and their private life.

    When you’re just too tired to think, you stop caring. And once you get careless, that’s when you need to worry. Decision fatigue can contribute to a number of issues such as impulse shopping (guilty), poor decision making at work, and poor decision making with after work relationships. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.

    How to Make Decision Effectively

    Either alter the time of decision making to when your mind is the most fresh, or limit the number of decisions to be made. Try utilizing the following hacks for more effective decision making.

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    1. Make Your Most Important Decisions within the First 3 Hours

    You want to make decisions at your peak performance, so either first thing in the morning, or right after a break.

    Research has actually shown that you are the most productive for the first 3 hours[2] of your day. Utilize this time! Don’t waste it on trivial decisions such as what to wear, or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

    Instead, use this time to tweak your game plan. What do you want to accomplish? What can you improve? What steps do you need to take to reach these goals?

    2. Form Habits to Reduce Decision Making

    You don’t have to choose all the time.

    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t have to be an extravagant spread every morning. Make a habit out of eating a similar or quick breakfast, and cut that step of your morning out of the way. Can’t decide what to wear? Pick the first thing that catches your eye. We both know that after 20 minutes of changing outfits you’ll just go with the first thing anyway.

    Powerful individuals such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg don’t waste their precious time deciding what to wear. In fact, they have been known to limiting their outfits down to two options in order to reduce their daily decision making.

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    3. Take Frequent Breaks for a Clearer Mind

    You are at your peak of productivity after a break, so to reap the benefits, you need to take lots of breaks! I know, what a sacrifice. If judges make better decisions in the morning and after their lunch break, then so will you.

    The reason for this is because the belly is now full, and the hunger is gone. Roy Baumeister, Florida State University social psychologist[3] had found that low-glucose levels take a negative toll on decision making. By taking a break to replenish your glucose levels, you will be able to focus better and improve your decision making abilities.

    Even if you aren’t hungry, little breaks are still necessary to let your mind refresh, and come back being able to think more clearly.

    Structure your break times. Decide beforehand when you will take breaks, and eat energy sustaining snacks so that your energy level doesn’t drop too low. The time you “lose” during your breaks will be made up in the end, as your productivity will increase after each break.

    So instead of slogging through your day, letting your mind deteriorate and fall victim to the daily abuses of decision making, take a break, eat a snack. Let your mind refresh and reset, and jump-start your productivity throughout the day.

    More Tips About Decision Making

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

    Reference

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