Saturday, 30 October 2021

Pizza Muffins


  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tbsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Each Salt and Dried Basil
  • 1 Cup Cheddar Cheese, cubed
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Yogurt
  • 1/4 Cup Butter, melted
  • 1/4 Cup Pizza Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Mozzarella, shredded




Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, and basil. Stir in cheddar cubes.


In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, yogurt and butter until smooth. Stir into flour mixture just until well combined and no dry spots remain. Add batter into muffin cups, dividing evenly. Spoon 1 tsp. pizza sauce on top of each muffin; sprinkle each with shredded mozzarella.


Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted in center of one of middle muffins comes out clean. Let muffins cool in the pan for at least 5 minutes before removing, then let cool completely on a wire rack. (Freeze muffins in an airtight container for up to 1 month; defrost at room temperature.)




  • Spinach salad with dressing
  • Fruit punch

Mini Calzones



  • 1 Roll Your Favorite Biscuits 
  • 1/2 Ricotta Cheese 
  • 2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella
  • 2 tsps. Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Dash Salt 
  • Dash Garlic Powder




Open the biscuits and roll each one out flat with a rolling pin. If the dough sticks to the rolling pin take a little bit of flour and sprinkle over the rolling pin. 


For each biscuit add a 1/4 tsp. of Parmesan cheese onto one half of the flattened biscuit. Then add 3 Tbsps. of mozzarella and a tsp. of ricotta. Sprinkle with a little salt and garlic powder. Fold the biscuit over on itself. Crimp with a fork. 


Cook at 350F for 14-17 minutes or until the biscuit is golden brown. 




  • Spaghetti sauce for dipping
  • Green salad with dressing
  • Iced tea

Ham & Mozzarella Sticks




  • 4 Ham Slices
  • 2 String Cheese Sticks
  • 2 Green Olives
  • 2 Toothpicks




Take two ham slices and wrap around one cheese stick. Add the olive to the seam and secure with the toothpick. 


Serves: 1




  • Red Seedless Grapes
  • Mini Pretzels
  • 100% Real Juice Box


Italian Sausage & Broccoli Egg Muffins



  • 1 lb. Italian Sausage
  • 8 Large Eggs
  • 1 Cup Broccoli Florets
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Milk
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese




In a large pan, fry up the sausage until it’s no longer pink.  Remove from heat and add broccoli florets


In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, milk, oil, baking powder and salt and pepper.


Lightly spray a 12 cup muffin pan with oil. Spoon the sausage mixture evenly into each tin. Pour the egg mixture over the top and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.


Bake for 15-20 minutes at 375 F


Refrigerate lunch portions overnight and add to lunch box in the morning. It’s portable and yummy!




  • Jello with fruit at the bottom
  • Apple slices
  • Milk

Banana Burrito Ideas

Peanut Butter & Jelly


  • Whole-Wheat Tortilla
  • 2 Tbsps. Peanut Butter
  • Banana
  • 1 Tbsp. Jelly


Nutella and Peanut Butter


  • Tortilla
  • 2 tbsp. Peanut Butter
  • Banana
  • 1 tbsp. Nutella 


Fluffer Nuttier Roll-Up 


  • Tortilla
  • 2 tbsp. Peanut Butter
  • Banana
  • 1 tbsp. Marshmallow Fluff




Spread peanut butter over the tortilla. Peel banana and put it at the edge of the tortilla. Spread the banana with your optional topping (jelly, Nutella, marshmallow fluff) and then roll up the tortilla.  Fold the ends to hold all the ingredients inside.  For a yummy alternative warm up the tortilla in the microwave for 10-15 seconds for an ooey gooey treat.


Pair with these items to make a delicious lunch your child will love:

  • Fruit cup
  • Yogurt
  • Non-sugary drink like Water, Bai, or Crystal Light

Develop A Game Plan For The Future

We touched a little at the end of yesterday’s blog post on the whole idea of moving forward and continuing to improve our email marketing game. Trust me, there’s always room for improvement, for anyone, including me. While an audit like this is a great way to update and improve things, it’s just as important to keep an eye on things and tweak them more regularly going forward. At the same time, it’s easy to put this task on the back burner and focus on new and exciting or more urgent tasks instead. That’s why it’s important to make a plan to keep improving your auto-responder going forward. 


