Our new sleep series, The Wind Down, provides a minute-by-minute peek into the wind-down routines that get well-being experts ready for bed. Today, we’re relaxing with Corey Yeager, Ph.D., a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and the psychotherapist to the Detroit Pistons.
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.
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 10-15 minutes with each of them.
10:00 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 20-40 minutes and then shut everything down.
11 p.m.: I tell my wife goodnight 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.