9 things every person should do after 9pm
This is part 3 of the series Building An Effective Daily Routine.
When it comes to winding down, establishing consistent habits before bed can help signal to your body that it's time for rest. Your nightly routine should involve activities that make you feel centered and relaxed. This will result in a more restful and higher quality sleep, in which you will find it easier to tackle the morning as your mind and body will be performing better.
1. Turn Off Tech
We're all guilty of it: checking our email one last time or watching one more instagram story, right before bed. But these habits can greatly hinder our sleep. Research from the National Sleep Foundation shows that the light emitted from digital devices like tablets, computers, phones, and TVs signal our brain to stay awake.
Our bodies’ cycles are driven by an internal clock known as our circadian rhythm, controlled by light that enters your eyes. By exposing yourself to lighted devices, you are sending a confusing message to your own internal clock, which in turn can cause sleeplessness.The brain needs a chance to avoid stimulation before sleeping - that's why experts recommend that you turn off these devices at least a half-hour before you go to bed. So pop your devices on sleep mode, silenced and screen down. Better yet, move them out of the bedroom entirely and get an old school alarm clock.
Do the dishes, prepare lunches and put away your clothes. Going to bed with chaos is not a vibe. Give your space a quick tidy so that you end and start your day with a clean and calm state.
3. Read a book
We all know the benefits of reading; increased brain power, creativity and emotional intelligence - just for starters. In addition to these benefits, reading before you sleep can relax you significantly, as it allows your muscles to relax and slows down your breathing, leaving you feeling calmer. Try our Book Club for starters.
4. Plan for the next day
“Get a head start on tomorrow, tonight” - Barack Obama
Making a to-do list as you wind down, reduces the stress and worry from your mind that can disturb sleep. Any issues or problems that you’re trying to work out for the next day - write it down. While our conscious mind rests, our unconscious is busy making sense of the day’s events and filing them away in long-term memory. Do you wake up the next day with new thoughts or solutions in your head (or perhaps a scenario played out in a dream?). That’s your unconscious mind working things out for you.
5. Spend quality time with your loved ones
Take the time to wind down by connecting with your loved ones; this could be in the form of chatting to your partner about your day, calling your grandparents to check in, play with your kids or snuggle your pets. Feeling connection is the perfect way to end a busy day.
6. Take care of your skin
Take off your makeup (if applicable), cleanse, exfoliate (2-3 times a week), maybe put on a sneaky mask, or apply your favourite oil or moisturiser. Doing so will get rid of the build-up of oil and sloughed-off skin cells on the skin’s surface plus you remove the lingering environmental pollution from your day (resulting in your skin being in better condition and healthier to combat wrinkles and acne). It doesn’t need to be complicated, plus it’s a nice routine that will get your mind and body ready for bed.
7. Cull the caffeine and stop eating
If you’re experiencing sleeping problems, cutting back on caffeine is generally a good idea, even black tea. Caffeine can . activate the central nervous system and give your brain a restless night.
It’s also a good idea to avoid eating a particularly heavy meal late in the evening — you want to go to bed satiated but not overly full - which will allow your body to start digesting before your head hits the pillow.
If you don’t journal in your morning routine, consider adding the activity at night. It’s the perfect way to unwind and let go of anything that happened that day.
Write down your peaks and troughs of the day, what you learnt and any lingering thoughts or reflections that you don’t want in your head. Need some help? Try our Free Resource: Self-Reflection and Self-Discovery Journal Prompts Guide.
9. Get to sleep
Adults (humans over the age of 18) should be getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. Use the ‘Bedtime’ component of your iphone to ensure that you’re getting the right amount of sleep. A lack of sleep can result in altered gut flora, disrupted hormone system, brain fog, memory issues and weight gain.