Evening routines & Sleep
As we continue with September Healthy Ageing month, let’s chat about sleep and why evening routines are so important and yet often overlooked.
What is your evening routine?
My evenings right now are like groundhog day. We are still keeping things simple. We have just started the series Better Call Saul which is a spin-off from the series Breaking Bad. As much as we like it we usually turn it off around 9:00. At this time I like to fold any blankets we used on the couch, fluff the pillows and do a general pick up in the family room. I also like to put the kettle on for tea and get the dishwasher on too. Just having these few little things done before I go to bed gives me peace of mind…and honestly, is there anything worse than waking up in the morning to little messes everywhere?
So often I hear women saying that they have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep. Keep reading to find out who I sleep with every night…I am not talking about Steve or Tank.
These are the 5 habits that have become routine for me and
have helped me immensely!
1 – I try to shut down all electronics at least an hour before bed. That means even the best binge-worthy shows have to go off! No computer or IG/FB. I leave my computer and phone in another room so that I am not tempted to use them. I used to watch Netflix in bed. I have switched over to reading…sometimes I even skip that and go directly to number 5…and who can blame a girl?
Why do we need to do this? Our phones, computers and tablets emit a blue light, which has been shown to reduce or delay the natural production of melatonin in the evening and decrease feelings of sleepiness. You also don’t want to watch all the bad news that’s going on in the world or the latest CSI before bed. All the negativity is not going to help you with restful sleep.
2 – Supplements in the evening can help. My nutritionist suggested magnesium before bed. I have a hard time taking pills so I use liquid Magnesium called ‘Genestra Magnesium Complex Liquid’ I keep it in my bathroom and take 2 tbsp just before brushing my teeth.
Why do we need this? Magnesium helps to relax my body and my muscles. I have friends that use melatonin which is a hormone released by the pineal gland at night and is associated with controlling the sleep-wake cycle. It is used for the short-term treatment of insomnia.
3 – A couple of years ago my girlfriend gave me some spearmint to grow in my garden. I pinch a few leaves off each evening after dinner. Just before bed, I steep the leaves in boiled water as I walk around turning off lights. I take it to bed with me to sip on it while I am reading. I like to drink it out of a teacup. That way I am not tempted to make a mug of it resulting in too many after-midnight trips to the loo!!!
Why do we need this? We don’t LOL…for me a cup of tea is just very relaxing. I think I read one study where they studied the effects of peppermint in mice and they may have slept longer, but no hard evidence to suggest that it does anything. There is a line of tea made by Celestial called Sleepytime Tea. Most of the Sleepytime teas contain chamomile used for its calming properties. I think one of the reasons I love tea so much and associate it with relaxation is because my mum put tea in my baby bottle for our afternoon tea time 🙂
4 – Night-time reflection and this could be the most important habit for me. I like to think about my day. What went wrong and what went right. In that order. When I think about what went wrong I give some quick thoughts as to how I could have changed it, made it better or look at it from a different perspective. Then I put it to rest! I don’t want to dwell on anything negative before bed. I always finish with positive thoughts. I do this while multi-tasking. I use my foam roller every night before bed. This is when I reflect on my day…in between the moans and groans!
Why do we need this? For peace of mind. Once you get into the habit of focusing on all the good that happened in your day your mind will feel much calmer and clearer and that is always a good thing for bedtime. Having a positive outlook on life just makes you happy!
5 – This is the best part of bedtime…I take either Harry Styles or Mathew McConaughey to bed with me every night…depends on my mood whom I pick!!! I know right? Lucky me and they love to read to me! I use an app called Calm. I highly recommend it. Calm is an award–winning mindfulness app that’s available for iOS, Android, and desktop. … The app features hundreds of calming exercises, helpful breathing techniques, and sleep stories. I cannot honestly tell you if Harry or Mathew tell great stories because to be very honest with you I have never made it through an entire story. The stories are about 30 minutes long…I don’t think I make it past 10 minutes.
Why do we need this? Wellllllllll…..have you seen these guys? Heard their soothing voices? Whew!!!! Listening to a bedtime story relaxes my mind. When I am concentrating on the story there is no room for any worry or negative thoughts to sneak in and ruin any chance of getting to sleep. I have tried other nighttime listening – like the sound of waves or thunderstorms (both of which are offered on this app) but with them, my mind can still wander. There are a lot of children’s stories too. Some other celebs on the app are Kate Winslet, Scotty Pippen, Mandy Moore, Lucy Liu even Lebron James does one. I’m pretty loyal and stick to Mathew and Harry.
I try not to spend too long on my routine as I want it to be relaxing and not become a chore. Start to finish mine is about 1/2 an hour. It’s more about unwinding and not feeling rushed. The ultimate goal for me is to get a great night’s sleep in order to be productive AND feel rested the following day.
Some tips for a great nights sleep
- Keep your room cool. The best temp for sleeping is between 65-70 F
- Keep your room dark, use blinds or lined drapes to keep the moonshine out.
- Skip the nightcap. It may in fact help some to fall asleep but it reduces the quality of your sleep and will delay your REM cycle.
- Exercise plays a key role in sleep. Fit savvy aged adults sleep significantly better than unfit peers. Be careful though, exercising too close to bedtime can stimulate you mentally and physically.
- Avoid caffeine. No Caffeine after noon…look for tricky places that you can find it… ice cream, chocolate, tea, painkillers, etc.
- Have a warm bath with lavender in it.
- Write in your journal
To ensure a great night’s sleep create your own routine. Follow some or all of these tips and you are sure to be sleeping like a baby in no time
We would all love to hear your routine and helpful tips! Who doesn’t want to know tips on great sleeps!! Please leave your comments below. You never know who you may inspire.