Let’s start by looking at some of the things we already talked about. It’s a good idea to review your lead magnet and consider changing it out every three to six months. Go ahead and put that on the calendar. As previously mentioned, you also want to continue to add new auto-responder messages to the list. You can either set aside a particular day of the week to do that, or work on it in larger batches. Let’s say you’re going to add one new email message per week. You could put it on the calendar as a weekly activity that gets done every Tuesday morning for example. Or, if you prefer to work in batches, you could set aside a day every couple of months where you write and add 3 months’ worth of emails. Find a rhythm that works for you and then get in the habit of doing it regularly. 


Next, I want to share three other tasks related to list building and email marketing that you want to plan on doing regularly going forward. They are all important as is everything we’ve talked about so far. Make them a priority, put them on the calendar and get it done. Your list and your business will grow that much faster when you do. 


The first thing is to make it a habit to look at your opt-in stats. We talked in earlier posts about how much you can learn from them. Look at open rates and unsubscribes in particular. The most important stat for your bottom line is of course how many people take you up on your offers. Study any email offers or solo emails that are converting well for you and try to do more along those lines. 


Next, you want to look at your opt-in conversion rates. Play around with your opt-in forms and pages, the placement of the forms, the copy etc. and see if you can get that percentage to go up. Most auto-responder services give you the ability to split test your forms and pages. Take advantage of that. Set up tests and always have one running. Continue to try to beat your previous conversion rate. 


Last but not least consider setting up different opt-in funnels. You can target specific subsets of your target audience with special funnels designed just for them. This allows you to speak directly to them and their particular needs. Of course, you could also go wide by setting up a funnel on a related topic that your current readers may also be interested in. Continue to grow your list by setting up new funnels and new auto responders on a regular basis. 

Are Your Messages Serving You And Making You Money?


In the last blog post, we looked at the messages in the auto-responder sequence to make sure they are serving our audience. Today we’re going to go through that list again, but this time we’re making sure they also serve us and help us make money. Remember what I mentioned yesterday about taking care of our audience and only providing offers that add value to ensure long-term growth. Today is all about getting more people to look at those quality offers and taking us up on them. 


Your best friend here is the analytics data from your auto-responder service and anything else you measure like click through on affiliate links etc. You may even want to dig around Google Analytics and see what helpful data you can find there. Setting up goals for example is a good idea to see what’s working and where in a funnel you’re losing people. 


I find it helps to track three different metrics when it comes to this. The first if of course the open rate. If your subscribers don’t even bother to open your emails, you need to do something. Start by looking at the subject line and see what you can do to improve it. If that doesn’t work, it may be a problem with the subject matter. In that case, I suggest replacing the message with something different. 


The second metric you want to keep an eye on is click through rate for any links in your email messages. If you’re not getting clicks, chances are that you’re either not writing a strong enough call to action or that the content and/or offer isn’t all that interesting to your readers. In either case that’s something you want to fix. Go back to what you’ve learned about your audience and what interests them and what they need to solve their problems. Craft the offers and content with them in mind. Keep going back to the questions of what they need to know and what they need next that we talked about in yesterday’s post. 


The third metric you want to take a look at is unsubscribes. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that you panic and delete messages anytime you see someone unsubscribe. Instead, I want you to look at the big picture here. You will always have some people unsubscribe from your list at various points in the message sequence. What you want to look for is spikes in unsubscribes at a particular message. Look at those emails. Is the topic different from what you usually share? Did you try to sell your readers too hard on a product you love? Rework those messages, toning down the copy, or even replacing it with something that’s better suited (either product or content) to your target audience and see if you can improve those stats. 


There’s a lot you can learn from your stats and from what your readers tell you. Start to pay attention, start to listen, and start to take action going forward. You’ll find yourself becoming a better and better email marketer as time goes by. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s really about isn’t it? It’s about finding your audience, serving them, and making a comfortable living in the process. 

Are Your Messages Serving Your Customers?

