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  • Olga Roman

10 Ways to Start a Productive Morning the Evening Before


Photo by Ian Stauffer on Unsplash

Probably you’ve heard about the numerous benefits of going to bed earlier and getting up earlier.


However, you feel like evenings are the only time to relax after a long day, and going to sleep earlier will cut that precious time. While you understand that getting more sleep can be beneficial, you resent going to sleep earlier and tend to stay up late.


When you don’t get enough sleep, you are likely to feel tired, irritable, and unproductive in the morning. You promise yourself to start getting to bed earlier, but that does not happen.


It’s your personal choice when to go to bed. Some people prefer to go to sleep before 10 pm and wake up before 5 am. Some people go to bed after midnight and sleep in late.

Whatever your routine is, it’s worth examining how you spend your evenings and how you feel in the mornings.


During the evening hours, you might enjoy binge-watching TV, spending time on social media, having a couple of drinks, or just chilling out. As you are done with your job for the day, you feel that you deserve to rest and relax.


Every decision that you make in the evening affects the amount and quality of your sleep and, in turn, impacts your morning.


As your willpower is usually exhausted by the end of the day from all the decisions you have to make during the day, you might notice that some choices you make in the evenings are not optimal.


If you eat late, drink too much wine, stay up past your bedtime watching TV, or spend time on social media, your next morning and the entire day are likely to be affected.


So how do you find the balance between enjoying your evenings and feeling great the next day?


The solution is to create an evening routine that helps you wind down from your daily responsibilities and get a head start on your morning.


1. Decide how much sleep you need


While sleep requirements can vary slightly from person to person, most healthy adults need between seven to nine hours of sleep per night to function at their best.


Sleep quality, age, exercise, stress, and environmental conditions are some of the factors that affect how many hours of sleep are optimal for you.


If you wake up in the mornings naturally (no alarm) and feel energized throughout the day, you are most likely getting enough sleep. However, if you find it consistently hard to get out of bed when your alarm goes off in the mornings, you might be suffering from sleep deprivation.


2. Set your sleep schedule


Go to bed and get up around the same time every day. A consistent sleeping routine helps maintain your body’s internal clock. Your body starts releasing melatonin when you usually go to sleep, which enables you to sleep better.


When you stay up past your usual bedtime, you can throw off your circadian rhythm (body clock) and hurt your sleep quality.


Try to limit the difference in your sleep schedule on weeknights and weekends to no more than one hour. Being consistent reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle.


3. Eat an earlier dinner


Avoiding heavy or large meals within several hours of bedtime is beneficial for weight management and good sleep. When your body has several hours to digest food, your digestive function won’t need to work hard during sleep.


If you get hungry at night, snack on foods that won’t disturb your sleep. Some of the healthy late-night snacks are bananas, almonds, Greek yogurt, or oats. Try to avoid fatting and spicy foods.


4. Avoid vigorous workouts before bedtime


While it’s OK to exercise in the evenings, try to avoid vigorous workouts for at least one hour before bedtime.


Intensive exercise can stimulate your nervous system and significantly increase your heart rate, which will make it difficult to fall asleep.


On the other hand, moderate-intensity workouts, such as yoga, stretching, or walking, can help you fall asleep faster and get better sleep.


5. Set a bedtime alarm


Set a bedtime alarm to remind yourself that bedtime is coming up. It’s time for you to unwind and get ready to sleep.


Depending on your preferences and evening routine, you can set the alarm between 30 to 60 minutes before you plan to get to bed.


You can also use a bedtime alarm as a clue to shut off all your electronic devices, including TV, computer, and phone.


6. Unplug


Studies have shown that being exposed to the blue light from phones, laptops, and other electronic devices at night prevents our brains from releasing melatonin, a hormone responsible for controlling your sleep-wake cycle. If your melatonin level is low, you can experience insomnia.


Also, checking your phone before going to sleep stimulates your brain and makes you feel more awake. Additionally, if something catches your attention and makes you feel anxious or upset, you can find it challenging to stop nagging thoughts when you try to fall asleep.


7. Tidy up your place


As part of your evening routine, you can spend 10–15 minutes tidying your apartment. You clean dishes and kitchen counters, put clothes away, throw away garbage, and return things to their proper places.


Your physical environment affects your physical and mental well-being. When you wake up to a neat and orderly home, you will feel more balanced and calmer. Also, you don’t need to deal with clutter in the morning.


When you do not feel like cleaning up, just set a timer for 10 minutes. Allow yourself to stop cleaning when the timer goes off.


8. Write down your to-do list


If your mind is overwhelmed with stressful thoughts, you might find it helpful to express your thoughts and emotions through writing before going to sleep.


You can also use your journal to write your to-do list for the next day. Just writing your tasks down relieves the stress of having to remember everything. Once you write down the items you need to complete, your mind does not need to continue thinking about them, and it gives you more mental clarity.


9. Meditate


If racing thoughts keep you up at night, meditation can help quiet the mind and reduce stress. It slows your pulse and decreases your blood pressure. Getting to that state means that it will be easier to fall asleep and preserve deep sleep.


Start by meditating for three to five minutes. Over time, slowly increase the time to 10 to 15 minutes. If you notice that your mind is wandering, take a deep breath, and gently return your attention to your body or breathing.


10. Read a book


Reading is a great way to relax. Research shows that reading a book for six minutes before going to sleep can reduce your stress level by more than two thirds. Although reading stimulates your brain, it also helps you decompress and makes you sleepy.


Stay away from ebooks in the evenings and choose a paper book instead. Keep it on your nightstand so that it’s easier to grab it once your head hits a pillow.


Make the most of your evenings


Every decision that you make in the evening affects the amount and quality of your sleep and, in turn, impacts your morning.


If you eat late, drink too much wine, stay up past your bedtime watching TV, or spend time on social media, your next morning and the entire day are likely to be affected.

Creating an evening routine can help wind down from your daily responsibilities and get a head start on your morning.


If you pick one or two habits from the above list and practice for the next 30 days, staying as consistent as you can, you can significantly improve your sleep quality and boost your health and well-being.

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