The night is time for yourself. Personal and professional development depends on whether you spend it lying on the couch or doing something useful. But to make the most of the time, you can create a night time routine that can increase your productivity. We often read about how to start the day and what should be done in the morning to start the day right. However, successful people are active and productive all day. Even in the evening, when the only thing you want to do is watch TV.
The night is the beginning of the next day and the quality of sleep depends on what we do in the evening. The night time is often greatly underestimated in terms of transforming our lives and starting healthy habits. We collected a few evening rituals that will give you energy, productivity, and a good mood in a new day.
What to add to your night time routine
The first part of creating a night time routine is deciding the habits you won’t to add to your routine. Just like putting together a solid morning routine, habits are everything. Here’s a few good habits you should consider adding to your nightly routine.
Doctors advise taking ten thousand steps a day. But often we don’t have enough time to do this. The evening is a great time for a simple yet relaxing activity.
Go for a short walk before bed. It’ll help step over the worries and problems of the day. You can enjoy the peace and ponder the ideas that excite you. Besides, regular walking improves your health.
Use walking as a way to clear your head in the evenings. The last thing you want to do before putting your head on the pillow at night is have thoughts that keep you awake
Analyze your day
Benjamin Franklin considered time to be the most valuable resource and was careful about spending it. Every evening he asked “What have I done today?” and then analyzed his day. It allowed Franklin to understand what successes he achieved and what he still has to do.
You can try this method, too. Five to ten minutes of self-analysis as part of a night time routine will help to track progress and adjust your plans.
Use your nights as a time to reflect.
Many of the great thinkers and successful people in history would read before going to bed.
Reading inspires and helps generate new ideas. In addition to being a way to stimulate you, if you’re struggling with insomnia, reading is also a way to wind down and prepare for sleep.
What you should read depends on your taste. I recommend some light fiction if you’re using reading to help you fall asleep at night. If you’re using it to be more productive at nights, read something in self-improvement or biographical.
Finally, don’t read in low lighting. If you use electronic readers, reduce the screen brightness to a minimum, and keep the reader at a distance, at least several inches from your face.
Morning meditation helps to get into a productive mode. But it’s even better to meditate twice a day. Do a simple mindfulness meditation practice in the evenings.
Take a comfortable pose. Let thoughts flow naturally and don’t try to focus on something or ignore anything that arises. Everything that filled you during the day should remain in the past. An evening meditation will help clear the mind and bring the coming day with an openness to a new experience.
Our brains associate light with the production of melatonin and cortisol. When it gets dark, the level of melatonin rises. It allows us to relax. In the evening, the level of cortisol increases, and the body is ready for rest. At least that’s what nature intended.
But in the 21st century, people use laptops, tablets, and smartphones before going to bed. It’s one of the reasons why you should arrange a curfew before bedtime. Cut off stimulating device usage at least a few hours before sleeping. Using these devices right before bed can negatively affect your sleep quality.
Use airplane mode on your devices at night. Allow yourself some peace of mind and your sleep will not be disturbed by a notification of comments on a photo, or by email newsletter, or random text messages.
Before going to bed, the mind is as sensitive to information as in the morning. Therefore, the evening is an excellent time for setting intentions and using affirmations to lift your spirits and mood.
Use positive affirmations:
- to stimulate self-confidence;
- to set yourself up for success;
- to separate yourself from the opinions of others;
- to focus on your goals;
- to motivate yourself to work hard.
It’s essential to create an affirmation correctly, as well as pronounce it out loud (preferably in front of a mirror). Think of it as a slow self-programming practice where maintaining this regular routine can completely change your mindset.
Keep a diary or journal
Keeping a personal diary or mindfulness journal is not a whim of graphomania. Psychologists say that by expressing feelings and thoughts on paper or electronically, we live a more conscious life. Sometimes a diary record allows you to open and solve problems lurking deep in the subconscious. Other times, it’s a way to develop self-awareness and express yourself.
The evening is the perfect time to spend writing. Don’t know what to write? Write about the events of the outgoing day, about what saddened or pleased you today, about the people with whom you spoke, about yourself and your behavior.