We started to audit our auto-responder messages yesterday by reworking the welcome email. Now it’s time to tackle the rest of them. If you followed my advice of signing up for your own list with a separate email account, you can edit and work through them as they hit your inbox. Another option is to open them and edit them one at a time as time permits in your auto-responder dashboard. Either options works, just make sure it gets done sooner rather than later. 


Today we going to look at each of those messages from the point of view of our subscribers and customers. You want to look at both the content and the offers you are presenting them with. Let’s run through some questions you may want to ask yourself as you read through each of the email messages. 


First though, spend a few minutes defining your target audience and your ideal subscriber. The more you know about this person, the easier it will become to edit these messages and craft new ones going forward. Picture your ideal customer and subscriber as a fictional character. Be as detailed and clear as possible. This will be the person you’re writing to as you work on all your email marketing. 


Does The Subject Line Grab Their Attention? 


Start by examining the subject line of each message. It’s what determines whether or not your subscribers open your email. It can be helpful to look at the stats in you auto-responder software to find out what emails have high open rates and which ones don’t. Rework the subject lines of underperformers and see if you can’t find a way to grab your readers’ attention. 


Are You Serving Them With The Content You’re Sharing? 


Next, take a look at the content you’re sharing in your emails as well as the content you’re pointing them to in your messages. Maybe you’re linking to a blog post or a video. Examine each piece of content and ask yourself if it serves your audience. Are you helping your readers? Are you answering their questions, addressing their concerns, or entertaining them? Keep your ideal subscriber in mind as you work through the content. If something doesn’t serve them, take it out of the auto-responder sequence or edit and change as needed. 


Remember, you’re building a relationship here and you have to earn your subscribers’ trust before they will become an integral part of your customer base and your online business. 


Do The Order Of Messages Make Sense? 


As you are working your way through your auto-responder messages, it’s also a good idea to review the order of your messages. Is it making sense and is it presenting your readers with information, tips and offers in progressive order that makes sense? You don’t want to present the solution to a problem you haven’t discussed with them yet for example. 


Review the order and timing of your auto-responder emails and tweak it as needed. You’ll be surprised how much difference a simple switch in emails can make when it comes to open rates, and sales from your product recommendations. 


What Do They Need or Need To Know Next? 


Another way to look at this as you’re editing your a/r sequence is to ask yourself what else your readers need and what they need to know next. Not only does this help with the order of messages, asking yourself this question continuously will also help you to come up with more and more messages to add to your auto-responder. That’s something you want to continue doing going forward. In fact, now is the perfect time to put that on the calendar to make sure it happens. 


Is This The Best Product To Recommend? 


Last but not least, let’s talk about monetizing your list. Yes, you want to make offers and start earning a nice little income from your list. At the same time though, you should also have your subscribers’ best interest in mind. Are the products you’re recommending worth the money? Are they a good fit for your readers? Don’t make offers for offers sake. Make offers because you know this is something that will provide value to your audience. 


Go through the messages one at a time and improve what you can. Don’t be afraid to delete entire emails if they don’t serve your customers and subscribers and replace them with something else. Quality always trumps quantity here and you should be protective of your readers. Nothing kills a list faster than hitting them up with a bunch of crappy offers to make a quick buck. You’re in this for the long run and that means taking care of your people and your tribe. 

How Welcoming Is Your Welcome Email?

Today it’s time to rework the welcome email. I have yet to come across one that couldn’t use some improvement. More often than not, we write it up quickly during the process of setting up our list and then never look at it again. That’s really a shame, because it is the email that has the highest open rate of anything you send and is seen by just about every single person that signs up for your list. More importantly, those readers are hot leads. They just found you and signed up for your list and your lead magnet. They are very interested in what you have to say and what you can do to help them. In short, you have their full attention. Don’t waste that. Instead, use it wisely. 


By using their attention wisely, you can continue to nurture and grow the relationship with your readers, you can set expectations, and you can pre-sell them on the offer you present them with on the download or thank you page that we talked about in yesterday’s blog post. Let’s quickly go over the different components of a good welcome email. 


