You might have read my post on a healthy morning routine to start the day off organized, energized and deliberate to set the tone for the rest of the day. Energy creates reality and taking a few conscious moments before rushing off into the day allows you to invite good energy and create good vibes for the rest of the day.
But let's face it - if you are going to bed leaving out all the dishes, feeling stressed and exhausted or not being able to switch off your brain and get a good night sleep, it might be challenging to get up in time to be conscious, mindful and feel ready for your day. And also, some people are just not morning people. If you are not functioning well in the morning - no worries - make sure you always find a way to work with your natural resources and bio rhythm. In that case establishing a whole hearted evening routine can make all the difference. It will lead you to results with more ease and less resistance.
The evening routine or ritual can be an addition to your morning routine or another option instead of it.
So here are my thoughts on a powerful evening routine to:
- set you up for a good night sleep
- tie up the day and allow you to unwind
- organize the day to come
- feel centered and relaxed
Before we dive in - are you a parent? And you are just not able to take 30 min to do any kind of evening routine? I get it! Enjoy this post, but also checkout the adjusted 'evening routine post - mama edition'.
Eat nourishing food (before 7pm):
Eating regularly has tons of benefits. Especially before sleeping and resting for a number of hours it makes sense to fuel your body. In order to allow enough time for digestion - it is recommended to eat 2-3 hours before going to bed, to allow the food to be properly digested. Your digestions slows down during the night and might not get through all of the consumed food before you fall asleep otherwise.
We should get about 6-8h of sleep every night. Whether that's is true for you or not, you most likely get at least 4-5 hours of down time. That is time in which we are not taking in much fluids. Drinking plenty of water before going to bed can help your body to stay hydrated. I recommend drinking plenty of water 1 1/2h before going to bed, that way you hopefully don't get up multiple times per night to visit the rest room. Having trouble staying hydrated? Check out my post on tips to actually do so.
Plan tomorrow today:
Do you sometimes lay in bed thinking about all the tasks and to does for tomorrow and it keeps you awake? Even though you can't actually take care of these things yet? It happens to many of us. Our brain is trained to be productive, and at times it might be hard to switch it off. Besides other methods like learning how to meditate and practice mindfulness - planning the next day prior to going to bed can help to release anxiety and simply put those thoughts onto paper instead of allowing them to loop around in your mind. Write down the main to does for the coming day, have a look at your calendar and maybe even pick out your outfit before going to bed, pack your bag, charge your devices, pre program the coffee maker, alarm clock and anything else you can pre set to be organized and set you up for a smooth morning.
Besides every day life, we are sometimes facing specific challenges. That might be an argument or misunderstanding with a friend, family member or colleague. A project thats nagging us or a situation we simply feel uneasy about. Before going to bed, address that issue. Give yourself a moment to think about it and maybe even take action towards feeling better about it. Journal, or pick up the phone and talk to the person that can help you resolve the tension. If it's too late in the evening for that, maybe just put it on your list for the next day and consciously postpone the issue (and hopefully the emotional burden) till tomorrow.
Waking up to a chaos never feels good and takes away from your time in the morning. Cleaning up and picking up around the house can prevent feeling overwhelmed first thing in the morning. Often our environment and surroundings have a strong influence on our mindset and headspace. If you are in a clean and organized space, it might be easier to relax and focus. In a cluttered space, you are more likely to get distracted and get a feeling of being overwhelmed.
Dim lights, cut screen time:
Melatonin is the hormone that helps you fall asleep. It is produced in our brain (Melatonin is also synthesised within the eye, although to a much lesser extent than in the pineal gland) and it's production is stimulated by 'sunset' mood, which means dim lights and reduced physical activities. We need about 3h of slowing down and dim lights to build enough melatonin to go to sleep and stay asleep for the duration of the night. TVs, other screen devices and artificial lights have a blue light to it (it is called blue light, but doesn't actually look typically blue.) That light prevents the production of melatonin. Try to limit the screen time just before bed or use an app, that automatically will change the light on your laptop and phone in the evening hours or get 'blue blocker glasses' to help your body get ready for a good night sleep.
Stretch and breathe:
2-3h before going to bed, it helps to move, stretch and consciously do some breathing exercises. Especially if you have been sitting all day, a workout, walk or yoga session can help your body to release tension. Try to do the movement 2-3h before bedtime so your body will have enough time to calm down and get the heart rate down before going to bed.
Fresh air can help you sleep better! You can go for a light walk around the neighborhood in the evening to unwind. If that's not for you, airing the bedroom before tucking into bed can also do the trick. The recommended sleep temperature is about: 60 - 67 degrees. (source)
Get ready for bed:
This can be a beautiful ritual to celebrate your body, heart and soul! It is a special time to finish off your day and practice self-care and self-love. Now, you know best what you need and what will make you feel relaxed and ready for bed. Take a shower or bath, celebrate your bathroom routine, put a face mask on, use lotion and play your favorite music - whatever floats your boat, but make sure you do it while fully present. Look at yourself in the mirror, feel your skin and enjoy. We spend so many hours in our heads, but not consciously in our bodies, that this can be your time to do so. This routine, which literally can be whatever feels right and helpful to you, can also be your gateway to bedtime. A conscious effort to get out of your 'to do' mindset and into your relaxed bedtime vibe.
What else can help you to destress and fall asleep better?
Sleep is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. It is the time in which our body and mind reset and heal. And while we are not dependent on the day light any more, or not as much (most of us have lights everywhere and we can easily continue any activity even at night time) - our bodies still react to the same stimuli as thousands of years ago. Understanding those connections can help you create a better sleeping routine which will leave you more relaxed, productive and efficient! A state of health and alertness that not even the strongest morning coffee could replace.
Enjoyed that post? You may also enjoy the post on 'self care' tips for busy days.