Winning The Sleep Battle: Easy Routines To Help You Sleep Better At Night

In Episode One’s podcast  we talked about the power of routines we employ for a better nights sleep and how we try to begin each day with some positive momentum. Both of us started this process separately and without talking to one another, and it’s remarkable that both results are so similar. For your benefit the routines are written below.


Jensen’s nightly routine

  • Start the process at 9:30pm (because I know I want to turn off the light at 10:30pm, because I’ve found 7 hours to be my optimal amount of sleep, and I know I have to get up at 530am)
    • All electronics/screen-time/etc. ends at least one hour before I plan to go to sleep
  • 9:30pm – 10pm – Shower and get ready for bed as well as prep things for next day (what to wear, gym bag, snack I want to bring to work, etc – this is all done at night so my morning runs on auto-pilot as much as possible)
  • 10pm – 10:30pm – Read (I generally have a couple of books going at once and often I’ll read some non-fiction first and then close with a little fiction to help turn off the mind)


Power’s evening routine

  • 8/830: we realistically have the minions down.
    • At this point we may or may not have some wine. Depends if there’s wine left over from last night.
  • Find something that’s benign and mindless. My wife scours Netflix for some sort of HGTV. Whether it’s a rehab show or House Hunters International. We keep it to about 30 mins. 
  • Power’s HGTV watching guide:
    • Nicole Curtis is hot, 
    • So is Joanna Gaines and her husband will make you laugh (sorry about the hot comment Chip),
    • and Hillary from Love It, Or List It is a saucy minx.
    • All of these shows are wife approved.  
  • During the show we stretch. Since you want to focus on the stretch, it’s good to have something mindless on the TV (hence, HGTV). 
    • Remember the wine, it’s important to hydrate when stretching.
  • After the stretch, shut down the house and head on upstairs where the magic happens (sleep).
  • Read an actual, physical book.
    • I find heavy books usually put me down after 5 pages – these books tend to be literally heavy and act like brain tranquilizers.
    • Fictional books or super engaging non-fiction books will keep me up longer. 
  • Goal is bed by 930 but realistically it always seems to be 1030. If a book is engaging, I’ll fall asleep closer to midnight but oddly I don’t feel exhausted when that happens.

Power Note:

  • Just as important here is what not’s written. I honestly, try my best to avoid the phone. Checking email and/or news headlines results in failure.
  • Violent shows result in violent dreams. Walking Dead equals dreams of the zombie apocalypse. Game of Thrones has a 50/50 chance you dream of the zombie apocalypse (white walkers) or one of Little Finger’s “establishments.” This may be worth the risk.
  • Too much booze hurts as well. And honestly, I’ve had some very good sleep when I’ve abstained from alcohol over a long period (more than 2 days).
  • Since most normal nights we usually have one wake up, the total hours sleep is usually 6 to 7 hours. But the quality of sleep is vastly improved. 

Jensen’s morning routine

  • Get up at 530am
  • Throw sweats on and go downstairs
    • I make and drink a protein shake while brewing a pot of tea
    • I prefer black teas such as Pu-erh and Masala Chai
    • I usually wait until I get to the office before having my first (of two) cups of coffee for the day
  • To help flip the “On” switch mentally, I listen to a couple of songs through wireless headphones while I brew my tea
    • An oldie but a goodie that I find eases you into the day and leaves you in good spirits ready to rock is Zeppelin’s “Over the Hills and Far Away”
  • 545am – 645am – an hour of total Jensen “flex” time (a time to be creative / productive – work on the things I want to work on)
    • This is when I might work on the podcast, think about other projects, do some writing, etc. – I’ve come to really enjoy this “me” time
  • 645-7am – Get ready for work (this can be done on an accelerated basis due to the prep (and shower) the night before) and wish the family a great day
  • 7-30am – Drive to work while listening to podcasts (my work drive is only 20 minutes so there is 10+ minutes of buffer built in here)
  • 730am – Start my work day!
  • Weekend variances
    • Personally, I really enjoy the juxtaposition between a highly structured work week and a spontaneous weekend (which I like begin as early on Friday as possible). That being said, I have two weekend routines:
    • Saturday – We sleep in, kids crawl into our bed in the morning, watch some cartoons, etc. (great way to kick off weekend)
    • Sunday – I still set alarm for 530/6am, but rather than have creative flex time in the morning, I go for a sunrise run before family gets up and moving – come back and make fun breakfast (e.g. homemade pancakes, waffles, Ebleskivers, etc)

Power’s morning routine

*Admittedly, these are more like goals. I am (firmly) not a morning person and it’s difficult for me to hit the early wake-up. That said, when I do, I am in a much better place.

  • Alarm: 530/545
  • Realistically, I drag myself out of bed at 6. But there is a major, positive difference when I’m ready before the kids are up.
  • First things first, shower time. This is as important as a cup of coffee for me. Even if I’m going to the gym. I’ll shower and take another shower after the gym.
  • Throw on casual clothes and head down stairs
  • Brew a pot of coffee (I alternate with tea; tea is better when I have fight class. Helps avoid poocidents. But my preference is coffee).
  • Fry up a ham, egg and cheese sandwich – with avocado if you got it – on an english muffin.
  • If the kids are up, make sure everyone hits the potty or gets new pants.
  • Then everyone gets to watch a show in the morning. Usually Sesame Street or Octonauts.  
    • TV gives mom and dad a minute to eat, have a sip of coffee and talk. So TV is a friend in my book. But we keep the daily TV limit low. 
  • After that, everyone gets dressed and head out the door.
  • 745 is usual departure. 
  • When I have some free time after this period, one of the first things I do is write in my gratitude journal. Just a couple of bullet points.
  • 9am is my first allotted time to respond to email. I generally glance at my phone and throw some stuff in the trash while waiting for coffee.
  • Try not to look at your phone first thing when you wake up. Remember, we’re trying to start our day on a positive note. While you’re brushing your teeth, think about the fun things yesterday rather than the shtty TPS report today. 


2 Comments on “Winning The Sleep Battle: Easy Routines To Help You Sleep Better At Night

  1. Very inspiring! If Power and Jensen can get up this early, surely I can! 😉 But how do you not check email between 8 PM and 9 AM?? Amazing.

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