The subject line should be to the point and let them know exactly what this is about. Reference your site or your lead magnet in there. Next you want to give your readers a warm welcome. Tell them a little about you and your site. This is also a great place to set expectations. You can greatly improve your future email open rates if you let them know what’s coming and why they don’t want to miss it. 


If you publish a weekly newsletter, share a little bit about what’s in those newsletters, what day of the week they usually arrive in their email inbox, and what tag to look for in the subject line. Let’s say you publish a weekly newsletter for young parents. You may choose a tag like [Parenting News] as part of your subject line for each issue. Mention that in your welcome email so your readers can start looking for it. 


If you have an auto-responder sequence set up, tease them about what’s coming in the first email of the sequence and let them know when to look for it. You can also hint at exclusive content, coupons and the likes that are coming in the coming weeks and months. 


Last but not least, encourage your subscribers to hit reply and email you. Ask them a question, suggest that they share a tip etc. Get them to reply to you. Not only does this allow you to take the relationship to the next level and give you a chance to get to know your audience better, it also greatly improves your overall list delivery rates. 


Use this as a guideline to rework your own email, keeping your target audience in mind along the way. Try it out and see how well it’s working for you. As your understanding of your niche and your target audience grows, you may want to revisit and tweak the message. Make it a point to look at it every six months or so to make sure it still serves you and your readers well. 

Review Your Download Page

Yesterday we spent a lot of time on the lead magnet. I’m sure you have some great plans for the future, and maybe even started to tweak your existing offer or creating something new and awesome from scratch. Today it’s time to tackle another important piece of the puzzle… the download or thank you page. This is the page your subscribers land on after they confirm their opt-in. It’s also typically the page where they pick up their lead magnet offer. This means it is prime real estate on your site. 


Why do I consider the thank you or download page such a valuable page? For two reasons. The first is that just about every single subscriber visits that page. They want their opt-in freebie, right? So they will click through to the download page to pick it up. In short, this will likely be one of your most visited pages. The second reason is just as important and it’s about the quality of website visitor. These are “red-hot” leads. They are very interested in what you have to say and they trust you enough to hand over their email address. Take advantage of that fact and present them with an offer right on the download page while they are open to taking you up on it. 


With all that said, it’s time to audit your download page and see if there’s room for improvement. At the very least, you want the following on your download or thank you page: 


Thank Your Subscribers: Not only is it a nice thing to do, it also lets them know that their subscription was successful. This is also one of the first impressions you make, so make it a good one. 


Access To The Lead Magnet: Next, it’s time to keep your promise and deliver the lead magnet. This could be a PDF download, an imbedded video, or the information they need to access a course. Make it easy to get the lead magnet, and provide help on how to access it. Not only does this avoid frustrated subscribers, it also saves you on quite a few support emails. 


A Way To Get In Touch With You: No matter how much information you provide or how thorough you are with the help you provide on the pages, people will have questions. Make it easy to get in touch with you by providing your email and links to your social media accounts. Getting emails from subscribers is actually a good thing. It allows you to continue to build that relationship one-on-one. 


Optional – But Highly Recommended! 

With the basics covered, let’s talk about my favorite addition to the thank you or download page that has made a huge difference in my own business. It’s to make an offer right there for a paid product. Ideally this will be your own product, but in a pinch, you can also make an offer for an affiliate product.


The idea is to move your readers from subscriber to paying customer as quickly as possible. A customer is a much more valuable lead than a freebie subscriber. Right after they sign up, you have their full attention and you know exactly what they want and need. Come up with an info product that’s closely related to the lead magnet they just signed up for. Earlier in this series, we used potty training as an example and talked about creating a lead magnet about the signs that a child is ready to potty train. The perfect product for the download page would be a short guide on how to potty train your child in 48 hours. 


Keep this information product highly targeted and inexpensive. You don’t want to offer a high-ticket item here. This is the very beginning of your product funnel. Offer something anywhere from $7 - $37 here depending on your target market. Make it a no-brainer offer and get them on that customer list. 


The list you’re building will be more valuable and as an added bonus, you can use the income you’re generating from your thank you page to buy advertising to continue to grow your list even faster. 

