Routines can be boring and by nature are repetitive. Predictability dampens enthusiasm. Nothing has hammered this point home harder than COVID-19. Life became Groundhog Day under quarantine, and we fell into set routines.
I keep seeing advice on the best morning routines and why successful people need them, and it got me down. Until I did research and found a method that worked for me. I have scrapped all daily routines and have become much happier as a result.
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WebMD states things around you like light, pets, or the temperature can make it hard to stay asleep as you move between sleep stages. They suggest putting dark shades on windows or wearing an eye mask to block light (my personal favorite). Use earplugs, a fan, or a white noise machine to cover sounds. I use an app on my phone to play white noise all night. Keep the temperature on the cool side, between 60 and 70 degrees. Keep pets out of the bed. However, I’m guilty of letting our two small dogs sleep with us, but we upgraded to a King size, so we have plenty of space.
If you choose to be aware of the inherent creativity that resonates deep within you…you’ll assist the birthing of new ideas, new accomplishments, new projects and new ways of understanding your life.”
This may be the only fat loss tip you’ll ever get that has nothing to do with how much you eat, what you eat, or how often you exercise. Yes, I’m telling you that you can burn more fat in your sleep by doing your best to limit the number of times you wake up.
There is a need to break free of a routine — the feeling of freedom and autonomy needs to pervade. As Lisa Firestone says in Psychology Today, “Seeking out and actively choosing novelty helps us feel more alive, engaged, and attuned to ourselves and others.”
As a writer, I rely on inspiration and creativity to get the words to flow. A lot of this is based on my surroundings. I constantly move around my house and write in different rooms. Sometimes inside, sometimes outside. When possible, I go to various cafes, parks, and gardens.
I still have goals, but the longer time period and flexibility remove the pressure, and for me, increase the fun. I have researched this extensively and found other benefits in not following a routine.
Annie Paul, author of “Brilliant: The New Science of Smart” wrote in Time Magazine, “The way most of us spend our mornings is exactly counter to the conditions that neuroscientists and cognitive psychologists tell us to promote flexible, open-minded thinking.” This is the opposite of what the morning routine is supposed to do.
Her recommendation is to look at things across a week. Where 24 hours can be limiting, 168 hours open things up. This would mean replacing the morning routine or daily schedule with a list of things that would need to be accomplished over a week.
Not scheduling activities in advance could actually be a good thing according to a study from the Journal of Marketing Research. Planning each part of the day in advance can remove the fun from them and make them all seem like work.
I realize we don’t have a ton of control over this. I wouldn’t panic if some nights are worse than others. Anxiety over not being able to sleep makes it harder to fall asleep in the first place. Since making more of an effort to limit my beverages, I find myself having more and more of those magical nights where my head hits the pillow, and the next thing I remember, it’s morning.
Health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, or bladder inflammation can all cause more frequent urination. If you’ve limited beverages and feel there may be a bigger factor at play, it may be time to talk to your doctor. Sleep apnea will also cause micro-awakenings, as each time you quit breathing, your brain wakes up just enough to start breathing again. Many times, you’ll wake up completely. Addressing the root of the cause can help you stay asleep longer.
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