How To Create Your Ideal Evening Routine

How often have you woken up in a bad mood after a night of tossing and turning? It’s no secret that getting 6-8 hours of shut-eye a night plays an important role in our physical and mental wellbeing.

Sleep is an essential function that allows your body - and mind - to recharge. Without it, your body cannot function at its highest potential, leading to low performance in daily activities, reduced concentration, imbalanced appetites, and mental and physical exhaustion. 

There are many factors which can affect sleeping patterns - busy work schedules, stress, anxiety, a disruptive bedroom environment, medical conditions, and so on. Nighttime routines also commonly factor into sleep quality, and your activities during the evening hours can have a big impact on your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep each night.

When you were a child, your parents may have focused on creating a night-time routine and cues to signal that it’s your bed-time, however as adults, we no longer continue with that wind-down routine. More than often, we’re so glad the evening is here that we slump on the couch to watch a show, maybe grab a glass of wine, and might even dive into some late night snacks as we scroll through social media. All of these are sleep-disruptors - and it’s time to create an evening routine to help you get a good night’s sleep, tonight and every night. 


Here are some tips on how to create a healthy evening routine:

  • An hour before bed, have a warm bath or shower. 

The warm water can help relax your muscles and help wash away any stresses or worries of the day. Studies have found that dropping your body temperature via a warm bath or shower can trigger a sleepy reaction. Your body will heat up from the water, and cool down quickly as the water evaporates, creating a sensation that makes you feel tired and relaxed.


  • Decide on a set bedtime

Decide on your bed, and wake-up times, and stick to them every day - yes, even on weekends! Following a consistent sleep routine helps train your brain to naturally feel tired when it’s bedtime. Next, schedule a time to begin your bedtime routine every night, anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours before bed. Set an alarm if you need to.

  • Avoid stimulants in the afternoon and night

Caffeine can stay elevated in your blood for 6–8 hours. Therefore, drinking large amounts of coffee or energy drinks after 3pm is not recommended if you’re looking for a restful night’s sleep.

  • ​​Set up a good environment for sleep.
  • Adjust your bedroom to a comfortable temperature, opening the windows if needed. Reduce blue light exposure by avoiding your TV, phone, laptop, and any electronic device for at least 2 hours before bed.  Keep your phone in the other room, not your bedroom, to reduce the temptation of late-night scrolling. I also like to turn the Wi-Fi off each night!

    • Relax your mind for at least 30 minutes before you try to fall asleep with some evening journal prompts.

    A night journal helps you put the day to bed. It is a chance to evaluate the day, accept that it has happened, and then to let it go. It draws a line between today and tomorrow - allowing you to awake to a fresh start. Below are some prompts to launch your evening journaling routine. 

  • What has been great today?
  • Describe your favourite moment of the day 
  • What three things are you grateful for today?
  • What brought you joy today?
  • How are you feeling right now?
  • Describe something you did to make someone happy today

    • Complete a breathwork practice to bring your body to a state of calm and relaxation, ready for sleep.

    Repeating a night-time breathwork session when you’re wrapped up in bed is a great way to let go of the day and ease into a peaceful sleep. 

    The below 4-7-8 breathing technique, also known as ‘relaxing breath’, involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds.

     

    Before starting this breathing pattern, adopt a comfortable lying position, perhaps with a pillow under your knees and a blanket on top of you, and close your eyes. 

     

    Now let’s begin with the following breathing pattern:

     

    1. Start with a big breath, filling the lungs, and then a big exhale. Repeat 5-6 times.

    2. Begin the 4-7-8 breathing cycle and breathe in through the nose for 4 seconds. Hold the breath for a count of 7 seconds. Exhale forcefully through the mouth for 8 seconds, pursing your lips and making a “whoosh” sound.

    3. Repeat this inhale and exhale pattern up to 4 times.

    4. Take a big breath in and then an immediate sigh out. Repeat this three times.

    5. Continue with the 4-7-8 breathing pattern and repeat up to 4 times.

    6. Take a big breath in and then an immediate sigh out. Repeat this three times.

    7. Continue with the 4-7-8 breathing pattern and repeat up to 4 times

    8. If you haven’t fallen asleep and would like to bring your awareness back to your surroundings, take a deep breath in to fill your lungs and sigh out. Repeat and then slowly open your eyes.

    Key things to remember in this breathwork practice:

    • As you hold your breath, soften your body into your bed, as you exhale let go of your day.

    • Allow yourself to relax deeper down into the breath. Starting from the top of your head, down to your toes, release all tensions from the day.

    • Feel the breath coming and going. Let go of any worries, releasing on the exhale. Let the breath move down through the body, creating waves of sleepy breath. Letting yourself feel more and more comfortable as you fall deeper into your breath and into sleep.


    • Allow your mind to only focus on your breath. If the mind is wandering, soften it with the breath and focus back to your breath.

    • As you start to drift away to sleep, don’t fight it - let yourself drop deeper and deeper.

    Sleep can be seen as the action that keeps your body running at its fullest potential, and it should not be taken lightly. So try and get plenty of it! If you’d like to understand more about establishing a healthy evening routine, as well as a morning routine to start your day positively, join me in my 10 Day Show Up & Shine program

    What does your bedtime routine look like?


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