Many nights, I find myself with tons of energy and desire to do things, but once I try to make myself complete a few tasks, I lose that energy quickly and normally wind up binge-watching Youtubers while sitting on my couch. I’m sure there are other people out there like me, so if you can relate, today’s post is for you!
Today, we are looking at bedtime routines. Our first post here was about morning routines, so it would make sense that we should look at the opposite end of the day and examine how to have a successful nighttime.
It can be hard for college students to develop a nighttime routine. After all, many of our deadlines are midnight, and we tend to wait until the last moment to finish up assignments and turn them in, screwing up any attempt to get a routine going. There are benefits of having a nighttime routine, though, and we are going to look at some of those today.
Stretching your body out before bed can help your muscles to relax and you to be able to fall asleep more easily. I highly recommend doing yoga before bed, and we will talk soon about doing yoga at home, but another option is downloading a guided stretching app. A really good one I found is Leap Fitness Group’s 30 Day Splits Training. Even if the splits aren’t your goal, this app has 90 days of stretching that can help you to loosen up and get your heartrate lowered to relax for bed.
You can also look up guided stretching videos on Youtube, which once again, I’ll have an entire post on, but for now, check out MadFit’s stretching for the inflexible. (Note: this video is 30 minutes long, but even five-ten minutes of stretching before bed can be very beneficial!)
2. Prep for tomorrow
If you’re going someone, pack your bag/backpack/purse. Lay out your clothes – this will actually save you time in the morning! Write out your daily schedule (once again (again,) I will have a post on this soon!) Put your water bottle in the fridge. Prep your breakfast or lunch as much as you can. Do any small tasks that you would otherwise have to do in the morning.
This is especially important if you are not a morning person. Whatever you can do at night to save you some time in the morning can be very beneficial. We want to keep our mornings in a simple routine since our bodies are still waking up and can’t handle a lot of concentration.
3. Calm down your food and drinks
This means no midnight snacking – and I am quite guilty of this one! Stop snacking around two hours before bed. Also, try not to slam down all of the water you forgot to drink during the day – you’ll be woken up in the middle of the night by your body complaining at you. Instead, limit yourself to eight ounces (half a bottle) of water.
Even better, try to make your night time beverage a green or chamomile tea – decaf if caffeine before bed bothers you! Try a few different flavors until you find what you like. Many people think that they’re not “hot tea people,” which typically means that they haven’t found the one they like yet. Don’t add sugar, instead add a little honey if sweetness is needed, and try not to add too much cream or milk, as your body sometimes doesn’t like digesting lactose in your sleep!
4. No electronics!
Once again, I’m pretty bad about this – in fact I am writing this sentence at 10:30 p.m., but I am working on it! Studies have shown that using electronics before bed can overstimulate your brain and cause difficulty falling asleep. Using a blue light filter can help, but it is not 100% effective.
Your best bet is to try to put the electronics away two hours before bed. Set your phone alarm and set it out of reach from your bed. Get your assignments in before the last minute – the late-night stress doesn’t help you sleep, anyway. Turn off the TV, and turn your focus to non-electronic activities. Make your hot tea and stretch, and if you’re looking for some entertainment…
Nighttime reading is such an awesome way to calm you down and get your mind and body prepped for sleep. Bonus: it’s a form of entertainment that doesn’t involve staring at a screen. I recommend when you start to read, placing a bookmark at your goal end point. That way, if you’re not a big reader, you have a goal to reach, and if you are a big reader, you have a place to tell yourself, “stop!” (After all, reading before bed isn’t the least bit beneficial if you stay up all night to finish the book.)
Developing a nighttime routine can help you to get a more restful night’s sleep. Additionally, it can help you to be more productive in the mornings, as well as help you to tick a few more things off of your to-do list before ending the day. Once you get into a routine, it will become second nature to you, which can help you to feel accomplished without having to put forth any additional effort.
Do you have any nighttime routine tips? Share them with us in the comments! I am always looking for ways to improve on my routines, and this is one area that I tend to struggle with, so I would love some suggestions!
Next week, we will cover topics like Podcasts, Youtube, Keeping a planner, and more!