Morning habits are important for young entrepreneurs who want to achieve maximum success in school, business, and life. But what about the evenings? Are there ways to optimize the end of your day? Short answer: yes!
Just as your morning routine helps you prepare for the day ahead, a good evening routine will help you relax, settle down, and get quality sleep. This is called sleep hygiene, and it’s just as important to your health and well-being as eating well and engaging in physical activity.
The benefits of a good night’s sleep include:
- A stronger immune system
- Less risk for serious health complications like diabetes and heart disease
- Less stress
- Improved mood
- More powerful brain activity during the day
- More alert = less chance of accidents
Teens need about 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night. Easier said than done, right? The circadian rhythm of a teenager combined with the demands of a school schedule makes it a challenge to get the sleep you need. That’s why we’ve compiled some of the best advice for creating good sleep hygiene. Don’t worry about making lots of big changes overnight (pun intended). Focus on one or two things you can try tonight and go from there.
MOVE AROUND DURING THE DAY
You don’t need to run yourself ragged to get a good night’s sleep; you’re not a toddler. But do try to expel some energy during the day to make room for sleep at night. Before you wind down for the night, try going for a walk, doing some yoga, or just stretching your body a little bit.
LET GO OF YOUR DAY
School is over. Your chores and tasks are done. Everything else can wait until tomorrow. It’s time to let go of your day.
If thoughts of everything you need to do tomorrow keep you from relaxing, make a list and set it aside. Check tomorrow’s calendar so you aren’t tossing and turning trying to remember what you have to do when you wake up.
Today is done. Tomorrow will be a new day. For now, though, it’s nighttime and that means letting go.
CREATE A BUFFER
Even the most relaxed person on earth would probably have trouble jumping right into bed and falling asleep. And we know that high-achieving young entrepreneurs are far from the most relaxed people on earth! That’s ok. A regular wind-down routine signals to your mind and body that the day has ended and it’s time to power down.
This should not be a long routine, but it should be enough to act as a buffer between your daily life and going to bed. Some ideas for winding down:
- Turn down the lights around you
- Turn down the volume of your music or the tv
- In fact, turn off all your electronics
- Take a warm shower
- Avoid caffeine three hours before bedtime
- Avoid heavy foods an hour before bedtime
- Listen to calm, soothing music
- Read or listen to a non-school book
- Sit comfortably and do a short meditation
STICK TO A ROUTINE
Sleep hygiene is most successful when it’s done every night around the same time. Plan to stick to a bedtime within the same 15-minute window. Through repetition and the wind-down signals listed above, your mind and body will learn to anticipate going to sleep.
BEDS ARE FOR SLEEPING
We know this can be tough for teens, especially if you live in a crowded home where you don’t get much privacy. But try to reserve your bed for sleeping. No homework, no scrolling through TikTok. Definitely no eating in bed! If you can, get a separate desk and chair for doing homework or something comfy to sit in when you’re on your phone. Once again, this is a signal to your mind and body that when you lay down in your bed, it’s time for sleep and nothing else.
TRY TO AVOID NAPS
Isn’t it ironic that the people who hate naps the most – little kids – are really the only people who actually need them? The older we get, the more we appreciate those sweet little bits of sleep during the day. For busy young entrepreneurs like you, naps may be super tempting. But filling up your sleep tank during the day might keep you from sleeping at night.
That said, being too tired during the day isn’t good, either. Training your body to run on adrenaline and caffeine can become a habit that follows you into bed at night. For those times when you really can’t function during the day, keep your nap short (20 minutes or less). Naps, when necessary, should feel refreshing and not leave you groggy.
CREATE THE RIGHT SLEEP ENVIRONMENT
None of the rest of this advice matters if your sleep environment keeps you from getting those all-important zzz’s. The ideal sleep environment means:
- Cool but not too cold
- A cozy, heavy blanket
- A pillow designed for your sleep style
- Darkness (use a sleep mask if you need one)
- Quiet, white noise, or earplugs
Your bed should be a sanctuary of peace, quiet, and calm. It should be somewhere you enjoy going to at the end of the day. Ask your parent or guardian if it’s possible to get you soft, quality sheets. Hot sleepers should look for sheets that stay cool; cold sleepers might try flannel sheets. Consider a gel or foam mattress cover to make your bed even comfier.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE GOAL: SLEEP
We all wake up during the night sometimes. It’s totally normal. If you need to use the bathroom, use it. If you need water, have some. If you’re cold, get another blanket.
Remember, though, that your goal is to go back to sleep. When you wake up during the night, avoid:
- Eating, especially sugary foods
- Picking up a device or going online (unless it’s to do a meditation or turn on soothing music)
- Turning on lights
- Starting a task
Anything you do when you wake up should eliminate whatever needs to be taken care of with the intention of going back to sleep as soon as possible.
With a few simple changes to your evenings, even YOU can train yourself to get that deep, quality sleep you need to be a massive entrepreneurial superstar!
The Kantner Foundation awards college scholarships to young entrepreneurs in Florida. Click here to learn more and apply.