Evening routines are just as important as morning routines. Without a solid evening routine, your mornings can become hurried, rushed, and chaotic. A good evening routine will help you unwind, relax, and get you prepared for the next day. It will help you sleep better, increase productivity, and sharpen your focus the next day.
As a busy parent, I thrive off having a fixed evening routine. It may be boring, and the same thing every night; however, it works. It gets the job done. And if it isn’t broken, why fix it?
In this post, you will read about:
- What is an evening routine
- Why an evening routine is important
- Why sleep is important
- Things you can implement into your evening routine
What is an evening routine?
An evening routine is a set of activities done every evening to help you unwind, relax, and prepare for the next day. It is consistent and allows you to sleep on time every night.
Evening routines let you get more rest and enough sleep so you function at your best the following day. Your productivity will increase. Your focus and concentration will be better. You will be more empathetic and patient. And you will notice an extra “pep in your step.”
Why is an evening routine important?
An evening routine is essential because you want to be mindful of how you end your day. As the day ends, we should use this time to relax and reflect on our day with gratitude. Use the evening to think about whether or not steps were made to reach your goals and if not, what could’ve been done better. Use this time to self-reflect.
- Were you kind today?
- Did you complete your to-do list?
- Did you do anything to bring you closer to your long-term goal?
- What was one thoughtful statement you said today?
- What are you grateful for today?
If you come home tired from work and spend countless hours sitting on the couch, munching on a bag of Cheetos, and binge-watching Netflix, you don’t get anything done. You could be mindlessly scrolling through social media, cutting into your sleep, and skipping a few steps in your self-care routine. By the time you realize it’s way past bedtime, you haven’t gotten much done, you’re not prepared for the next day, and you drag yourself into your bed.
An evening routine doesn’t have to take long but it is a systematic way to end the day. You want a routine that will help you live with more purpose and intention. With time, you can implement an effective evening routine that works for your lifestyle. This will give you lots of time to relax in the evening and an early start to bed so you get enough sleep.
What happens if you don’t get enough sleep
Sleep is so vital for our overall health and well-being. It keeps us healthy by keeping our hearts strong, our minds sharp, regulating our hormones, reducing our stress, improving our mood, and maintaining our weight. The average adult needs at least seven hours of quality sleep a night.
Sleep is important for regulating our metabolism and how we digest and metabolize our food. If we don’t get enough sleep, the hormones that regulate our hunger and satiety increase. That means that we feel hungrier and want to eat more than we should when we’re sleep deprived. This can lead to higher consumption of sugary, high-fat, high-sodium foods leading to unhealthy eating and obesity.
According to the CDC, only one-third of Americans are getting enough sleep. Inadequate sleep has been associated with many health-related problems like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, and obesity. It can also lead to problems in focus, concentration, and ability to problem-solve.
I love my sleep. I wish I would’ve appreciated sleeping more when I was younger but I didn’t. At the time I was young and thought, “Sleep is for the dead.” I lived off of Starbucks and caffeine. Now I appreciate my sleep and always try to sleep on time so that I clock eight hours of sleep each night. I notice I am happier and more patient when I get good sleep. I’m also less forgetful and can think better if I slept well that night.
Here are some of the things I do in my evening routine to help me prepare for the next day and also help me unwind and relax after a long day of taking care of the kids.
Tidy Up Before Bed
When you wake up in the morning and walk out of your room, you don’t want to accidentally step on a wooden block lying on the floor and see a pile of dirty dishes in the sink, do you? No. When you wake up to a messy area, it will make you feel anxious that the day has barely even started and things need to get cleaned. That will not set the tone for a good day.
Tidy up your home in the evenings and put items back in their original places. This will make it easier to find items when you need them. When you declutter and organize your home a little bit every night, you don’t leave things to pile up at the end of the week to clean.
The morning brings a new beginning. You should not have to clean up last night’s mess. You want to wake up to a clean kitchen and a fresh start.
We wash, dry, and put away all the dishes the night before. We don’t leave any dirty dishes in the sink. Flat surfaces remain flat. We don’t leave miscellaneous items on the kitchen counter or floor. Every item has a “home” and returns to its “home” each evening.
