One routine I have found that helps me get a decent night’s sleep is an evening routine. For years I had a great morning routine (https://www.thegooddifference.com/healthy-morning-routine-that-will-change-your-life/), a daily routine for work, an after-school routine when my kids were younger, a meal plan to get dinner on the table and a cleaning routine. Things got a bit haphazard past dinner time!
Why An Evening Routine Is Vital For Sleep
A few winters ago, I started some terrible habits. After dinner and kitchen cleaned up, I started binge-watching TV until the time I went to sleep. This was a very bad habit for me! One bad habit led to another. The tv watching led to online shopping and eventually what I would call snacking. (Most would consider another meal!) I decided I had to break the ridiculous habits I had formed with one good habit -An Evening Routine.
By not having a plan for my evening hours, I realized that all I was doing was procrastinating and setting myself up for failure the next day. Without an evening routine, when I got up there was a mad rush the next morning. (Not to mention an unpleasant tone)…
Not having things finished up the night before created anxiety that kept me from falling asleep and inevitably, anxiety and worry kicked in about what I had to do in the morning. Therefore, even though I was going to bed I could not fall asleep.
An evening routine doesn’t have to be elaborate or time-consuming. It’s simply setting yourself up for a good night’s sleep followed by a better tomorrow.
Many people I talk to do not get nearly enough sleep and I’ve been there. Nothing’s worse than being tired from the time you get up in the morning till the time you go to bed. Then rinse and repeat. We’re not effective in relationships, at work or our life in general. And let’s face it, we’re not exactly nice people! Not sleeping effects our physical and mental health. Lack of sleep also leads to poor decisions in what we eat and the amount of physical exercise we get.
An Evening Routine For Better Sleep
It’s simple, really. After dinner, my family and I clean up the dishes together. Every family is different, but we ALL clean up.
- Kitchen Clean-up/ Prep Next Morning
- Wipe down the countertops in the kitchen.
- Put away dishes
- Get coffee ready to roll in the morning
- Lunches packed (if it applies)
- And then we just make sure that the House has general clean up on the on the first floor.
- Caffeine Cut Off
- Snacking Cut off
- Set out morning essentials
- Consider Your Screen Times
- Give Your Phone a Bedtime☺
- Set A Bedtime
- Set a Get up Time
- STICK TO IT!!
In the morning, there is a sense of peace. Not “oh my gosh, this place is a disaster”. It literally takes maybe 10 to 15 minutes because we keep the house clean with daily routines.
Caffeine Cut Off
I have sworn off caffeine in the evenings.
In general, I stop having any coffee or anything caffeinated past two or three o’clock. it really does affect my sleep later. Half of the caffeine stays in your system for 6 hours and it can take up to 10 hours to completely exit.
7PM Snacking Cut-Off
It took me a while to get here! I intermittent fast so, it has become very easy for me not to eat past 7PM.
Every once in a while I am hungry so, I choose wisely. If I am super hungry before bed that is not helpful to my sleep either.
I used to go straight to a bag of chips grab a bag of chips, or something processed. (like cookies) These types of foods made me feel lousy in the morning. (A food hangover if you will)
The best foods to eat before bed contain protein.
Good Night Time Snacks
- String cheese
- Greek yogurt (no sugar) w/ blueberries or raspberries
- Cucumbers dipped in hummus
- A Spoonful of Peanut Butter and a small glass of milk of choice
So let’s talk about blue light.
Blue light comes off of all of our gadgets, TVs, computers or phones. Most people already know that. And we’ve been told you’re supposed to switch off your blue light one to two hours before going to sleep.
One way that it can help is in the evenings. For my TV since it doesn’t have a feature to help block out blue light. I just wear blue light blocking glasses. Just a couple of years ago the only kind you could buy were super goofy looking and they were orange now they just look like regular glasses. I had them added to my prescription. Blue light blocking helps during the day too. Especially if you are on a computer all day, stuck in an office with LED lights or do not get outside very much to get the healing benefits of natural light.
I’m going to give you a couple of links just so you know that I don’t make things up. Before I will try anything pertaining to natural health, I do a lot of research.
How Blue Lights Affect Kids In Their Sleep.
My sons are older, but it was always an issue. They wanted to play video games, (well who am I kidding? -) ALL the time. the light that comes off the video games can really disrupt their sleep. And I found out that one son (Whom I thought got a great night’s sleep) was not! Our pediatrician said he wasn’t sleeping deeply. Needless to say, once more boundaries and time limits were set up, he got much better sleep.
So you want to be thinking about your blue light use in your evening. Routine. Limit it as much as possible.
Try to set the phone down.
Don’t keep it next to your bed and wake up in the middle of the night and look at it because it will affect your sleep.
Set Out Your Morning Essentials
if you exercise first in the morning, put out your shoes, and your workout clothes.
