Your evening routine plays a major role in determining how productive, efficient, and well-rested you are during the day. Here are 7 useful rituals to help you wind down in the evening for a good night’s sleep.
If the end of your day is rushed, you will continue to run at that level even while you sleep. But the more rested you are when you go to bed, the faster your batteries recharge overnight and the more energetic you’ll feel the next day. Try to use part of your evening routine to consciously relax. You should let yourself slow down, unplug from unnecessary stimuli, and become quieter.
Here are some ideas to help ease your transition into sleep:
- Breathing exercises
- A hot bath or shower
- Taking a walk
- Drinking tea
Digital detox during your evening routine
Try to stop your digital consumption the last two hours before going to bed and turn off your screens. The blue light from smartphones, tablets, and laptops inhibit your body’s melatonin production. One of this hormone’s main tasks is ensuring you get a restful sleep.
Bright light, on the other hand, promotes serotonin production, which makes you feel more alert and can make it difficult to fall asleep. Plus, staying up late scrolling Instagram or Twitter can be emotionally stressful. Upsetting thoughts have no place in a good bedtime routine and can derail the best sleeping habits.
Eat a balanced meal
A balanced dinner is an important part of your evening. This should be filling, but not too heavy. After all, you’re not looking for your stomach to rumble throughout the whole night.
It’s best to eat dinner three hours before bedtime and follow these simple rules if you want to help your digestion at night: avoid foods with a high glycemic index and foods that cause gas; avoid alcohol and caffeine and drink soothing herbal teas like lemon balm, chamomile, or lavender instead.
Here are a few more foods that can promote sleep and round out your evening meal:
- dark chocolate
- bok choy
Tip: Make sure you keep yourself fueled with a well-rounded vitamin intake. Your body will thank you with more energy and better performance. Our Daily Vitamins supply the right dose of vitamins every day – an ideal addition to your evening routine.
Move your body
Exercising during the day has been shown to help you get more restful sleep at night. But your HIIT workout is best left to your morning routine. An intense workout after the first few hours of the day might inadvertently give you some trouble falling asleep.
If you’d like to move around in the evening to relax both body and mind, let us suggest a yoga session. Yin yoga or a gentle hatha flow might be just the thing to ease yourself into a restful state. Moderate mobility training can also do your body good after a long day. Even just a few minutes of stretching will not only benefit your fascia and muscles, but also your mind.
Feed your mind with your evening routine
Your evening routine is the perfect occasion to nourish not only your body, but your mind as well. You may have spent the whole day crunching numbers, leading meetings, or preparing presentations. Now, in the evening, you can let the analytical, left side of your brain switch off and the right, creative brain area can take over. Spend at least half an hour before bed doing things that inspire you and make you feel like your best self.
- Learn something new in a nonfiction book or novel
- Listen to podcasts or audiobooks on topics you’re excited about
- Keep a diary
- Meditate or cultivate another spiritual practice
- Paint, draw, craft, or try out another artistic hobby
- Take online courses for personal development
- Cook or bake
Reflect on your day
A successful evening routine benefits from taking a few moments to check in with yourself about your day. The best way to do this is to go get yourself a journal and answer at least one of the following questions with some bedtime writing.
- What challenge(s) did I overcome today?
- What am I most proud of?
- What am I grateful for today?
- What are my three biggest takeaways from today?
Tip: You can also use a journal to track your habits and get a record of some of the things you’ve accomplished during the day. For example: Did you drink enough water? Did you do your digital detox in the evening? Did you do yoga or meditate? This can function as a great energy and mood barometer and can give you a good overview of which habits are really helping you and what might need some tweaking.
Write a to-do list for tomorrow
To wrap up your day and start the next one ready-to-go, you can make to-do lists a part of your bedtime routine. This way, you won’t have any lingering tasks haunting your mind at night, and you can sleep soundly knowing that everything will still be there in the morning, waiting for you to start fresh.
Make a note of anything you haven’t completed today and what you really want to do tomorrow, and denote which projects have priority.
- Evening routines are just as important as morning routines, so give it just as much attention.
- Your evening routine plays a major role in determining your sleep quality and energy levels the next day.
- Make sure you relax, avoid digital consumption as much as possible, and exercise only gently.
- Eat balanced meals, but nothing too heavy.
- Creative activities can enrich your nighttime routine.
Gangwisch, J. E.; Hale, L.; St-Onge et al. (2019): High glycemic index and glycemic load diets as risk factors for insomnia: analyses from the Women’s Health Initiative, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 111 (2), 429 – 439.
Sleep Foundation: Study: Physical Activity Impacts Overall Quality of Sleep,