Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

The importance of evening routines

Evening routines can be so important in helping us to relax before bed and get the best sleep possible. I’m sure we’ve all heard of self-care and how important it is to take care of ourselves, and getting good sleep is merely one form of that.

Amid the busy lives we lead, the imminent deadlines, and the general stress of life, carving out time for ourselves is not easy and is not usually at the forefront of our minds. However, this makes it even more necessary, but we shouldn’t put too much pressure on ourselves to perfect an evening routine. One thing I like to remind myself is that self-care should not be a chore, but instead an active commitment to taking care of our wellbeing.

The main thing that I have found to be most impactful was reducing my screen time during the day, but especially before going to bed. With the chaos that has been 2020, it definitely helps to not go to sleep thinking about all of the world’s problems. A good way of reducing screen time is by setting time limits on your apps to ensure that you are not spending too much time scrolling.

Taking care of ourselves is a commitment, a necessary one

I find this most useful for my social media apps where I tend to mindlessly scroll as a distraction. If this doesn’t work for you, you can also set ‘down time’ for your phone. So, at the same time every day all of your apps will temporarily lock until the time you set for them to unlock. I have my downtime set for 7:30pm -7:30am every day.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and pretend that this is something I stick to every single day, sometimes I just cannot resist the temptations of Twitter and online shopping. However, I have found that I sleep much better on the nights where I rarely used my phone compared to the nights where I scrolled endlessly down the timeline. A lot of having an effective evening routine is really just self-discipline. Taking care of ourselves is a commitment, a necessary one, but still a commitment at the end of the day. Your body will thank you for it.

Having a consistent bedtime and wake-up time also compliment an evening routine. Having a set bedtime allows you to figure out when you need to start unwinding and preparing for sleep. Don’t be disheartened if you can’t fall asleep exactly on time every night, it’s really all down to trial and error, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different bedtimes and see how you feel with each one.

The goal of an evening routine is to relax and unwind

Try to not put too much pressure on yourself to sleep as this could lead to more stress which will only contribute to keeping you awake. As I said before, it shouldn’t feel like a chore, there is no perfect routine and what works for one person may not work for another. If you know what helps you to sleep, no one else can tell you otherwise.

Most importantly, the goal of an evening routine is to relax and unwind. This will look different for everyone. I’ve found that drinking caffeine-free teas such as camomile and peppermint help me to unwind as I sit and write in my journal at the end of the day.

Some people like to read a book, do yoga, have a hot shower and loads more at the end of the day. I don’t think that there are any ‘must do’ activities before bed, however I would suggest doing any activity that is low-energy and won’t increase your level of stress. Feel free to experiment with what makes you feel good and omit anything that doesn’t.

Does my evening routine go perfectly every night? No

Implementing an evening routine is something that I only started to think about once the current academic year started again. I actually had tasks that I had to do each day, and the only way I could get them done well was if I was refreshed and balanced.

Does my evening routine go perfectly every night? No. Life these days is quite frankly, unpredictable, but an evening routine can bring some consistency and comfort. My favourite part of the day is when I get to unwind and not think about my responsibilities. If something is truly important, it’ll still be there in the morning, so we might as well get good sleep and wake up refreshed to face the day ahead.

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