Evening routine: The art of good sleep
I'm a total geek when it comes to optimising productivity and lifestyle habits. It's something I've read a lot about and experimented with extensively.
Over the years, I've been able to refine my evening routine to a few simple habits that really improve my quality of sleep and make my evenings more enjoyable.
Nothing original here. Just tried-and-tested gems that I stole from other people, and now you can steal from me.
But before I reveal all my secrets, let me first point out that many people's insomnia and evening anxiety comes down their personal views about life; the beliefs or values they hold. These issues need to be addressed for permanent relief of stress and insomnia. You need to be okay with life; with reality.
Regardless, these simple habits will give your body a more natural progression towards the land of dreams.
1. Turn your smartphone off at night
Most people's cell phones are the root cause of late nights. Smartphones and the internet are both amazing tools, but in the hand of a bored and curious mind, it's a recipe for late nights and sleep deprivation. The blue light, the radiation and mental stimulation keep you awake. Turn that sucker off, or at least put it on “do not disturb mode” and out of sight.
2. Turn the internet and computer off
For the same reasons as above. All that visual, mental stimulation will keep you up. The internet and all that work you need to do will be there in the morning.
3. Dim the lights
There are no LED lights in nature. Try using candles, salt lamps and other warm natural lighting instead of your normal bright lighting. The natural amber light won’t mess with hormones and wakefulness.
4. Have a notepad on hand
If you're like me and have an active mind, lots of ideas and questions may pop into your mind during the evening. Rather than Googling them or forgetting about them, just write them down. Next, have a good-old-fashioned think about them. It's a powerful habit. By the morning, you may have already worked some of the questions, or found them to be no longer relevant.
5. Plan the day ahead
Put pen to paper at the end of each day and plan out what needs to done tomorrow. Getting clear about these details will allow you to rest easy each night and attack the following day with direction and vigour. Personally, I use a bullet journal in conjunction with my digital calendar.
6. Embrace boredom
From boredom comes genius. In these moments of free time and boredom, we can have some of our greatest insights and ideas. Many of humanity's most brilliant minds took walks, sat quietly and just pondered over their thoughts. The thinking mind is not evil; use it constructively.
6. Read a book
Since you have already turned off all your tech, you may as well go with the theme and read a good old fashioned book. Personally, I get into biographies and fiction novels in the pm as they are not too heavy in content. Despite being entertaining and educational, it can help you wind down and drift off to sleep more easily.
Despite what I have listed above, you really don’t need to do any of these things if they don’t appeal to you. If you can end each day with a sense of gratitude and wake with a sense of excitement, it's amazing how much your experience of life improves. The right attitude is key, and doing these other things just helps your body meet its basic needs. To become neurotic about rest and “me time” is far more unhealthy than a late night.
When the sun goes down, put your tech down. There is a more intelligent time to be playing with YouTube, Google or Facebook. They are amazing tools, but I'd suggest limiting their use for daytime hours mostly. Replace the screens with interesting conversations, romance, relaxation, reflection or a good old book.
If you have any other tips you have found useful in your own evening routine please comment below to share them with other readers.