How A Psychotherapist Winds Down From The Day & Gets His Mind Into Sleep Mode
In my younger years, my relationship with sleep was a rocky venture. As I got older, I came to understand the importance of a good night's sleep. Now, I consider myself a very good, deep, and heavy sleeper. I find that I get my best sleep when I am at home, in my bed, and know my kids are home and safe.
Conversely, when I'm traveling and sleeping in hotels (these days I'm on the road more than I'm at home), this is when my sleep routine becomes interrupted. Travel and inconsistent sleeping schedules and patterns have become the biggest barrier I face when it comes to getting a good night's sleep. But it's something I'm working on since I know how vital sleep is to my overall mental, physical, and emotional health. I realize that when I sleep steadily, I feel more refreshed, energized, and balanced throughout the day.
- Average hours I sleep a night: On average, I work to get at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
- Ideal bedtime: I aim to be in bed with all lights/technology off no later than 11 p.m. each night.
- Ideal wake-up time: I like to be up and moving to start my day by 8 a.m.
- Nightstand essentials: A bottle of water (room temp), whatever book I am reading.
- Favorite place I've ever slept: My bed at home is the best space in the world for me to sleep!
- Sleep bad habit: Falling asleep with the lights and TV on.
- Caffeine consumption: I am a no-caffeine-consumption kinda guy!
- How I track my sleep: I don't utilize any specific sleep-tracking device.
- The last product or habit that changed my sleep for the better: Having the TV off when I fall asleep has been a game-changer for the better.
7:30 p.m.: My wife does a good job of giving me a 15-minute warning to start shutting down my work for the evening. I wrap up what I'm working on for the next day and start getting into bedtime mode.
8 p.m.: I shut down all work-related activities.
8:30 p.m.: Given my normal bedtime of 11, I try to start wrapping up the day and getting ready for bed at around 8:30 on most nights. Around that time, I talk with my wife about things that have happened that day, as well as check in on what is going on with the kids. Together, we tidy up the basement and turn off the TVs in the house. Once we have shut down the basement level, we go upstairs, and I go to each of my kids' rooms and check in with them. This usually entails a summary of their day and a short discussion of what the next day looks like for them. I spend around 10 to 15 minutes with each of them.
10 p.m.: After that, I retire with my wife into our haven, the bedroom. I brush my teeth and at that point, decide what I will read that night before bedtime.
10:15 p.m.: We may catch a portion of the nightly news, and then the bedroom TV goes off and my bedside lamp goes on.
10:30 p.m.: My reading begins. I like to have something to read that allows my mind to wander off into another world. I read for 20 to 40 minutes and then shut everything down.
11 p.m.: I tell my wife good night if she is still awake and begin my slumber. This routine has served me well and occurs quite smoothly for me at this point in my life.
Dr. Corey Yeager is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who merges his two passions—athletics and therapy—as Psychotherapist for the Detroit Pistons.
He is the author of the upcoming new book, How Am I Doing?: 40 Conversations to Have with Yourself (Harper Celebrate; 10/18/22). His research centers on better understanding the plight of African American relationships, while educating service providers to utilize the family system context while facilitating meaningful change in both their personal and professional lives.