In this article, I’m going to teach you how to double your energy, productivity, and fulfillment by creating a powerful bedtime routine.
- How to dramatically improve your sleep quality so you wake up energized and ready to dominate your days.
- Tips and tricks to beat late-night anxiety and insomnia for good
- Why an evening routine is even more important than a morning routine.
And much more.
If you want more energy, motivation, productivity, and success, this guide will give you the unfair advantage you’ve been looking for.
Let’s get started.
1. Use the 10-3-2-1-0 Formula to Beat High-Performance Insomnia for Good
Craig has talked a lot about his 10-3-2-1-0 formula for better sleep on Early to Rise. And with good reason.
I’ve personally used this strategy to beat onset insomnia, increase my productivity, and beat bedtime “high performance anxiety”.
Here’s how it works:
- 10 hours before bed, stop consuming caffeine
- 3 hours before bed, stop consuming alcohol
- 2 hours before bed, stop working
- 1 hour before bed, turn off all screens
- 0 is the number of times you’ll hit the snooze button
If you follow this formula, you’ll enjoy deeper sleep, greater levels of productivity, and far more energy when you wake up the following morning.
2. Use the “Triple B” Rule to Get a Dose of Bedtime Inspiration
I know a ton of high-performers who spend the last few hours of their day with their nose stuffed in a business or personal development book.
If this sounds like your average night…STOP!
Listen…educating yourself and acquiring new information is important. But as the old saying goes, “There is a time and place for everything under the sun.”
And the hours before you go to sleep are neither of these.
When you read business and personal development books right before bed, you set the gears of your mind in motion and put your brain in a frenzied and inspired state.
You stay up into the wee hours of the morning ruminating over a new idea you learned from Tony Robbins or a new business strategy you want to implement and, as great as this might sound, this habit is not conducive to a good night of rest.
Instead, I encourage you to implement the “Triple B” rule I learned from Jason Capital.
Biographies before bed.
Unlike traditional self-help or business books, biographies allow you to gain inspiration and glean important lessons while still losing yourself in the story of someone else’s life.
They’re equal parts education and relaxation that keeps your mind focused on the narrative in front of you instead of all the different ways you need to start improving your life.
Tonight, try reading a good biography for 30-minutes before you fall asleep and notice how you not only fall asleep faster, but wake up feeling more inspired and creative than ever before.
3. Rewrite and Rewire
We all know that regularly setting (and writing down) goals is an essential habit for any high-achiever.
But most of us get so lost in the chaos of our daily lives–when we’re actually trying to achieve our big goals–that we often lose sight of why we’re working so damn hard in the first place!
My friend Sharran Srivatsaa suggested a great practice that will keep your goals in the front of your mind and help you stay focused on the end game without getting lost in the weeds.
Rewrite your goals, every day, from memory.
It sounds simple, but if you will do this consistently, it’s an insanely powerful strategy that will (quite literally) rewire your brain to help you achieve the outcome you desire.
Every night, before you start reading, I encourage you to take 5 minutes to jot down your top 5 goals.
Take a few minutes to visualize yourself doing the work required to achieve them, and just as importantly, how you will feel and act when you do achieve them.
You’ll find that you’re more focused, positive, and energetic when you do.
4. Create an “Excitement List” (My Favorite Bedtime Routine Idea)
Although many experts and gurus encourage you to end your day with a nightly gratitude practice, I’ve found a different tactic that, I believe, is even more powerful.
Sure, gratitude is amazing (and there’s a ton of research proving just how effective it is).
But I prefer to use gratitude to start my day.
When bedtime strikes, my goal is to prime myself for the following morning and ensure I wake up with the energy, motivation, and enthusiasm I need to conquer my day.
And I’m assuming you feel the same way.
To accomplish this goal, I want you to try out what I call an “Excitement List”.
About 15-minutes before bed, after you’ve finished your planning and reflecting for the day (more on those in a minute), take 3-5 minutes to write down the things for which you are most excited about the following day.
What’s happening the following day that you can’t wait to take part in?
Are you finishing up a major project in your business? Visiting friends or family? Taking your spouse out for an exciting date night?
What is going on in your life about which you can get excited?
If you can’t think of anything off the top of your head, that’s fine. Think of the small things that make your days amazing.