Planning the day the night before is an essential part of your night time routine. It will:
- Save you time (no need to spend it in the morning);
- Prepare you for action (waking up, you already know what to do).
Planning techniques are individual. You can create your own planning method or use one of the dozens available on the internet. However, the general rule is as follows: write down all the tasks you want to tackle, and then sort them by importance and urgency.
The correct planning allows establishing your priorities. When you finished creating the to-do list, you need to prioritize the tasks. Choose the three most important of them. You should prioritize them in terms of what helps you get closer to achieving your goal and contribute to progress.
After that, split these three tasks into smaller subtasks. Number them: No.1 — to do before 11 AM, No.2 — to do after No.1, No.3 — to do during lunch, and so on. In this case, you will get a detailed plan for the next day. And this, in turn, motivates. After all, when you sorted everything out, it’s easier to work.
We recommend doing this routine after you are already in bed. Close your eyes and think about those who made you happy. Say thank you to your friend for picking you up at your job, or the waitress for serving you, or a spouse for supporting you in any situation. There are countless things to be grateful for.
Gratitude is a positive emotion that not only strengthens interpersonal relationships but also motivates you. Falling asleep with pleasant thoughts, you set yourself up on doing good things tomorrow.
What to avoid doing at night
When creating a night time routine, there’s a few things you should avoid. A great routine isn’t only about what you add to your routine, but what you also avoid.
Social media can contribute to stress hormones production. It seems that there’s nothing wrong with checking messages before going to bed, but this can interfere with healthy sleep.
When we use social networks, hormonal changes occur in the brain. It sends a signal to the adrenal glands, which begin to produce cortisol and adrenaline intensively. These stress hormones produce a wave of energy not needed before bedtime. In the long run, increased production of these hormones harms thinking and contributes to the development of anxiety and depression.
Avoid surfing social networks at night to maintain a calm and peaceful state before sleep.
Alcohol has a damaging effect on sleep quality. If you drink, you can feel drowsy, but your sleep will be weak. Alcohol affects the phase change of sleep, so you often wake up and spend less time in deep dream sleep (REM sleep). If you want to relax, drink a glass of herbal tea or warm milk before going to sleep.
Keep physical activity to a minimum
It’s usually better to work out in the first half of the day. Exercising right before bed can elevate your heart rate and get your blood pumping, making it more difficult to fall asleep.
If you’re one of those people who regularly exercise, don’t quit. Just remember that evening workouts may not have the best effect on sleep quality. Try experimenting with your workout times.
Physical activity is beneficial for your health, but you need to find the right time for it. Late workouts can disrupt sleep by knocking down the body’s circadian rhythms. Doing physical activity in the evenings, we send a signal that we’ll need a lot of energy shortly. So it can be hard to fall asleep.
Exercise in the morning, so you can increase your mood and productivity. If you want some physical activity in the evenings, try a light walk.
No phone in bed
The screens of smartphones and other electronic devices emit blue light that interrupts sleep and contributes restlessness at night. Another reason to keep your phone out of bed is that it will improve your ability to stick to a regular sleep schedule at night. Instead of becoming distracted by your phone for hours at night, go to bed without your phone.
A bed is a place for sleep. If you write work emails while lying under a blanket, your brain associates the bed with work. Even if you use your phone to read at night, try a physical book or reading device like a Kindle instead.
Avoid food at night
Eating right before bed can disrupt your ability to fall asleep at night. If you’re craving a snack in the evenings, try drinking water or decaf tea to stave off late night cravings.
Creating a night time routine allows you to improve your life. Habits and routines can help you achieve goals that seemed to be unachievable. But you should do it correctly. Avoid bad habits like drinking alcohol or eating at night. Don’t use your smartphone and other devices at least a few hours before sleep.
Instead of this, add to your life something new like keeping a diary, meditation, and regularly planning the next day. Don’t forget about regular walking. These night time routine rules will clear your mind and create more productive evenings and restful nights.