11 Ways To Upgrade Your Sleep & Morning Routine (Life-changing!)

Do you feel like there’s never enough time to get enough sleep or make a proper breakfast? Let’s talk about upgrading your sleep and morning routine for good.

Morning rituals

First, I’ll tell you a story about my cabin in the woods.

The more time I spend in nature, the more clear I get on my vision of living in a mountain cabin. There’s a fireplace, a cozy furry rug, floor to ceiling windows overlooking pine trees and cliffs, a welcoming wooden dining table, and a bright kitchen. There’s also a hot tub for star gazing on cool nights.

Kombucha and hot tub

Somewhere in Tahoe, with kombucha

I’d spend my evenings leisurely writing by the fire with a side of herbal tea, waking up at 7am to go on my pre-yoga hike with a protein smoothie to go.

Instead of thinking of what I don’t (yet) have, I’m turning to a magic mind trick that helps me appreciate what I DO have. It’s quite simple and mind-blowingly effective.

Here’s the method: instead of focusing on the thing that you want, figure out the feeling that you expect it to give you.

In my case, what is it about living in a wooden cabin that gets to me? Fresh air, freedom to move my body when I want, clarity of mind that being in nature brings, lots of space and… Peaceful sleep.

I’m a huge fan of sleep and agree with Arianna Huffington, who said: “Everything you do, you’ll do better with a good night’s sleep.”

The next step of the magic trick is figuring out how you can infuse the things you want into your life today.

That’s when I realized how doable it is. Feeling like I’m waking up to fresh mountain air now comes from a humidifier infused with a Sacred Woods essential oil blend, peaceful sleep comes from a more solid my nighttime routine and ban on technology in bed.

After experimenting with all kinds of rituals and devices, I find that these 11 things completely changed the quality of my sleep and how I wake up.

The result has been astounding. From a tired, too-busy-to-go-to-bed, always rushing urbanite to a well rested kind person. It’s possible. Here are the things that truly made a difference. Use it as a flexible menu for better sleep (and more joyful you!)–pick and choose what works for you, one thing at a time. Stick with it for at least 7 days and notice the difference.

Nighttime Rituals: 

  1. Switch off: Turn off technology and bright lights at least two hours before bedtime to get your body into rest mode. Stay away from screens (or at least dim them). Replace bright lights for the soothing light of a Himalayan salt lamp – it neutralizes electromagnetic radiation from all technology and is known to improve breathing and sleep.
    My favorite tools for better sleep: Himalayan salt lamp, humidifier & wake-up light
    My favorite tools for better sleep: Himalayan salt lamp, humidifier & wake-up light
  2. Journal: Getting thoughts out of your head and on paper helps you relax deeper. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated. You can start by writing a simple list of things you’re grateful for today (aka easiest way to invoke joy). On days when you’re super tired, making a mental gratitude list works just as fine.
  3. Soothe: Growing up isn’t a reason to give up a cup of calming warm milk before bed. Make a cup of turmeric milk latte or go for a relaxing herbal tea (my favorites are chamomile and Tahitian Vanilla Hazelnut Yogi Tea.)
  4. Take a bath: When there’s lots going on and it’s hard to stop my mind from spinning, I switch it off by taking a bath with epsom or even better, dead sea salt and a Stress Relief Bath Oil. Make sure you drink plenty of water after the bath, and you’re all set for deep sleep!
  5. Prep for the day ahead: Be proactive and spend some time preparing for the next day. I find it super helpful to put together my outfit and my bag ahead of time, so that in the morning I can be more zen and avoid the “I have nothing to wear” situation.
  6. Stick to a schedule: I know, I know, it may be boring to go to bed early on the weekends. I’ve tried it all and can attest that one super late Saturday night can throw off a whole week of sleep. It’s not always worth it. Try to commit going to bed around the same time, even on weekends and note how much easier waking up will become.

Sleepy Time Ritual: 

7. Get a humidifier: if you don’t live out in the woods, I bet you would benefit from a humidifier. It puts moisture back into the air, which can keep your skin moisturized and promote healthy breathing. I got mine in the midst of a dry New York winter, and have been addicted ever since. I no longer wake up with a stuffed nose, and adding a few drops of my favorite Source Vital Sacred Woods essential oil blend with spruce, cedarwood and frankincence, transports me straight to my imaginary cabin in Colorado. If you’re not ready to commit to a humidifier, start with a room spray with essential oils.

Morning Rituals:

8. Wake up light: Using your phone as your alarm clock makes it too easy to dive from sweet sleep straight into work emails, Instagram notifications and to-do lists. Getting a real alarm clock with sunrise simulation is one of the best things I’ve done. Our bodies’ natural clock is tuned to the amount of light, so filling your room with light with naturally help you wake up.

Phillips wake up light

9. Stay unplugged: Instead of rushing into emails, use the contemplative, quieter space that mornings offer to do the things that are the most important to you. Give yourself a chance to connect with yourself in a meaningful way before you connect with others. It could be a short meditation, some sort of movement, journaling, or anything else that reminds you how awesome feeling alive can feel. I don’t check any notifications on my phone until I’m ready to get out the door, and it helps me root down in my clarity and keep that focus throughout the day.

10. Morning elixir: Heart of the magical benefits of drinking warm lemon water first thing in the AM? It’s even more powerful if you mix your hot water with a squeeze of lemon, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, a dash of cayenne pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon honey. Soothing, energizing and oh so good for your belly.

Question from a reader, Claude: “Can we prepare the lemon elixir ahead and drink cold?”

You could prepare ahead and drink the morning elixir cold, just make sure to mix it up well! Warm however works better for a few reasons: it allows the spices and honey to mix in well, it also nourishes the belly and aids detoxification. Check out more info on why warm water is great for you.

Lemon water with turmeric

11. Healthy breakfast: Skipping breakfast means low blood sugar, low energy levels and more chances to overeat during the day. Who wants that? Here are 3 reasons why breakfast makes you a better person. My current go-to breakfast  is a protein-packed green smoothie.

What are some of your favorite nighttime and morning rituals?

This post features sponsored products and is in collaboration with Source Vital. All opinions are my own.