Devise a Smart Bedtime Routine
Starting your day well depends on a good night's sleep and a plan for organizing things you will need for the morning. The less you need to do in the morning, the more likely you’ll get to work on time. An evening routine typically involves the following steps:
- Lay out tomorrow’s clothes, down to underwear, socks, and shoes.
- Place items and anything you’ll need to take with you on a “launch pad” — an area near the door from which you exit every day. Items might include briefcase, car keys, cell phone, purse, coat, umbrella, a grocery list, or dry-cleaning receipts.
- Prepare breakfast. Fill the coffee pot and program it to brew while you’re dressing. Place a clean coffee mug next to the coffee pot. Set the table for breakfast, putting out cereal boxes and unrefrigerated food items.
- Prepare lunch. If you brownbag it most days, make a sandwich or put a salad in an airtight container. If you will buy lunch, make sure you have enough cash to pay for it. Finally, prepare or, better yet—supervise—the preparation of children’s lunches.
- Log off the computer and shut off the TV an hour before bedtime. Studies show that watching TV or using e-mail or the Internet within an hour before turning in wakes the brain up, instead of preparing it for sleep.
- Take a hot bath or shower before getting into bed. The gradual lowering of your body temperature as you cool off helps induce sleep.
- Get kids into bed (or in their rooms reading quietly) an hour before your bedtime. Adults need to wind down and relax, without being “on duty” until their head hits the pillow.
- Make sure that your kids’ bedtime routine mirrors yours. Lay out clothes, deposit items on launch pad, bathe.
- Get into bed at least a half-hour before lights out. Read quietly, and not from a page-turner that will tempt you to stay up.
- Set the alarm to give yourself a minimum of seven hours of sleep and an hour before departure time the next morning.