Take A Closer Look At Your Lead Magnet


The previous post gave you a pretty good overview over where your opt-in and auto-responder are right now. Now that you have a general overview, and a list of things you want to fix and change, it’s time to take a closer look at the first piece of the puzzle… your lead magnet. This is the “thing” you are giving away as a thank you when people join your list. It’s the carrot you dangle in front of them and how you invite them to become a subscriber. 


It’s a good idea to change the lead magnet from time to time, and even more important that you make sure it’s something of value that’s interesting to your readers. That’s why it’s a good idea to start with your target audience in mind. You don’t necessarily want to appeal to the largest audience. Instead, you want to attract the right people who will love your products and recommendations. In short, you want your free list to be made up of future customers. Do you know who those people are? If not, now is a great time to figure that out and get it clear in your mind. 


Once you know who your ideal customer is, think about where they are at right now. I’m not talking about location here. Think about where they are at in live, pertaining to what you have to offer and where they want to go. For example, you could build an audience of parents of toddlers who are just starting to potty train. Their goal is of course to get the kid out of diapers for good and that can pose quite the challenge. Think about what some of the early questions these people ask themselves or what problems they face. In this example, the parent may be wondering when the right time to start potty training is and if there are signs that their child is ready. 


Spend a little time today to brainstorm some ideas for questions and solutions around this whole concept for your own target audience. Along the way, think about how your existing lead magnet fits into that picture. Is it a good fit? If not, it may be time to come up with a new lead magnet. Think about format as well. Is a short report that’s downloadable as a pdf attractive to your market? Or would they prefer a video course or interactive quiz? Look at what your competition or others who target the same audience are doing and consider going a similar route. 


In the end, don’t be afraid to create multiple new lead magnets and test them out to see which one performs best for you. It’s time well spent when you find the opt-in offer that helps explode your list growth. 

Sign Up For Your Own List And Review The Process

Are you ready to audit your list and find out what’s working, what isn’t, and where there’s room for improvement? If you ask me, it’s one of the most productive and rewarding tasks you can tackle this week. It all starts by taking a closer look at what you have in place right now. 


Be honest. When is the last time you’ve really taken a look at your opt-in form? How about your welcome email? Do you know what it says and how you’re welcoming your new subscribers? How about the lead magnet you’re using? It’s time to take stock of all that and the first step is to sign up for your own list. 


You can sign up with any email and it will work just fine. I prefer a Gmail account that I’ve set up just for this purpose. It allows me to see all my auto-responder emails for various lists in one place. The reason I chose Gmail (aside from the fact that it’s free and easy to access anytime, anywhere), is that it’s very searchable. This comes in handy when you’re trying to find one particular email that needs changing or updating. You can search for it in your Gmail using a keyword instead of digging through your auto-responder series trying to find it. 


Keep pen and paper next to you as you get ready to sign up for your own list. We’ll address some of these things in more detail this week, but start to pay attention and try to look at each piece of the process from your subscribers’ point of few. How attractive is the opt-in offer? Is the headline catchy? Do you help your readers solve a problem with your lead magnet and the content you provide in your emails? Are you hitting on pain points in your copy? How attractive is the graphic? 


As you’re signing up, look at how easy and smooth the process is. Look at and reevaluate how much information you’re asking for. Are the landing page and opt-in email making sense? Are there things you could improve or clarify? Does it fit with the overall look and feel of the rest of your site? Do you have any distractions on the opt-in confirmation page and email? Do your readers know what to expect? 


Once you confirm your opt-in, you should land on a Thank You or download page. Make sure you have it set up and are using it to your advantage. It should be easy to find the lead magnet download file, but this isn’t the only thing you can do here. Start to think about using this space to create a relationship with your readers and to turn them into customers. We’ll go into more detail on this in a subsequent post. Of course, you should make sure all the links on this page work. You don’t want to make a bad first impression. 


Last but not least, head to your email account and review the welcome email you received. Going forward, look at each message in your auto-responder sequence as it comes in. Make sure the links are working, the offers are still valid and the messages make sense. Change and tweak as needed. 


