nastia_liukin_routine_gymnastFor some, waking up early is hard AF. Maybe you stayed up late working, or maybe you were finishing just one more episode of your new favorite Netflix show—we’ve all been there. I feel like it’s just as hard to fall asleep as it is to jump out of bed in the morning! Especially when we have our phones lighting up from Instagram notifications, our latest YouTube binge playing in the background, and our mind racing on what we have to do tomorrow. Oh, and don’t get me started on waking up on a cold morning. IM-POSS-IBLE. I value my sleep more than anything. Whether that means performing my best in the gym or in meetings, I need to feel like I’m on my A-game.

Since I’m not always home, it’s harder to follow the same nighttime routine, so I’ve workshopped what works best to help me relax before bed – no matter what situation I’m in. And, spoiler alert, it includes not looking at my phone or watching a TV show! Here are my top tips I use to unwind and unplug before heading to bed!

1. Put my phone on “Do Not Disturb”
You can turn your phone over and pretend you don’t care if that boy texted you or what your BFF’s are chatting about in your group text, but you know you want to check. It’s hard to ignore our phones, especially at the end of the day when you want to check up on all social media and group chats you’ve missed at work. I use the “do not disturb” feature on my iPhone to help resist picking my phone up everytime it buzzes. Once you unplug, you can finally start to relax for bed!

2. Create a to-do list for tomorrow
If you have a busy day ahead and you can’t stop thinking about the 4,763 things you have to do, write them down. I like to call this a “top to-do list.” I’ll write down the top 5-10 things I must do tomorrow. It helps me prioritize and organize my thoughts, and it allows me to almost “let them go” until the next day. I can rest easy knowing that I won’t forget anything because I’ve brain-dumped my thoughts onto a piece of paper or my iPhone notes. Plus, in the long run, I’ll spend my energy on those primary tasks that need attention first, which allows me to use my time more efficiently!

3. Light a candle in your favorite scent
Ah, the power of the candle. This is my favorite trick because a repeated scent can actually train your brain that it’s time to relax for bed. Ever heard of Pavlov’s dogs? I’ll instantly get in the mindset that I need to unwind and slow it down when I light my favorite scent.

4. Take a hot bath
In a perfect world, every day would end with a bath, do you feel me? Whether your mentally or physically stressed, a bath is so soothing and restorative, it’s a miracle worker! Try adding magnesium salts to help your muscles recover + adding some essential oils like lavender to help your mind know it’s time to bed.

5. Turn down the light + turn off the TV
I know this one is tough, but the strong blue light from our computer, TV, and phone screens actually have the reverse effect on our brains when it comes to falling asleep. These lights can boost our attention and mood, doing the opposite of what we need at the end of the day! I recommending researching more on the side effects of using screens before bed!