Once my room was optimized, I committed to a consistent bedtime. I set a daily reminder on my iPhone called Get Ready for Bed, which went off at 10:00PM every night (i.e. nine hours before I wanted to wake up).
As soon as it went off, I’d stop whatever I was doing, hit the bathroom, brush my teeth, and change out of my day clothes. I was dead serious about obeying my phone’s command. Even if I was in the middle of a conversation, I’d abruptly end it so I could get ready for bed. After I finished getting ready, I would switch my phone to Flight mode, open the Relax Melodies app, and climb in bed to read fiction for 15 minutes.24 When I was done reading, I’d turn off the lights and focus on the rhythm of my breath until I fell asleep.
It took several nights to adjust to this change, but within a week, I was sleeping like a champion. I wasn’t eating anything after 8:00PM, and I stopped drinking caffeine after 5:00PM. Those habits helped my body wind down earlier, but the critical part was getting ready at the same time every night.
There was another aspect of my sleep routine that was critical for healing my anxiety: I took a 20-minute nap every afternoon.
Play It Away: A Workaholic's Cure for Anxiety