While morning routines are much talked about and one of the most important things you can do to improve your day, establishing an evening routine can be just as essential. Getting enough sleep is vital to good health, wellness and living a productive life. But it can be a challenge to sleep if you’re unable to turn your mind off. Remember, a less productive, more relaxing evening can mean a more productive day tomorrow. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Cut Off Caffeine
If you have trouble winding down or sleeping, it might be time to cut down that coffee habit. A study conducted by the Sleep Disorders & Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital and Wayne State College of Medicine found that caffeine consumed even as long as six hours before bed, had a negative impact on sleep. Not only does caffeine diminish the quality of sleep, but also how long the subjects slept for.
So, if sleep is an issue for you, skip that afternoon cup and drink a Celsius with lunch instead. Then, try an afternoon walk to get your energy boost instead.
Try To Avoid Alcohol
While alcohol can make us feel drowsy or as if we will sleep better, consuming it can be one of the worst things for sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, drinking alcohol before bed is linked with multiple problems. It inhibits deep sleep and blocks R.E.M. sleep. If R.E.M sleep is disrupted, you can feel less focused the following day.
If these aren’t enough reasons to ditch your nightly glass of wine, alcohol before bed can also contribute to breathing issues like sleep apnea and cause you to wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.
Put Your Work Away
If you work from home or are an entrepreneur, you might be tempted to work 24 hours a day. (I know I’m sometimes guilty of this.) But if you are having trouble turning your mind off, the first step may be turning your phone off. Try to have a specific time of day or hour when you shut off your devices completely. Even if it is just half an hour before you go to bed, if you have issues with sleep, establishing this boundary can be life-changing.
If you can’t resist the urge to check your phone in bed, try charging it in another room or on the other side of the room while you sleep. For heavy sleepers who need an alarm clock close by, try using a traditional or smart alarm clock instead of your phone.
Consider Using Blue Light Glasses
Blue light, which is the type of light emitted from your phone, computer, and other electronic devices promotes wakefulness. This is because blue light causes your body to cease producing melatonin, which is the hormone that regulates the circadian rhythm. Blue light also stimulates cortisol, which is the stress hormone. So wearing blue light blocking glasses can help you wind down at night.
It’s best to put them on at least three hours before you go to bed. If this isn’t possible, an hour is better than nothing at all.
Try Incorporating A Warm Bath Into You Evening Routine
According to research from Cornell University, you should try and take a bath two to three hours before going to bed. This is because a warm bath causes a decrease in your body’s core temperature. A lower body temperature not only increases your chance of falling asleep, but it also helps your body sleep more deeply.
A warm bath is also a great way to incorporate aromatherapy into your self-care routine, such as adding a few drops of lavender essential oil into your bath. Or add it to unscented body lotion.
If you are working out or training, it’s even more important to take baths. The warm water will help soothe sore muscles. Don’t forget to add some Epsom salts.
If you’re worried about what’s going to happen in the morning, you may want to consider writing in a notebook or journal before going to sleep to turn off your mind at night. Write out the next day’s to-do list or put pen to paper to explore any emotions or feelings that still linger at the end of the day. Even a short gratitude list lets you end the day on a positive note.
Don’t Get Into Bed Until You Feel Ready To Sleep
The bed is for two things—sleep and sex. Other activities do your body and mind a disservice because the brain is less likely to associate the physical location of the bed and sleeping. Think about it this way, when you go into your office, your mind knows it’s time to get working.
Not doing anything but those two activities which may feel challenging in the short term, will be much better for you in the long term.