Are you looking forward to the taste of freshly brewed coffee early the next day? To waking up and having an hour of uninterrupted silence during which you can work on your book? To reading that new book you just purchased?
When you create an emotional state of excitement about your day–believing that you get to wake up and pursue your dreams, not that you have to wake up and pursue your dreams–you will leap out of bed with an energy and enthusiasm like you’ve never experienced before.
So if you want to be more productive, start by getting more excited.
5. Take a Cold Shower (60 minutes before bedtime)
If you’ve paid any attention to the health and biohacking industries over the past few years, then you’ve undoubtedly come across a practice known as cold-therapy.
And yes, it’s exactly like it sounds (and it’s even more miserable than it sounds!)
For the sake of high-performance and happiness, you subject yourself to the icy blasts of either a cold shower or ice bath for 10-15 minutes a day and enjoy:
- Increased fat loss
- Decreased inflammation
- Improved nervous system function
- Faster injury recovery
And most importantly (for our purposes at least), improved sleep quality.
In fact, a recent Dutch study showed that individuals who lowered the temperature of their skin through cold therapy achieved more than double the restorative slow wave sleep of their warm and cozy peers.
If you can suffer through 10-15 minutes of misery, you can literally 2X the quality of your sleep tonight!
Here’s how you do it…
First, about two hours before you plan to sleep, start lowering your thermostat down to 65-67 F.
Then, no less than 60-minutes before bed, take either a 10-minute cold shower or a 10-minute ice bath.
Combine this tactic with a shot of apple cider vinegar and a TBSP of raw honey to experience what Tim Ferriss referred to as, “being shot with an elephant tranquilizer.”
6. Practice “Yogic Inversion” Right Before Bedtime
Unless you ardently alternate between sitting, standing, and walking while you work, you likely end your workday feeling stiff, achy, and tight.
And sure, in a perfect world, you could end your day with an hour of restorative yoga, a nice massage, and maybe a quick chiropractic adjustment.
But most of us don’t have that kind of time in the evening.
Instead, I encourage to take just 10-minutes to hit a few poses targeting your tightest muscle groups (you can find a great 10-minute routine from Mike Matthews of Muscle for Life here).
After you’ve stretched out your tight muscles and relaxed into the evening, you’re going to do something a little weird and get upside down.
Inversion, or the practice of elevating your feet above your body has a whole host of research-based benefits from:
- Reduced chronic back pain
- Reduced need for surgery
- Increased flexibility
- Improved spinal health
And, anecdotally, far better sleep.
You can do this in one of three ways.
- Buy an inversion table (the most expensive and most effective)
- Have someone base you in an acro-yoga pose (free, but challenging)
- Prop your feet up against the wall and just lay there (easy and free!)
If you struggle with onset insomnia as I do–e.g. Tossing and turning completely unable to get comfortable–this simple practice will work wonders.
You’ll fall into bed feeling far more relaxed and decompressed and find that you can easily get comfortable and fall asleep.
7. Plan the Following Work Day
Failing to plan is planning to fail.
You’ve heard this old adage time and time again on Instagram, Facebook, this site, and countless other sources.
But let me ask you. Are you implementing it?
Do you set aside 10-15 minutes every single night (even on the weekends) to plan your following day so you can wake up knowing exactly what must be accomplished and why?
If you begin your day without a plan–even if you plan first thing in the morning–you are already behind.
Set aside 10-15 minutes each night to write down your top priorities for the following day and schedule your biggest meetings.
Better yet, use this 7×7 grid every Sunday morning to plan out your Perfect Week and then simply review and revise the plan each night before bed.
Try this tactic for 30 days and I promise you’ll never go back.
For more on bedtime planning, be sure to check out Craig’s video below where he’ll walk you through the three MOST important things you should do each night to wake up and dominate your days.
8. Do Something You Love (The Ultimate Evening Routine Idea)
All too often high-performers and entrepreneurs become so focused on making a living they forget to make a life.
They spend all of their time planning, executing, and turning their big goals into reality they forget to step back from it all and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
But life is meant to be lived, not hustled away.
So my challenge to you is simple.
Every night set aside 60 minutes before you begin your bedtime routine to do something you love.
Whether it’s playing the guitar, reading a good book, spending quality time with your spouse, or calling a close friend, do something every single night that you love.
Reward yourself for your hard work and invest in your rest and recovery.