Plan and know what you’re going to eat for breakfast the next day, especially if you’re preparing for your whole family.
Maybe look at your work schedule for tomorrow. You know, for me as a hair colorist and my book can be very busy and I generally don’t look at it until the evening before just to give me an idea of who’s coming in at what time
Put your clothes out. I mean we’ve all heard this forever, but it’s so helpful especially for women. For me, it’s knowing what I’m going to wear. I don’t waste any time making these decisions, otherwise there is decision fatigue. I have a standard of what I wear to work – I wear a lot of black as a hair colorist. So, it makes it pretty simple. I don’t have to match it with anything, but I don’t have to think about these things. But there are women that are way more into the way they dress in their clothes. And I think that’s fantastic. So, you know have a little fun with it and pick out what you’re going to wear.
That is not me. But I really do admire people that pull themselves together. And look so great
Drink Water All Day Long
You are not dehydrated, but it really does help our sleep. So, in the evenings I tried to drink water, you know and but also have a cut-off about an hour before going to bed. I get most of my water in before dinner. That way. I don’t have to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom constantly.
Create A Relaxing Part Of Your Evening Routine
- Bath with Epsom salts
- Light candles and play soft music
- Drink a cup of tea
- Read a book
- Write in your journal.
- Take care of your skin.
For years I felt guilty if I did these sorts of things because it seems so indulgent, overindulgent from a mother to do these things. Well, guess what guys? It’s not overindulgent, it’s a necessity. There’s a difference between being vain and taking care of yourself.
If you’re all stressed out, you never have a moment to yourself. You never do anything for yourself. You are not going to be the most pleasant person at least let’s say I am not the most pleasant person to be around my family flourished when I took care of myself
If you binge-watch TV shows all night long, why not try something new?
If reading a book puts you to sleep too early why not listen to a book?
Our screens really need to be turned off an hour before bed. I am still working on this area. But like I said, sometimes I just want to watch something funny. So just wear your blue light glasses and watch something simple.
Have an eating cut-off by 7pm, and if you’re super hungry don’t fight it. Just go have your snack with no sugar, no caffeine, but your little protein snack. Nothing wrong with that. It might help you sleep better.
Still Can’t Fall Asleep?
I’ve had bouts that I’ve struggled with falling asleep.
A physician suggested to me to try time-released melatonin. The problem was melatonin made me fall asleep, but then four hours later I was wide awake. The time-released really is helpful in times when for whatever reason you can’t sleep. (As women it happens).
I take a 10 milligram, but you need to ask your doctor if its a good idea. If you are on medication and / or drink alcohol, melatonin may not be for you. Note: I don’t take it for long periods of time. Just until I get back on track.
Waking Up In The Middle Of The Night? Prayer Helps!!
If I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t sleep, I immediately start praying for whoever comes to my mind.
This sounds silly but I’ve been saying this for a gazillion years. It works better than anything. I feel like sometimes. I’m called to pray for someone. And there have been many occasions that I found out later that person maybe was sick in the middle of the night, or they couldn’t sleep because they were upset about something. It really is amazing. I start praying and I pray and pray until I fall right back into a beautiful sleep.
You’re not going to want to get up in the morning because you can’t fall asleep at night and so on and so forth. But stick to it. Because a week later, the natural cardiac rhythms of your body will really start to do what they’re supposed to do. Were designed to sleep a certain amount of time. For me, it’s 7.5 hours.
I realize that our phones are almost like an extra appendage to us.
I also realize most people don’t have landlines now. (We still have one just for emergencies) I don’t have to be glued to my cell phone. But there are many features on cell phones that help you so you’re not disturbed with texts that are not necessary, but your family can get a hold of you in an emergency.
Just Google your type of phone and its sleep features.
Can’t Get Up?
While I was establishing my sleep schedule, I had to put the alarm clock all the way across the room.
Sad to say and I’m almost embarrassed to admit it but it’s the only way my getting up on time was going to happen. If it was right next to me, I almost inevitably would hit the snooze button. So, I put it all the way across the room. I use one with a light instead of an alarm clock, so it doesn’t startle me and scare me first thing in the morning! Psalm 4:8 says:
In peace I will lie down in sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.Psalm 4:8 (NIV)
My evening routine, just like my morning routine includes God.
We all know that we’re supposed to start our day with the Lord. Many of us do Bible studies in the morning… we read scripture and we pray throughout the day. But I think it’s important to also pray in the evening.
Are you worried? – Give it to God. My Husband, My kids, My parents, Loved Ones… For Him to protect and keep us safe through the night.
1 Peter 5:7 says,
Cast all of your anxiety on him because he cares for you.1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)
Matthew 6:34 says,
Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow. For Tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. We already give our worries to him because he walks through things with us.Matthew 6:34 (NIV)
And he has never failed me yet.
I hope you find yourself well. And you have a really good night’s sleep and a happy evening routine!