That’s it for the first post. In the next post, we take a closer look at the lead magnet and how well it’s working when it comes to drawing new subscribers into your funnel. 

Establish Your Nightly Routine & Stick To It

Human beings thrive on routine. If you are a parent, you know how true this is. And while most of us will do a good job setting and sticking to a routine for our kids, we don’t do as well for ourselves. It’s time to change that. Let’s talk about what you can do to establish a nightly routine and how you can stick to it until it becomes a habit. 


It all starts with the decision to get a better night’s sleep. And you do it with a daily routine that includes getting into bed at the same time each day - including weekends. It also helps to get up roughly at the same time each morning. Sleeping in a little when you get the chance is fine, but don’t make it more than an hour or two so you can still fall asleep at the appropriate time. That might sound hard at first, but the more you stick to your routine, the easier it will become. After a few weeks it will become a habit. You’ll know you’re close when you start to wake up a few minutes before your alarm. 


Going to bed and waking up at the same time are the cornerstones of your routine, but you don’t want to stop there. What you do in the hour or so before bed can make a big difference in how easy it is to fall asleep and how soundly you’ll sleep through the night. There is a lot you can do to set yourself up for a good night’s rest. A warm bath, reading a book, leaving your phone in the living room … 


Take a moment to sketch out your ideal night time routine. Keep it simple and start small. What are two or three things you can do consistently before you go to bed at night? This could be brushing your teeth and washing your face. It could also be lighting a candle and reading or journaling for a few minutes right before bed. Or how about sipping a cup of herbal tea? 


Write down our first take at a bedtime routine and try it out. How did it feel? What works for you, what does not? It’s okay to make changes over time and tweak it as needed. The only rules are to stick to your bedtime and to eventually land on a routine you can stick with until it becomes an automatic habit. 


Once you’ve found your routine you should stick to it for a few months. After that you can make the occasional exception. You’ll be surprised how much easier it will be to fall asleep with a good bedtime routine in place. 

Relax Your Body With A Warm Bath Or Gentle Stretches

The key to a good night sleep is being able to relax in the hour or two before you climb into bed. It makes sense, doesn’t it? If your body is relaxed, your mind will follow. There’s a lot you can do to relax at night. Read a good book, meditate. But two that are particularly helpful both physically and mentally are a warm bath and stretching. Let’s look at those and how you can include them into your bedtime routine. 


How Stretching Helps You Sleep At Night 


Doing some gentle stretches or a little relaxing yoga can be a great addition to your nighttime routine. The key here is gentle. This isn’t a workout. It’s part of relaxing and getting your body ready for sleep. Roll those shoulders, work out the kinks in your neck, and stretch those limbs. 


You can find plenty of stretching and yoga videos online. While it’s usually a bad idea to use screens at night, you can use them for a few evenings until you get the routine down. Or, if you are familiar with the concepts and can do so safely, feel free to come up with something individual that works for you. After all, we don’t always carry tension in the same parts of our bodies each day. 


Pay attention to how you feel when you get into bed after spending a few minutes stretching first. Does your body feel warmer? More relaxed? That’s what will make falling asleep much easier and you end up with better rest. 


The Benefits Of A Warm Nighttime Bath (or Shower) 


Another great habit to get into is taking a warm bath or shower at night. Not only does it feel good to be clean when you slip between the sheets, it also helps relax your muscles, your body, and even your mind. You can even combine it with gentle stretches. 


There’s an additional benefit that has to do with some of the processes inside our body as we transition from being awake to asleep. When you sleep, your body temperature lowers. This is closely connected with feeling sleepy. In your brain falling asleep and a drop in body temperature go together. Taking a warm bath taps into that connection and hacks it to your benefits. Take a warm bath or shower an hour before you’re going to bed. Make sure it’s long enough to warm you up. A minimum of ten minutes is good. Then, as you lay in bed, that temperature slowly starts to drop, making you feel a little drowsy and ready to fall asleep. Give it a try. You’ll be sold. 

