We find comfort in the habits that we develop in our lives. A warm drink in the morning or a familiar route we collect many routines over time. I decided to reboot my morning recently . It was time to reorder my life for optimal performance. It started with going to bed early.

I had noticed that I had developed a habit of staying up till midnight. I had some good reasons to be up so late but sometimes I was just wasting a lot of time. So I committed to being in bed by 10:30 so I could get great sleep and feel better in the morning. The first night I didn’t get to bed when I wanted but it was before midnight. The next night was earlier, and I started to develop a ritual of getting ready around 9. It was a challenge at first, but I had felt so good in the morning that I wanted to feel that good again and my motivation was locked in.

My focus is better when I get enough rest. My body feels better from the day before both physically and mentally. I had read a study that looked at college athletes’ performance and sleep. There was a direct correlation between the amount of rest they had and their performance. When you stop and think about it, it makes sense. More rest means better recovery, less fatigue, and the body is able to repair itself. It’s not rocket science and most parents can tell you their children do better if they get a good amount of sleep. As adults though, even as parents who can predict the behaviors of our children when they don’t get the sleep they need, we still struggle to take proper care of ourselves.

Part of the struggle is the things we have allowed to slowly become the norm in our lives. Watching television or movies late at night interrupts the body’s ability to go into rest mode. If those shows are exciting, then our body may still have adrenaline and though we may be able to lay down and fall asleep that sleep can be restless due to all the stimulation prior to laying down. There are many ways to achieve good rest, but studies are conclusive that watching shows before bed interrupt the natural sleep cycle and make it less productive for us. It’s not the story that we are engaged in as much as it is the technology. The brain goes into zombie mode when watching and is subjected to all the stimuli that is presented. The brain does not differentiate between shows we watch and reality and the brain reacts to the imagery and events as if they are happening in real life. This shock and awe of stimulation and emotion create a cocktail of restless sleep or difficulty falling asleep. This disruption in turn creates other habits like drinking alcohol or taking drugs to help the sleep process along. Shows are not the only culprit, but they are an easy win on your way to your best life. Pull the plug an hour or two before bed and pick up a good book. The addiction to the routine of stimuli before bed may be uncomfortable to break at first but you can develop better long-term routines that enhance your life rather than create more resistance for yourself.  If you want your best life, start creating it and take the simple step of getting better rest to fast track your way there.