Are you one of the thousands, if not millions, of people that feel that they don’t get enough sleep each night? Whilst the internet is loaded with sleep training and bedtime hacks for children, it’s forgotten that adults need these routines too! Creating an evening routine, as an adult, is one of the smartest moves you can make to set each following day up for success.
So, why are people struggling with sleep more than ever? Our day-to-day lives are high pressure environments that put stress on our minds and body’s. For many of us, feelings of overwhelm, mental fatigue and anxiety are our new normal and when it’s time to wind down and head to bed, it feels like they are working on overdrive. When we throw our addiction to our devices into the mix, our brain is overloaded with messages and activity. It’s no wonder so many people struggle to fall asleep!
By crafting a nightly routine, designed around your individual lifestyle, you’re able to encourage your body into a more relaxed state that by the time you’ve finished it, your body is ready for lights out.
Studies have shown that having an evening routine, at any age, improves our overall mood. As an adult experiencing the hustle and bustle of professional and personal life, we can easily translate better sleep hygiene into mental clarity, emotional balance and reduced anxiety and let’s be honest, who doesn’t want that?
There is no rule to how long your routine should be, but it must give you enough time to unwind and relax without the feeling of being rushed through the process. This is generally around 60 minutes before lights off. Whilst the first few days may feel arduous, it’s all about consistency. Continuing training your mind and body into its new routine and reap the benefits of productivity the following day.
Set a time and stick to it
Now, this isn’t your bedtime but the time you’re going to begin your evening routine. Setting a time that your routine begins keeps you accountable and begins the process of creating a new habit. By setting a time, and sticking to it, you’re telling your mind and body that it is time to start winding down and get ready for an incredible night’s sleep.
The promotion of good sleep hygiene has become so important that even your iPhone now has the capability to set up these alarms and routines on your phone. When you’re just getting started having an alarm on your phone or prompts, like this, can do wonders for keeping you accountable.
Wind down with a shower or bath
Think about the difference between your morning shower and an evening one. During your morning shower, you’re jumping in and out as quick as you can whereas during your evening shower or bath, you don’t have to rush off to that meeting or make the morning train, so you’ve got time to enjoy it.
The relaxing feels of warm water on your body start to slow down the body and mind before bed. It’s a space that gives you a moment to reflect on your day and practice some deep breathing exercises to help you prepare for thorough rest.
Stepping out of a warm bath or shower, your body temperature significantly drops which can lead to you feeling relaxed and sleepier. This is why many effective evening routines feature the comforting warmth of a shower or bath, especially one with the added benefits of aromatherapy.
Put pen to paper
For many, the anxiety of either the day that was or the one to come can make it difficult to gain a good night’s sleep. When our mind feels like it’s racing with our ever-growing to-do list, we cannot effectively wind down. That’s why having a pen and paper next to your bed or even a journal can be an incredibly powerful and productive way of slowing down your mind for the evening.
By putting pen to paper, instead of typing it on your phone or computer, you’re limiting potential distractions. Notebooks don’t have emails, messages or games!
Handwriting tomorrow’s to-do list, things to remember, creative ideas that have come to mind or a reflection on the day that was get those things out of your racing brain and out onto paper for you to pick back up tomorrow. Not only is this incredibly cathartic for people that experiencing stress and anxiety but it’s super productive too! Many find that when they begin the following day, they’re already set up for success with a list of goals to accomplish.
Break up with your device
This is the big one. More than ever, we’re in committed relationships with our devices. From laptops, smartphones, watches to tablets, we’ve got access to the world at our fingertips whenever and however we like.
Some of the habits we’ve created, like scrolling social media until just before you fall asleep, are setting us up for a difficult night’s sleep. Not only is our imagination running wild with what we’ve been consuming (which attributes to nightmares) but the blue light emitting from our devices stimulate our circadian rhythm, aka our body’s internal clock.
The blue light from our devices keeps our minds buzzing and whilst you may feel like it’s easy to fall asleep after hours of scrolling, the quality of sleep you’re experiencing is very poor. It has been proven that the blue light emitted from our devices reduces our levels of melatonin and delays our REM cycle. That’s why our leading advice when establishing an evening routine is to set serious boundaries with your devices.
To assist you in waking up the next morning and limit your technology distractions, we recommend charging your phone at night somewhere other than your bedside table. That way, when your alarm goes off in the morning, you have to physically get out of bed to turn it off. If you’re well and truly ready to break up with your device, switch it out for an old school alarm clock and charge your phone in an entirely other room! The technology addiction is real so we know you may have to work your way up to this one.
Get your best night’s sleep yet by implementing these steps to a solid evening routine tonight! Even if you only tick off one of these items, you’re pointing yourself in the right direction for better sleep hygiene and a happier, clearer mind. Sweet dreams!