Grand Lake | Colorado
You’ve gotten this far, now it’s time to finish with quality.
We have optimized several key check-in points on the path throughout your day thus far; let’s review:
And now we round out the day with another series of actions to help you wind down, feed your brain, and rest well.
The goal is to basically set the conditions to sleep better and help your body recover optimally, both mentally and physically, while refocusing your mind on the things that matter.
Here is the general layout of the Evening Routine-
Turn Off The Lights- The lights in your house may actually be keeping you up. Studies have shown that the light produced by many traditional household light bulbs can disrupt melatonin production and thus cause problems sleeping. Start shutting down the lights in your home about an hour or so before bedtime. Dimming helps too. If you can switch to candle power, do it. It’s a nice way to slow things down.
Turn off Screens- Computers, TV’s, cell phones all emit blue light, which is the same light that can disrupt our bodies normal shutting down processes. Remove all of these from the last hour of your day and switch to paper (reading or journaling) or even that long lost art of conversation.
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Check In With Your Mind- I like to do this by some evening journaling. If you use a 5 minute journal, then they have things for you to focus on at night. If you have a blank journal like I do, I try to focus on 3 things: what went well, what I am grateful for and how I can improve tomorrow.
Don’t feel like writing? Go outside, lay in the grass and look up at the sky for a few minutes. I have said it before and I will say it again, if people on this planet just looked up twice a day for a few seconds, I know the world would be a better place. Try it.
Check in With Your Body- I think most people(especially desk jockeys) could improve their physical lives by a nightly stretch & soft tissue release before bed. Not only does this help your body recover for you athletes out there, but it can also help reduce pain and help you sleep better by reducing tension in the body and producing a parasympathetic response.
Examples of soft tissue release would be: foam rolling, gut smashing, using a marathon stick on your legs, a Rubz ball on your feet or even a Thera cane on problem areas for you. Basically a good rule of thumb is, if it hurts or tends to hurt, roll something on it before bed. If you are active, I highly recommend spend a few bucks on what I call “adult rehab toys.”
Cool Down- After reading a few books on sleep, I found one of the main tenants they all preach is temperature. Basically, your body does not do well when it’s hot. The systems can’t fully shut down and it makes you uncomfortable. So instead of taking a hot shower right before bed, consider taking that shower 1 hour or 30 minutes before bed to allow your body to cool first. In addition, keep the temperature in the room cool.
Most suggest between 65-70 degrees for optimal sleep.
Dark & Quiet- Your room should be dark, as close to pitch black as possible and devoid of electronics. If you don’t need the alarm clock, don’t use it, any light could throw you off. If you can leave your phone outside the room, do that as well, all the better. Pitch black, cool and quiet is what we are going for here.
Evening Routine Example-
- Start Shutting Down Lights an hour before planned bedtime
- Take A Hot Shower
- Evening Journaling
- Read until tired
- Soft tissue work
- Drink some cold water
- Go to sleep in a cool, dark and quiet room without electronics.
Pretty simple, right? This is actually probably the easiest of the routines I talk about, because you do a lot of it already anyways, we are just adjusting it for effectiveness.
I could keep writing to fill space here, and give more scientific proof, but to be honest, the routine is just not that complex and knowing the science wont make it work better tonight.
Do this, jot down a simple routine and put it into action for at least a week. Then note the changes and make adjustments as needed.
Let us know your results in the comments below and what habits or routines you use before bed.