There’s a sleep revolution going on for people who have broken outside of the box that holds up “busy” and “working late” as a badge of honor. If you’ve hit the wall and experienced burnout, health issues or spend your days struggling to stay upbeat then hopefully, you’ve looked at your sleep. I have gone through this issue myself. While there’s a lot that can be said about the value and tactics of good sleep, this is not what this article is about. This about how to improve your mood by what you do before and after sleep.
Before getting into it I have to mention that sleep is fundamental to being fully charged physically, mentally, and emotionally. While it might seem to take precious time away from the opportunities that abound when awake, regularly compromising sleep for some extra waking time will short change those opportunities, both in recognizing them and seizing them. Less of it will certainly not improve your mood.
If you want more details on better sleep, how to get it and why you should want it, check out the Restorative Sleep Guide.
What about that time before you go to sleep and right when you wake up? This time is critical for many things. It can be leveraged to influence your subconscious mind and improve your mood dramatically.
As with many things, I haven’t always taken the best approach and consequently, I’ve learned a thing or two. Combining that with a sizeable amount of research that reports the effects of things like the news, television, social media and even books on our psychology, I believe I have a pretty good idea on what can improve your mood and certainly, what improves my mood.
I recently read that the type of books we read shape our view of the world. I don’t think this is very surprising or debatable. There are other factors, of course, but reading is a powerful mind-altering experience, no illicit drugs or unpredictable psychedelics needed to open the doors of perception here.
With this in mind, let’s look at a few things that can positively and negatively shape our daily view. Then we can get into leveraging these things to increase our chances of going through our days in a mood that lends itself to enjoying life more.
I don’t think I need to convince anyone that a good mood is desirable. If that’s not the case, let me know and I will debate you until you are happy or I am frustrated (and realize that’s not a bad thing).
Be Wary of TV, the News and Other Media
It’s too easy to watch TV or get into the latest world events at the end of your day but if this is the last thing you do prior to sleep, it sets a tone that permeates your psyche, possibly your dreams and affects your mood.
Save keeping up with the largely negative and depressing news for times further removed from sleep. The mind is very impressionable as it winds down or ramps up.
I’ve been caught up in world events, pouring over articles and videos before bed and upon rising for days and even weeks on end only to find my mood and outlook on life suffering greatly.
I don’t believe you really need to keep up at all but I understand the compulsion and interest. Being strategic about it can improve your mood consistently and your life.
Be wary of any negative influences in those transition times – violent video games, overstimulating movies, concerning news, frustrating social media posts and discussions, even books that don’t elevate your spirit.
I’m all for intellectually exploring the dark side of humanity to gain a better understanding of our history, our present situation and perhaps, our future but not at the expense of my appreciation of life. Gaining a better grasp of our species and likely, ourselves is worthwhile. However, being optimistic about our lives is crucial so we can have the inner fortitude to improve our world.
Controlling Email Input
Similar to the other media mentioned above, controlling the influence of email can improve your mood and give you more power over your days.
What’s the first thing you do every day when you wake up?
For a lot of people, it is checking their phone. Email. Facebook. Whatever.
I know, I’ve done it too.
But when you think about it, when you check your phone first thing in the morning you start the day on someone else’s agenda.
The tone of your day is set by how someone has chosen to communicate to you through email or by what they shared with you on social media.
You’re giving away the control you have when you wake up.
Shaping the first little bit of your day on your own terms will go a long way to creating the type of day you want and building the right kind of energy into it.
The same can be said about ending your day.
Try to not even looking at your phone for the first hour of your day and the last hour prior to sleep.
It might be a struggle but think hard if it will really make a big difference to other people if you get back to them an hour later or in the morning?
Take this as a challenge.
Positive Inputs for Transitions around Sleep
Without changing your life extensively or paying for anything, you can improve your mood with a few small shifts surrounding your entry and exit from bed.
By simply consciously deciding what goes into your mind as your day ends and a new day begins, you can have a profound effect on your mood. I mentioned a few things to avoid but what is good to add?
A few suggestions to improve your mood
- Read inspirational works – fiction, nonfiction, poetry, quotes, spiritual texts, whatever elevates your spirit
- Write in a journal – keep track of what you are grateful for, your goals and intentions, affirmations and anything that draws your focus to the good things in your life driving your forward towards action
- Breath mindfully – whether that be meditation or simply relaxation and decompression, the breathe is a very powerful tool
Need more? Check out An Inspiration Diet.