Most people don’t like the idea of a bedtime or evening routine. “I have a set routine for my day, why do I need to fix a routine even after work? Isn’t it time for some booze, good food, Netflix, and chill?” Well, you are right, this is a perfect plan for an unplanned weekend. Though tempting, these are all productivity killers. Bad evening habits will tarnish the quality of sleep and impair the prosperity of the next day. So, what can an ideal routine for evening and night may look like? The simplistic feature of a night routine must be mindfulness. The idea of mindfulness is to improve your health and wellness by reminding yourself to always live in the moment.
A bedtime routine helps signal to the body that it's time to sleep. It helps individuals wind down and relax, making it easier to fall asleep. A consistent bedtime routine can help regulate the body's internal clock and improve sleep quality. When we have better sleep quality, we wake up feeling more rested, alert, and ready to take on the day. The following are a few mindful ways to end your day which can help you relax for a better night’s sleep and a productive tomorrow. 1. Shower After Work
Research has shown that warm showers are associated with regulating and lowering our core temperature. Showers are a great way to practice mindfulness. Often when we shower, we automatically start thinking about a lot of random things. Sometimes you forget to shampoo or sometimes you forget to apply the conditioner due to this train of thought. Instead, try to block out everything from your brain and just feel the trickling of water on your skin, its warmth, the smell of soap, and the rhythm of your breath. Focus on the moment and forget everything. This is not easy but every time you lose focus, relock your mind onto the present and with repeated practice, the process will be easier.
2. Dress Comfortably
Avoid tight and skin-fit clothes at home. With the formal fit, our mind creates a sense of continuity and makes us feel that our day is not yet over. Always opt for XL t-shirts and cotton pants or any other comfortable and light substitution. It would be best if you switch to a nightshirt and pajamas. Once you have got your clothes on, let your mind feel them, and it will automatically drive towards relaxation.
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3. Evening Tea
Tea means tea and not coffee if you are not planning on submitting a project on the deadline. Coffee can be one of those reasons why you constantly flip in bed to find your sleep. If you don’t like tea, you can use anything — hot chocolate, juice, wine, soda, or even a snack. The point is to consume it mindfully, if only for a few minutes. Again, pay attention to the warmth of the beverage you are consuming, its aroma, and the steam rising from it. Take the first few sips slowly and let them linger on your taste buds. Even a minute or two of mindfulness before you start drinking your tea normally will reap massive benefits.
4. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
One of the best mindful activities to practice are body scans and progressive muscle relaxation. This involves taking a moment to check in with your body by paying attention to how it feels, one muscle group at a time. This involves lying down and then clenching or flexing your toes for ten seconds or so and then releasing. Focus on how the area feels and then move up to flex your ankle and your calves. This can be very relaxing but it can also help you to identify areas that might need a good stretch or a light massage. This drastically increases your focus and concentration on the present and gets you the right dose of mindfulness.
5. Read Books
Reading books is like money, you will never hear from a wise man that he has enough of both. Ditch your Netflix and enter the world of literary wisdom. It does a much better job of increasing the levels of your mindfulness because it’s impossible to read and do something else at the same time. Your eyes and mind are focused on one activity – accelerating the act of subduing your thoughts and thereby readying your brain for sleep. Reading will instill tranquility in your mind and simplify the act of shutting down your thoughts – securing uninterrupted restfulness.
6. Ditch Alcohol and Excess Food
During the weekdays you should refrain from heavy dinners and booze. Studies show that alcohol and immoderately filling meals like fries, pizza, or tacos take longer to digest and also harden the task of falling asleep. It is not always possible to have a light meal at night because some or other occasions will pop up always, be it your friend’s birthday or anniversary or corporate meetings. Hence when you are with yourself, you should avoid heavy meals and alcohol at night. After this, your Saturday night meal will become a highly satisfying event, not just a recurring eating habit.
But can we satisfy our hunger with such limited food? The answer is yes if we eat mindfully. We don’t pay attention to the food we are eating and hence our brain fails to register how much food we are eating. Chew your food until you can feel all the ingredients of the dish on your tastebuds. Consciously, tell your brain that you are eating this dish. I guarantee you, if you try this, you will feel full even with a light meal.
7. Keep Journaling
Journaling is powerful at any point in time irrespective of day or night. Check whether all the goals that you have set for the day are achieved or not. If not why you failed to achieve them? This is the perfect opportunity to sit in stillness and pay attention to your mind and body. What are your thoughts on doing this? What emotions are you experiencing? Write them down. This will help you to not only be mindful of how you are feeling before you go to sleep but will likely also help you sleep better because all your pressing thoughts or ideas will be down on a piece of paper and not running on your mind.
8. Practice Gratitude
One final step before you drift off to sleeping peacefully is to practice gratitude. Mindfulness is about living in the moment. Be grateful that you have food on your plate, a roof above your head, and your parents or partner or children who are proud of you. Sometimes the moment isn’t so pleasant but there’s always something or someone to be grateful for and science shows that being grateful has several physical, mental, and emotional health benefits. Being grateful overall shapes your personality down to earth and always humble.
Finally, establishing a bedtime routine can help improve time management. When we have a set routine, we are better able to plan our day and ensure that we have enough time for all of our activities. A consistent bedtime routine can also help us avoid procrastination and ensure that we get enough sleep each night. A consistent bedtime routine is important for both children and adults. By making a bedtime routine a priority, we can enjoy the many benefits of a good night's sleep.
Try these steps and you will see for yourself how your life changes. Try avoiding those web series as you know they always end on a cliffhanger intentionally so that you can’t stop yourself from streaming the next episode. After all the streaming you go to bed around 2 AM and your next day's routine gets messed up.
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