A clear, decluttered space has positive benefits on your mental health. According to researchers at Utah State University, cleaning and decluttering can improve your focus and productivity. This is how you want your day to start.
Plan Your Day
Write down your plans for the following day and your to-do list. Jot it down on paper or use an app to keep track of your thoughts. Apple Notes or Google Docs are free applications that you can use to write down your plans and your to-do list. The idea is to do a brain dump on paper so that you don’t have any lingering thoughts about what needs to get done. Everything is written down.
Write it down so that you can prioritize what’s most important. Make a list of tasks that need to get done from most important to least. That way you’ll have a plan of action for when the day starts tomorrow. It will help you stay organized and manage your time.
Prepare for the Next Day
Get your clothes and lunch ready for tomorrow so you don’t have to search for stuff in the morning. You don’t want to be frantic looking for items and accidentally forget something. When you have everything prepared and laid out, you don’t have to waste time thinking about what to wear, and you don’t have to feel rushed. To prepare the night before, you can:
- Prepare breakfast
- Pack lunch
- Set the coffee maker
- Lay out clothes for tomorrow
- Pack lunch and juice for the kids
- Prepare kids backpacks
Laying out my clothes, setting my coffee maker, and having breakfast prepared helps me ease into the mornings. I’m not rushing around and the morning is less chaotic. When things are prepared, you can slowly ease into the morning on autopilot and save your energy and thinking for other important stuff.
Disconnect from Devices
Turn off your phones, television screens, and tablets at least 30 minutes before bed. Keeping electronics on can keep you alert and make it difficult for your body to wind down. It can also interfere with getting a good night’s sleep and reduce your REM (rapid-eye-movement) sleep.
The blue light emitted from screens can hinder your ability to sleep. Blue light is a short wavelength emitted and reduces our melatonin production. Melatonin is a natural hormone that our bodies produce in the evening hours before bed to help us sleep. It helps to control our sleep-wake cycle and helps us fall asleep at night and keeps us awake during the day. Low melatonin levels can cause you to have trouble sleeping at night.
Take a Warm Bath
A warm bath is great for relaxing tight muscles, joints and helps you unwind after a long and busy day. Throw some Epsom salts or essential oils into your bath water and light up some candles to set the mood. Turn on some relaxing spa music or enchanting nature sounds and tune out. You deserve it.
There are numerous benefits to taking an Epsom salt bath including relieving pain in the shoulders, back, and neck. It can also help relieve headaches and migraines through the release of magnesium that is in Epsom salt. Epsom salts can also help reduce inflammation and improve bowel movement and digestion.
Read a Book
Reading is a great way to disconnect from your devices and unwind before bed. There are many benefits to reading and it is a good practice to help your mind and body slow down before you drift off to sleep. Reading before bed can help reduce stress and slow down your heart rate allowing you to relax. It can also improve your sleep quality.
Reflect On Your Day
The end of the day is a perfect opportunity for you to reflect and think about how the day went.
- Did the day go as planned?
- Did you follow through on all of your commitments?
- Were you mindful in all of your activities?
- How could you have been more present in your activities?
- Did you connect with loved ones?
Journaling and reflecting on the day is a great way to see if you’re reaching your daily goals. You can see if you’re making improvements to getting closer to your bigger, long-term goals.
Journaling in the morning is a great way to write about your plans and goals for the upcoming day. Journaling in the evening is a way to see if you achieve those goals.
The evening is a time to write down three things you’re grateful for. Practicing gratitude and writing what we’re thankful for has tremendous benefits on our mental and physical health. It can also improve sleep, boost our moods, and increase our immune functions.
It may take time to develop an evening routine that will work but it is worth it. The most important thing is to create an evening routine that you will stick with. A good evening routine prepares you for the next day, gives you plenty of time to relax, and lets you sleep on time.
Remember that sleep is important for your mental, physical, and emotional health. Don’t skimp on sleep. Good quality sleep allows you to function better the next day, increases your productivity, improves your memory, learning, and focus, and improves your overall mood.
Try to implement some or all of these steps into your nightly routine. Is there something else that you enjoy doing in the evenings too? Comment below and let me know what else is part of your evening routine that helps you unwind and relax.