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After a bit of thought, I decided to go for a more practical type of post. The past two posts were a bit more in the musings area, so I wanted to do something in the “routine” area. A while back I posted a morning routing for busy people. This time, we’ll focus on an evening routine.
The truth is most people focus on healthy morning routines. We want to start the day right, maybe exercise, definitely try and eat healthy. After all, a good start of the day equals good day. It’s all well and good, but I’ve found over time that you can’t really have a healthy morning routine if you don’t get a good night’s sleep. In an ideal world, we’d fall asleep as soon as we get to bed because we’d feel sleepy just at the right time to get our 7-8 hours of sleep. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world. Many people struggle with falling asleep. This hinders the quality of their sleep. As a result, they wake up tired and no matter how healthy the morning routine is, the day won’t be all that good.
The key is in the evening routine. Here are some of the tricks that helped me fall asleep faster and wake up feeling rested.
Start your evening routine 1-2 hours before you want to fall asleep
Basically, you need to start getting ready for bed early. If you go from your normal activities – maybe working on some work project you didn’t finish yet, or dishes or just scrolling through Instagram – straight to bed, you are gonna have a hard time falling & staying asleep.
Of course there’s the case when you work yourself to sleep, otherwise said you fall asleep while you work at your desk. But that’s not healthy and if you’ve experienced it at least once, you know you won’t wake up feeling refreshed in the morning. Starting your evening routine early will create a habit for your body, for your brain and after a while it will actually get easier and easier to fall asleep. But what exactly do you do in those 1-2 hours?
Turn off your electronics
Or at least stop using them as much as possible. The bright light of the screen keeps your brain in an alert state. If you feel you can’t do without, try to use it in a different way – maybe watch a movie with all lights diminished in the house. Or use them to listen to some relaxing music. But do your best to stop scrolling through social media, or exchanging text messages on your phone.
Take a warm bath
Warm, not very hot, because you don’t want to damage your skin! Otherwise, baths can be extremely relaxing. Include here your entire bath ritual – take of your makeup, brush your teeth. If you are tempted to try a glass of wine during your bath, like you see in the movies, be mindful of the effect alcohol has on you. Some people find they fall asleep more easily. I’m not one of them, on the contrary. So if you have the habit of a glass of wine in the evening, maybe even during dinner and you don’t sleep well, try giving up the wine for a few days and see how it feels. You might find you sleep better without alcohol in your body.
Diffuse essential oils
There’s a real hype around essential oils lately and if you are skeptical, I get it, I was too, especially when people wanted to convince me to buy a certain brand. Don’t worry, I’m not gonna tell you which brand to pick! I will tell you however essential oils are amazing, especially for relaxing. I love lavender and sage in the evening. Lavender actually makes me super sleepy. Sage is a bit softer, I find it very relaxing, but it doesn’t make me feel sleepy like lavender. I recently also discovered patchouli oil, it’s a stronger smell, maybe a bit difficult to get used to it at first, but now I love it. Experiment and find your favorite oil.
Evening workouts are a controversial topic. You’ll find people that swear by vigorous evening workouts cause they tire them and help them get a better night’s sleep. And you’ll also find those who’ll tell you to stay away from vigorous workouts in the evenings as they will not allow you to sleep well. Personally, I’m more in the second category. I workout early in the evening, at around 5-6 p.m. so I finish my workout at 7 p.m. at the latest. I go to bed at around 10 p.m. If I can’t squeeze in a workout until my normal hours, I’ll skip it or go for restorative or yin yoga. I love the type of restorative yoga you can actually do in bed. To recommend a few of my favorite videos:
Read a book
Try not to use a very bright light for this though. For me reading a book, in bed, it’s much more helpful than watching a movie. Yes, sometimes if the book is amazing, the effect might not be good, as I might want to “finish just one more chapter”. Until I realize it’s way past midnight. But still, if I have to pick between a book or a movie before sleep, I will always pick the book. It doesn’t tire my eyes as much, there’s no loud noise around me, the overall atmosphere is much more relaxing!
Don’t go to bed with a full stomach or feeling extremely hungry
Not exactly a step in an evening routine, but something very important to getting a good night’s sleep. In my experience both extremes can be just as damaging for your sleep. A full stomach won’t allow your body to wind down as the body needs to work to digest the food. Not to mention the risk of heartburn. But feeling extremely hungry also sends your body in a hypoglycemic state which will in turn make you feel tired when you’ll wake up in the morning. If you snack before bed time, try to avoid foods high in sugar and simple carbs. They are meant to give you energy and that’s not exactly what you need at that moment.
What are some of the things you like to include in your evening routine? Leave a comment below and let us know your favorite tips for falling asleep faster.
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