How to Build a Healthy Nighttime Routine

February 17, 2018

We talk about nutrition, exercise, mobility, and hydration pretty often. What we don’t talk about as often (but should) is the importance of creating a healthy nighttime routine to set yourself up for some dreamy sleep. I’m excited to share with you how to build a healthy nighttime routine, and offer information on the strategies that have helped me so far.

Sleep is necessary for all of us, but especially for those of you diving into a new regimen of fitness, that are high-performance athletes, or that work long shifts. It’s so important to allow your bodies to recover and muscles to relax.

A word on night shift and working late

I am no stranger to 24-hour shifts, night shifts, and shift work in general. In fact, being the owner/operator of LivingWells has brought on an era that is the first time in my adult life that I don’t work large amounts of regular shift work ( 12+ hours at a time, anywhere between 40-60 hours per week used to be my norm, not counting school and other side gigs). It’s glorious, in case you were wondering, but apparently not without its unique stressors. My point is that I expect you to read this and adapt it to your needs in life, regardless of the shift or home situation. Setting healthy nighttime (or before bed) routines can not only impact your daily life in a positive way it can influence those around you.

TIPS FOR A HEALTHY NIGHT TIME ROUTINE

1. Make your bedroom into a sacred space.

  • First of all, if you have a TV in your bedroom; chuck it. I don’t personally own a television at all, nor have I or do I plan to. If this isn’t reasonable for you (I’m not judging) then at least don’t stick it in your bedroom. Seriously, this is a game changer when it comes to quality sleep and setting routines. The bedroom should be for enjoying your relaxation, and the company of companions (fur babies like Clarence and or  spouse). If you’re all by yourself, try to spend the time you would typically have the TV on at night by reading, journaling, or practicing meditation. TV is a time sucker, extra expense, and doesn’t add to the overall value of your life.
  • Diffuse aromatherapy ( I like lavender), burn incense, or invest in a lavender eye pillow like this. You’re welcome.
  • Use soft lighting and invest in quality bedding and pillows
  • Set a glass of water by the bed to sip on if needed and to drink first thing in the morning (more on morning routines in a blog to come. I also love making herbal tea right before bed and sipping on it as I fall asleep. It’s as though this routine signals my body that it’s about to be bedtime.

2. Let go of electronics 1-2 hours before bedtime.

  • At this point, you’ve more than likely read about or heard of the ill effects of staring at “blue light” before sleeping. In short, when you use electronics that produce light of a particular type on the color spectrum, your brain is stimulated and more likely to remain awake.
  • My suggestion is to plug everything in, in a room that isn’t your bedroom. Get an old-school alarm clock for your bedroom, and be free of the temptation to check your phone in the middle of the night, scroll through social media, or to let anyone stress you out about anything before bed. This tip is much more efficient if whoever you share the bedroom with (if anyone) does the same.

3. Watch your evening stimulant intake

Common stimulants that can keep us awake if we partake later in the day are:

  • nicotene
  • caffeine
  • late night workouts

Yes, I just said late night workouts. By late night I mean whatever time it is before you’re heading for bed. If at all possible, get some rest and set your alarm 30 minutes earlier for a workout when you wake up. It will leave you energized for the day ahead, and leave you feeling accomplished before you even get to work. If you’re going to exercise at night, make it something low impact such as yoga or pilates; you could even build a nightly routine of mobility and stretching.

Caffeine…mm

I hope that some of these are helpful, and I look forward to hearing feedback about how you’re planning to build a healthy nighttime routine! Leave me a comment below 🙂

For more daily inspiration and recipes come and see me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. If you’re interested in learning more about who I am head to this page or my personal Insta. See you there 😉

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