Nighttime Routines: Clearing Your Mental Clutter
In last month’s blog, I discussed why a morning routine can impact your productivity. I described my morning routine and pointed out reasons you might incorporate one into your day or why you might want to rethink an old routine. This month I am going to discuss the nighttime routine, the other bookend to your day and how nighttime routines are involved in clearing your mental clutter.
WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF NIGHTTIME ROUTINES THAT HELP IN CLEARING YOUR MENTAL CLUTTER?
While daytime is a time of activity and movement which sets the tone for the day, nighttime is all about winding down and pausing to reflect and process the day that has just unfolded. Here are some activities that my friends, colleagues, and clients mention are part of their nighttime routine:
Journaling to process the day
Acknowledging what I accomplished today
Deciding what I would like to accomplish tomorrow/Looking at calendar
Evaluating my goals and priorities through reflection
Reading to unwind
Engaging in self care activities such as showering/taking a bath, putting on a face mask, brushing teeth
Putting away items calmly with music in the background and dim lights (clothes in bedroom, dishes in kitchen)
Readying items for the next day including preparing lunch, clothes, etc.
Turning phone on “Do Not Disturb” by a certain time
Stopping eating/snacking by a certain time
Watching a TV show
Spending time with friends, family, or a loved one
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF NIGHTTIME ROUTINES?:
According to the Sleep Foundation, certain behaviors commonly found in healthy nighttime routines signal your body and mind to relax, resulting in better quality sleep. These activities include dimming lights, meditating, disconnecting from screens, going to bed at the same time every night.
LOWERING ANXIETY & STRESS
Processing your day and readying yourself for tomorrow will give you a sense of control thereby lowering stress and anxiety The American Psychological Association reports that nearly one-third of Millennials attribute lack of sleep to thinking of all the things they need to do or did not get done (27 percent of Gen Xers, 24 percent of Boomers and 14 percent of Matures also report this). So thinking through these things before you go to sleep can prevent that spike in anxiety that can keep you lying in bed staring at the ceiling instead of getting your Zzz's.
SETS YOURSELF UP FOR THE NEXT DAY
The right nighttime routine will include thinking about or even opening your calendar to plan your next day’s schedule. You might also include setting up items so you don’t wake up feeling fraught and rushed. When you wake up the next morning, you get a jump start on productivity.
ALLOWS YOU TO REFLECT, CHANGE, & GROW
We live in a fast paced world that values movement and views stillness as stagnant. But in order to grow, we need to hit the pause button, and think about what is working for us and what needs changing (Read my blog about “The Power of the Pause”).. Nighttime can provide the deep thought and reflection that can inspire change and growth.
FINAL THOUGHTS REGARDING NIGHTTIME ROUTINES AND CLEARING YOUR MENTAL CLUTTER
Do you have a nighttime routine that works for you? Here are some questions to help discover if you have an effective routine:
Do you have a time after dinner where you consciously stop working on both your job or at home tasks?
Do you have a bedtime routine?
Do you have a set time where you go to sleep (give or take 30 minutes)?
Is there a time during your day when you think about the day and what you have accomplished?
How do you provide regular self care?
Do you ever pause to reflect on your day?
Now you can start experimenting with a nighttime routine that can work for you!
Do you have any insights and ideas about nighttime routines? Did any of the information here resonate with you? Please share in the comments.