I promise, it will pay dividends in your performance and productivity.
9. The #1 Thing You MUST Eliminate from Your Bedtime Routine
One of the most common mistakes that nearly every individual in the Western world makes on a daily basis is the consumption of “superstimuli” in the hours before bed.
A superstimulus is exactly what it sounds like. It’s an activity that is highly stimulating to the brain (or body) and makes it difficult for you to switch off and go to bed.
Social media, video games, violent television, porn, dopamine-producing phone game (like CandyCrush), and even listening to certain types of music create a rush of dopamine that hijacks your sleep and prevents you from getting the rest you need.
Although they might seem innocuous, those 15-minutes you spent scrolling through epic photos and funny memes on Instagram are jacking up your brain and putting your mind into a heightened state.
Humans did not evolve to handle the sensory overload to which we’re subjected on a daily basis.
Luckily, the solution is simple.
Two hours before bed, turn off all of your electronics.
Spend time doing only those things that relax and restore your mind and body.
Avoid stimulating your mind in unnatural ways and give your brain a chance to reset and turn off after a long day of work.
You might find this challenging at first, but I promise, if you will stick it out for a few weeks, you’ll wonder how you ever lived any differently.
10. Reflect, Recalibrate, and Renew
A hallmark characteristic of high-achievers is future orientation.
Simply put, we are focused on where we are going, not where we’ve been.
And this is a good thing. It prevents us from falling prey to guilt, shame, and regret and allows us to focus all of our mental and emotional energy on moving forward instead of wishing we could change something in the past.
However, this tendency often leads entrepreneurs to ignore one of the most important habits for peak performance.
At the end of your day, take a few minutes to review the past 24 hours.
How did the day go? What went well? What could have gone better? What challenges and obstacles arose that you didn’t anticipate? How could you mitigate those in the future?
This simple habit will allow you to gain invaluable insight into your performance and problems and help you cultivate greater self awareness around the ways in which you are showing up.
More importantly, this habit will allow you to make those tiny 1% improvements and adjustments that lead to massive results in the long term.
You can identify your sticking points, uncover your strengths, and find unique ways to prevent problems from happening in the future.
11. Use Brain Entrainment to Fall Asleep Faster
One of the more interesting habits I’ve discovered in recent months for improved sleep, performance, and productivity is something called brainwave entrainment. Which is accomplished through the use of binaural beats.
And while I won’t dive deep into the science (you can check that out here if you’re interested), binaural beats have been rigorously researched and proven to grant numerous cognitive benefits from:
- Decreased anxiety
- Improved focus and attention
- Improved memory
- Pain reduction
- Improved sleep quality
And a whole lot more.
Executing on this habit is simple.
For those of you who struggle to fall asleep while wearing headphones or earbuds (as I do), use a free binaural beat track like this one or this one and complete a 10-15 minute meditation session right before bed.
This will help you “tune” the frequency of your brain waves to a channel that is more conducive to sleep–namely theta or delta brain waves.
Or, if you can use a device like this one and plug in a 7.5 hour track to keep your brain waves optimized for deep sleep and recovery all night long.
12. Close the Open Loops and Enjoy the Best Night of Sleep You’ve Ever Had
Your brain is very similar to computer.
And like a computer, if you have a million open tabs and programs whirring and buzzing in the background, it won’t matter that you hit the ‘sleep’ button. Your brain will still be attempting to run those programs and discover the solution to those open loops.
To end your day and ensure you have the most restful night of sleep possible, take a few minutes at the end of each day to close off any open loops with a nightly brain dump.
While you are completing your planning, reflection, and excitement list, take a few minutes to write down all of the things that are bogging down your subconscious.
From doctor’s visits you forgot to schedule to lightbulbs that need replaced to taxes that need filed, write down anything and everything that’s on your mind and then…
… Let it go.
Either schedule a time during which you will complete each task or cross it off your list, mentally dismissing it and giving yourself permission to let it fall by the wayside.
And then prepare for some of the best sleep of your life and one of the most productive days you’ve ever had.
Conclusion: Which Evening Routine Idea Will YOU Try?
There you have it!
12 quick and easy bedtime routine ideas that will double your energy, productivity, and motivation.
Now over to you.
Which of these tactics are you going to try first? Are there any that I left off the list?
Let me know in the comments below.
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