After a long hard day
Most of us want to kick back and relax! Honestly, this winter has been particularly taxing. Sometimes I’m thinking it’s getting close to bedtime and it’s only seven o’clock! Setting up an evening routine customized to your own life is ideal for a better night’s sleep and a better tomorrow!
Last week we talked about the importance of a morning routine. This week let’s talk about how the few hours leading up to your bedtime will improve your life and set the foundation to your success building at home while working and while having fun.
Sleep deprivation is an epidemic in our world. We are wired up on caffeine all day long and, for many consuming alcohol in the evenings, which makes us uninhibited when filling our bodies with junk food. Hopefully, this 90 Days to a Better You Challenge leads you to make healthier decisions, but I get it. “Rome wasn’t built in a day”; therefore, neither will our habits be.
An Evening Routine for A Better Night’s Sleep is telling yourself that even though you are tired and want to give up on the day, you will intentionally set yourself up for success. Planning an evening routine is an intentional act that will better your sleep and the next day.
Light Pollution and Blue Light Effects on Your Health
What if I tell you that one of the easiest ways for all the weeks we have traveled so far collide with this: An Evening Routine for a Better Night’s Sleep. Why? The evening is when we are naturally the most exhausted. That is how God designed us—the world is created to have the light of day and the darkness of night. Until we started lighting it up in a very unnatural way, not all that long ago, only places like Vegas and New York City had massive light pollution. The lights were to stimulate you to stay awake for spending big money on nightlife or prevent crime. Now light pollution is virtually everywhere.
An article on Light Pollution and why it matters.
Look up where you live.
What You Can Do to Limit Light Exposure In Your Home
I agree that there is little you can do to prevent light pollution outside of your home, but we can address the light pollution inside our homes. In the evenings, remarkably, the blue light that is standard on TVs, computers, tablets, and now on almost every gadget that plugs in is detrimental to sleep. It is almost comical the amount of light that comes from household items even when turned off if it weren’t sad. Even in the dark, our homes light up like a Christmas tree. For better sleep and a lower electric bill, unplug the things that are unused daily.
In the evenings, it is crucial to set auto night shift or blue light filter on auto-schedule. (I have mine n 24/7 on my computer and my phone. I know that seems extreme, but I find I sleep better, my eyes aren’t as irritated, and I prefer a warm glow.)
**Additional fact about blue light is that it is prematurely aging our skin and causing damage to our eyes. The studies are just getting started.
Setting an Evening Routine for A Better Night’s Sleep
- Block Outside Light
- Shades or curtains are beneficial if you have a lot of artificial light coming into your home in the evenings. (Particularly in a City)
- Blackout Curtains in the bedroom are essential to limit light while you sleep.
- Cleaning up the day’s mess
Each evening after dinner, cleaning up your surroundings is a declaration that you expect good things tomorrow as well as less that could be on your mind when you should be falling asleep.
Although it seems better to leave the mess be, you will deeply regret that decision in the morning. Waking up to a sink full of dishes, a messy living room, and a table that you have to clear off before you can even sit down at it is not exactly going to put you in a great mood. However, coming down the stairs to a tidy area, with coffee ready to be poured, brings a particular “The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music” moment. This will most certainly stir feelings of freshness instead of the smell of stinky garbage in the kitchen can.
Specifically, concentrate on your kitchen by putting away dishes, wiping counters, getting the coffee prepped, and emptying the garbage.
Put away the clutter from the day, fold up the blankets, and make sure your breakfast table is cleared of clutter and cleaned
Set out in the Evening everything you need for your Morning Routine-
**Always set out your Planner for your 15 minutes of planning in the morning.
Planning on Working Out in the morning?
Set out your FitBit, Sneakers, Water Bottle, etc
Want to do some study time first thing in the morning?
Set your space with the materials you need.
Walking the Dog?
Set out the leash, appropriate clothing for the weather predicted.
Have to go to work outside your home?
Set out your keys, work-related materials.
Trying to stick to healthy eating?
Maybe prep your meals the night before.
Know what you are wearing tomorrow!
This seems so necessary, but this is a “make or break” moment.
By doing this in the evening, you are limiting decision fatigue in the morning! Most of us are fatigued enough in the morning. Another benefit is you will not try on five different things, mess up your bedroom and run late for your day.
You will look your best.
**If you work from home, this is not an excuse to look like a slob. For yourself, you will feel more confident and be more productive. For your spouse, it’s only fair. How did you go out of your way to look good when you were dating? The point is to shower and dress up. Be clean and neat, if nothing else.
Create a relaxing part of your evening routine
- Bath with Epsom salts
- Light candles and play soft music
- Drink a cup of tea
- Read a book
- Write in your journal.
- Take care of your skin.
Your skin repairs itself as you sleep. Prep your skin with a good skin care regimen for your skin type.
Limit nighttime snacking.
- Ideally, you should not eat past 7 pm. If you are super hungry, that will disrupt your sleep. Choose to eat light and have protein. No sugar. No caffeine. (after 3 pm)
- Turn those screens off!
- We all know it by now, but we don’t do it very quickly. One hour before bed, go screenless.
- Listen to something or read a book.
- Set a bedtime and stick to it
- Pick a time that gives you adequate hours of sleep that coordinate with your wake-up time.