A great day starts with a great night…or more specifically, with a great night time routine.
Let me explain.
If you wake up and before you do work of any kind you have to pack your bag, pick what clothes you’re going to wear, make lunch for the day, respond to emails from the night before…you see where this is going.
Basically you’re rushing around and the chances are you’re going to forget something, get to work/school/wherever, realise you’ve left something you shouldn’t have and your day is off to an almighty stinker.
Compare this to if the night before, you had a solid night time routine in place. You had gotten an outfit ready and hung it on the back of your door, made your lunch for the following day, responded to all your emails, got to bed before midnight to ensure a rejuvenating sleep and all you have to do when you wake up is roll out of bed, shower, brush your teeth, throw your clothes on and head out the door.
Which situation sounds like a better start to the day?
Sleep is the most fundamental step you should be addressing in your quest towards increasing your testosterone levels with studies showing that every hour of seep lost results in a corresponding decrease in testosterone.
If this isn’t reason enough to take your sleep seriously then how about this study that has shown those who regularly get less than the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night tend to have a higher mortality rate than their Zzz-collecting counterparts.
Enter, The Man Blueprint night time routine
Enough of the studies and more of what you should be doing. Below is the ideal night time routine that will see you dozing off in no time and being completely prepared for the day ahead, ready to seize whatever comes your way.
No screens for at least an hour before bed
The blue light emitted from electrical screens such as phones and laptops messes up your body’s natural clock and decreases melatonin secretion which is imperative to a good night’s sleep – so just switch off an hour before you plan to go to bed and you’re good to go. This is the best way to start a night time routine as it allows you to concentrate on everything else with no distractions from your phone.
Read a book for around 30 minutes
This helps to relax your mind and gives you a chance to practice learning new ideas whilst maybe giving you some inspiration (especially if you opt for non-fiction).
Do some yoga or work on your posture
This is another way of relaxing your mind (see a theme here?) and your body. I suggest this a yoga routine as a way of limbering up and getting ready for sleep. You can also work on posture – here is my favourite routine for a much more powerful stance.
The importance of powerful posture has been identified in much research but Amy Cuddy and her now world-famous TED talk puts it perfectly, highlighting how simply appearing more powerful can skyrocket your testosterone in minutes (yes, minutes). See below for her explanation.
Shoulder dislocations and foam rolling
I use a resistance band to do 15 dislocations every night and every morning to keep my shoulders mobile and flexible and since doing them, I have noticed a marked improvement in my posture and reduction in any aches in my rotator cuff or shoulder area in general.
As for foam rolling, we all know how much it hurts but using them is a fantastic way to relax the body and increase your performance.
This links to the example given at the beginning of this article. Get your lunch cooked, get your bag packed, do whatever you need to do to be ready for the day ahead and you’ll thank yourself when 7am comes knocking.
This could be done morning or night (or both) but basically, write down whatever is on your mind – What are you grateful for? What are your worries? What do you want to accomplish in the near and distant future?
Anything on your mind, get it down. The only rule is keep it to under 5 minutes, then close it and forget about it, this helps keep your mind clear and happy. Click here to see why and how to keep a journal in more depth.
Make a to-do list
Is there anything better than ticking something off a to-do list? The answer to that is obviously no. Make a list of what needs to be done the following day and this will give your day a sense of purpose and keep you focused. If you take anything from this list – this is it.
Cold (or as cold as you can handle) shower
All your thoughts have now been spilled on to pages, get in the shower and forget about everything. Having a hot shower before bed is actually detrimental to sleep as your body has to cool itself back down to optimal sleeping temperature and this will keep you awake unnecessarily. Take it down a few degrees and you’ll feel fresh but ready for sleep.
If you are really serious about being able to empty your mind and want to increase your productivity, self-control and overall well-being then meditate for at least 5 minutes every night. Meditating can decrease cortisol and increase testosterone while lowering stress and a whole host of other mental issues – do it. Here is a video on how to meditate, give it a go for 2 weeks and see the difference.
Get into bed and concentrate on your breathing
This follows on from meditation, lie down and concentrate on deep breathing. This will allow you to control unnecessary thoughts and help you drift off seamlessly, ready to attack the next day feeling refreshed.
Keep your room cold. Many studies have proven that a lower room temperature is optimal for sleep as being too hot will make you uncomfortable and disturbs sleep, possibly messing up your circadian rhythm. Just keep your window ajar and you’re probably in the ball park for the ideal temperature – plus, this lets in fresh air which is ideal for relieving a stuffy atmosphere.
Bonus Tip #2
Sleep naked. Being naked in bed has been shown to much more beneficial to increased sperm count and testicular health than sleeping in heat-inducing tight boxers or pyjamas. If that isn’t reason enough to ditch the Spongebob PJ’s then I don’t know what is.