The Importance of Evening Routines

8 min read

Last Modified 6 September 2021 First Added 6 September 2021

By Shannan Humphrey

Self-care is important, and I’m sure we’ve all heard about having a healthy morning routine to start your day off the right way. However, having an evening routine is arguably just as important. After all, it can be hard to wake up on the right side of the bed when you didn’t sleep very well the night before.

Evening routines are vital for us to wind down and relax to get that great night’s sleep that we need. In this article, we’ll be talking about why evening routines are important for productivity and how you can boost your own self-care routine.

Evening routines and sleep

It’s no surprise that getting enough sleep is crucial, but how detrimental is it? And where does an evening routine come into this? Sleeping is your body’s time to relax but it also impacts your health and lifestyle. We’ve all had a bad night’s rest and woke up feeling slow and groggy at some point in our lives. Imagine feeling like this every day and trying to function – we couldn’t.

How does sleep deprivation affect us?

Sleep deprivation, or not getting enough sleep, can impact our lives and our health. Even just one night of reduced sleep can affect our response times and decision-making. Lack of sleep impacts our creativity, thinking, and learning skills as well. So, it’s no wonder that after a bad night’s sleep we tend to struggle the next day. Sleep deprivation can also impact our immune system, so too many late nights can cost you your health and wellbeing.

How much sleep do I need?

So, how much sleep do we need? Well, this changes with age. However, it’s recommended for adults to get somewhere between 7-9 hours of sleep a night. This amount of sleep is perfect for starting your day as it allows our bodies to rest and recuperate. There are two stages of sleep: REM sleep and non-REM sleep. REM is where you dream, and non-REM sleep is for deep sleep. This is where your brain starts to recover and reset itself, so it’s ready to tackle another day of learning and thinking.

Related: How Less Than 8 Hours Sleep Can Put You Into Fight or Flight Mode

With our busy lives and general stresses, it can be difficult to just jump into bed and go to sleep, let alone get 7-9 hours. Many of us struggle to fall asleep and sometimes lay there for hours with racing thoughts. But this is where having a great evening routine comes into play, it gives you time to relax and wind down so you can fall asleep quicker and earlier.

How to create an evening routine

Having an evening routine is important to kickstart a successful morning routine and is key to starting your day off right. Evening routines allow you to wind down, both physically and mentally, after a hard and long day.

Sometimes life can be stressful, so establishing an evening routine that helps you relax before bedtime allows you to sleep earlier and get better sleep to wake up the next day feeling refreshed – making a difference to feeling groggy and reaching for a coffee first thing! Here we’ve outlined some steps to creating an evening routine.

1. Tune into your circadian rhythm

The first step to creating an evening routine is starting with your biological clock. A circadian rhythm is your body’s clock that regulates sleep and alertness. Usually, this is what tells you that you’re tired and when to wake up. This can be different for everyone which explains why some of us are night owls and others are early birds.

Making sure that you work with your body clock is a good start to creating an evening routine. Pay attention to when you start to feel tired as the sun sets, this is a great time to start to wind down.

2. Set consistent times to go to sleep and wake up

Once you know your wind-down time, the next step is to set a consistent bedtime and wake-up time. Our bodies like routine, and it’s much easier to wake up feeling refreshed if you go to sleep and get up at the same times every day. This routine also helps you fall asleep faster. Set an alarm to remind you when to start to unwind and try to get ready for bed about an hour or two before you’re due to fall asleep. Set another alarm for when it’s time to close your eyes. Finally, make sure you set an alarm for getting up the next day. You can read more about early mornings in our post: How To Wake Up Early & The Benefits Of An Early Start.

Other tips for your evening routine

Now that you’ve successfully planned and organised when to go to sleep and wake up, there are plenty of things you can do during the day, and during your wind-down time.

Watch what you eat and drink

You might think that what you consume doesn’t affect your sleep schedule but it sure does. A big part of your evening routine should be what you eat or drink before bed. Make sure you eat healthy meals, as eating foods heavy on your stomach will most likely keep you awake. If you do eat a heavy meal, try to make sure to eat earlier – at least 3 hours before bedtime. If you find you need a bedtime snack, make sure it’s light.

What you drink impacts your sleep as well. During the day make sure to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water as dehydration can make you feel sluggish and tired. In your evening routine make sure not to drink caffeine, this might seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes it’s easy to grab a coffee without thinking. Try drinking herbal caffeine-free tea at night so you aren’t wide awake when you go to bed. Another one for your evening routine is to avoid alcohol, so if you’re out with friends or family, just be mindful of how much you drink. Although alcohol makes you drowsy, it doesn’t improve sleep quality and you might wake up with a headache (most of us know that hangovers aren’t fun!).

Organise and plan

A big part of your evening routine should be setting some time aside to tidy up before bed and organise things for the next day. This could be cleaning the kitchen after dinner or putting away some clean washing. Don’t forget prep as well, this might mean laying out clothes for the next day or packing your lunch. Making sure that you have a clear plan for the next day is also key, so determine what you’ll be doing and set out goals and plans. This way you’ll wake up with a clear mind, everything you need is there, and you know what you’re doing. Taking the time to do things in your evening routine means you’re less likely to forget something in the morning.

 

Stay away from screens

In your wind-down time, try to limit your screen time, whether that be watching TV, or scrolling on your tablet or mobile phone. The blue light from your devices suppresses the production of melatonin, which is the hormone that makes us tired. So, looking through social media an hour before bed may make it harder for you to fall asleep. Instead, take some time to yourself and try reading, listening to music or a podcast, or perhaps writing in a journal.

 

Meditate

Another great way to relax and get your mind and body ready for bed is to meditate or practice yoga, both are great additions to your evening routine. This gives you time to focus, relax, and releases the stress from the day so that you’re tired and ready for sleep. There are lots of mobile phone apps that offer relaxation such as Calm. There are also lots of meditation and yoga videos on YouTube that you could try. For more ways to relax, read our post on 10 Sleep Relaxation Techniques You May Not Have Heard Of.

Don’t forget to do your usual night-time ritual. This may include taking a shower or bath, brushing your teeth, wearing your favourite PJs, doing your skincare, or anything else that you might regularly do before getting into bed.

With an evening routine, it makes concluding the day so much easier and you’ll fall asleep faster and get better quality sleep. Having an evening routine is the key to feeling refreshed, getting a head start on the next day, and key for a successful morning routine. It can be hard to stick to any routine at first but if you stay organised and keep at it, you’ll eventually feel more energetic and productive every day.

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