Home from work after a long day means ample blob time partaking in a whole lotta nothin’, right? Wrong. (Sorry that was a stitch up…) It turns out the way we wind down before bed may have a pretty huge impact on our lives. From the way we interact with friends and strangers, to our mentality and efficiency during the day, having a night time routine is meant to be well, the bees knees.
Truth be told, this took us by surprise. Much like you, our night times currently consist of pb&j toast in front of the telly as we get our Netflix binge on and ignore the many tasks that are ticking away at us. Fold the washing? No thanks. Unload the dishwasher? Na-uh. Change your three-week-old sheets? Psssst, that definitely ain’t a one-person-job.
So yes, it’s fair to say we are very much lacking an effective night time routine. Don’t fret though, we’ve collated together the how-to’s and the benefits a routine will bring you—and exactly why you need to start one. Right, about, now.
1. Tidy Exterior = Tidy Interior
Let us guess, you heard the word tidy and ran a hundred miles? It’s not as bad as you may think. Studies show that less clutter in your bedroom results in less clutter in your mind. When you think about this, it makes a lot of sense. Falling asleep at night with a half-made bed, clothes all over the floor and three cups of tea on the bedside table doesn’t exactly make you feel like you’ve got your life on check. Hence this easy solution, take five minutes to de-clutter the bedroom and make it an area resembling serenity. Light a candle or get a diffuser going and play some soft music. Whatever it may be, just make sure your mind isn’t having a mini-freak-out at the amount of mess it can see. #OCDmuch.
2. Put Down That Third Helping Of Lasagne
We agree, this one’s not so fun. It involves having a little self-control and time-management. Researcher John de Castro conducted a food study with 900 men and women and the results showed those who ate less hearty dinners had much better sleeps than those who had super stodgy dinners. What he suggests is having your largest meal in the morning, rather than at dinnertime like many Western diets suggest. Again, this makes sense. There has been multiple nights where we’ve ended up in a food coma so bad we couldn’t get to sleep and trust us, it ain’t a swell time. Plus, a lighter dinner means you’ll be less bloated in the morning and ready for a hella-good (and big!) breakfast—Win-Win.
3. Exercise Is Not An Evening Activity
There’s a little bit of controversy around this one as it’s more of a trial and error approach. Many people find that exercising too close to bedtime causes restlessness. Exercise releases endorphins through the body which stimulates positivity and improved energy. We’ll take all the positivity we can anytime of the day, but increased energy isn’t exactly the golden ticket to a good nights sleep. Light yoga or a gentle walk is fine, but cardio should be kept for the AM only—sorry all you late risers, it’s time to start grindin’ with the early morning gym bunnies.
4. Switch Off Technology
Bedtime is for winding down, so it’s no surprise going to bed with your iPad and scrolling through a demanding list of emails is off the cards. It’ll amaze you how many of us do just this before bed—knowing it’s only keeping our brain more alert. What’s more, the light emitted by screens on all smart devices suppresses the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls our sleep/wake cycle or circadian rhythm. Research shows just 30 minutes without technology can dramatically improve your quality of sleep—and stress! We like to think of it as a cycle, the less sleep we get, the more stressed we are. Therefore, we’re only benefiting ourselves by putting that screen down. Come on guys, we know you can do it.
5. Let The Creative Juices Flow
Now that the technology is switched off most of us are at a limb of what to do… Ahemmm remember the days when people actually read hard copy books? Yep, pick one of those up and absorb the wishes and woes of someone else’s life. Or, grab a note pad and jot down all the good things that happened in your day. The happiest people keep gratitude diaries, so why not end your day remembering all the reasons you love your life? Another tip, boil the kettle and pour yourself a warm mug of your favourite tea as you wind down. The end of the day is all about relaxation and getting yourself restored to smash out another bomb AF day tomorrow!