Dealing With Stray Thoughts & Worries At Nighttime

Do you ever have one of those nights when you can’t turn your mind off and end up tossing and turning? We all have days and nights when our busy minds and worries keep us up. Thankfully there are some simple strategies you can employ to deal with them, leaving you to enjoy the remainder of your night in restful slumber. Let’s look at a few you can try whenever you need them. 


Distract Yourself 


If you had a rough day or are going through stressful times, it can help to distract yourself before bed. Read a good book. Watch a movie. Catch up on your favorite show, or play a video game in the hours before bed. For the last hour or two before you lay down, it’s best to avoid screens. Reading or listening to a podcast or some engaging music are great ways to distract yourself. Or how about a good conversation with a loved one, or some private time with your spouse? Get your mind off what’s worrying you and do what you can to leave it until the next morning. 


Journal Before Bed 


If you can’t quite distract yourself, it’s not a bad idea to face and acknowledge what’s worrying you. Take out a notebook and journal for a page or two. It will help you process whatever is going on in your life. And by writing it down and getting it all out before bed, it can help clear your mind. 


Journaling isn’t a quick pill fix. It can take some time to see the long-term benefits. Give it a few weeks and see if it’s something that works for you. Or maybe you’ll get lucky and one night of journaling is enough to calm that busy, anxious mind. After all you only have a page, some ink and a few minutes of your time to lose on this simple exercise. 


Nighttime Meditation 


If journaling isn’t your thing, or it isn’t quite enough to help on its own, try meditating. Meditation any time of the day is a great way to bring calm to your day and reduce stress. It’s particularly helpful right before bed. 


It makes sense, doesn't it? If you’re anxious and worried when it’s time to go to sleep, mediating can help you shift into a calmer, more centered and present state. Short, guided meditations are especially helpful for beginners. Find one online, plug in your earbuds and give it a try. 


Keep A Notepad On Your Night Table 


Last but not least, here’s something anyone can do. Go find a little notebook, a notepad, or a piece of scrap paper. Put it along with a pen or pencil on your nightstand. When your mind gets busy about all the things you need to do the next day, or something pops up that you don’t want to forget, write it down. It gives great peace of mind and may be just what you need to fall asleep. 

Getting Comfy: Temperature, Touch, Sound & Scent

It’s time for bed and you’re ready to get comfy and drift off to sleep. The more conductive you can make your bed and your bedroom to sleeping, the easier it will be to rest and actually fall asleep. Let’s talk about a few simple things you can do to create a better sleep environment. 


One of the easiest things to change and improve for most of us is the temperature. It’s easier to sleep at cooler temperatures. Turn down your central heat or air down a degree or two when you head to bed. Make sure you’re dressed appropriately. Light pajamas when it’s warm and a blanket that will keep you warm enough, but not sweating in the middle of the night. If it’s cool outside, consider opening the windows for a bit before you go to bed to let some fresh air into the room, or consider sleeping with the window cracked open. There’s something about it that makes for a restful night. Of course you should ignore this advice if you have allergies and fresh air causes you to sneeze or gives you a stuffy nose. 


Next, let’s think about touch. What makes you comfortable? Is it the sleek cool feel of satin sheets? The comfort of flannel and a heavy quilt on top of you? How about soft cotton that you can wrap up in? Find your perfect sheets and bedding. Don’t forget about what you are wearing to bed. The clothes should be comfortable, because when you are, it's easier to fall asleep and you’ll sleep deeper. 


If you’re having trouble falling asleep because the slightest noise from outside alerts you or you can’t shut off your mind, give white or brown noise a try. Turn on a fan, play some soft sounds, or try a bedtime meditation. There are plenty of options out there. The sound can be soothing and it will cover up anything going on outside that keeps you from drifting off to sleep. 


Last but not least, there are calming scents that will help slow down your body and mind when it’s time to go to sleep. Light a scented candle for a little while or diffuse some oils. Lavender has long been a favorite at bedtime. You can even create a fun linen spray by combining distilled water with a few drops of lavender oil. Spritz it on your sheets and your pillow before bed. The aroma will carry you off to dreamland in no time. 


Don’t be afraid to play around with any of these suggestions. Come up with what works for you and create your very own bedtime routine.