It is so easy to just stay up late studying and catch up on sleep later in the day during college. My friends and I would joke about being nocturnal. It was funny back then but it isn’t so much now. After graduating, I realized how all these bad habits had a big impact on my physical and mental health.
The reason I was able to pull all-nighter’s and go straight to class was because I would come home after and sleep for several hours or until i felt revived. However, that’s not the case for the majority of us that start our careers. Whether you go to graduate school full time, part time, or go straight to working full time or any combination thereof, it is super important to get a good allotted amount of time to sleep. This will impact how you perform at work, your energy levels to hang out with friends, and also your physical and mental well being.
Since it is so easy to come home from work and lay on the couch and not want to get up.. I created a night time routine … which is constantly evolving but the same concept applies each time. This could also be seen as a after work routine to get myself to sleep earlier. That being said, it’s important to also apply the same rules to your non working days ( weekends) so your body gets used to the routine.
After work I like to unwind and calm my energy by hitting up a HIIT class (to drain out all the remaining energy I have for the day), I’ll check out yoga classes or even go for an hour walk depending on my mood.
Physical exercise for me has become a habit to calm my nerves for the evening and to be honest I look forward to this “me” time I get every day.
Unwind and Plan for the Following Day
Once I am home, showered and fed, I start planning for the next day. This could mean wrapping up work or planning/packing up meals for the next day, checking my calendar to see what I have in store for the next day, planning my attire..Knowing my meals and plans for the next day helps reduce my anxiety for what’s expected for the day ahead. I
Get Ready for Bed
After I eat, I brush my teeth so my body knows it’s time to unwind and this helps prevent any late night snacking.. From here I try to watch very minimal television. However, sometimes I just have to see the next episode of whatever show I was watching so I will limit myself to one hour ( depending on the time) then i turn everything off, sip some more tea, dim the lights and get in bed with a book. Establishing a night time routine has helped me get more in tune with my body so I can feel fulfilled, spend less time on social media ( I don’t feel deprived since i got my one hour) and start the day on a well energized note.
Limiting Caloric Intake
I always brew some tea when i get home and right before bed. Some of my favorites are lavender, chamomile and ginger. This helps me unwind, relax and ease digestion for when I am sleeping. Getting in my bed with some hot tea helps me relax and unwind. Limiting caffeine and sugar in the evening allows my body to spend time relaxing and less time working on breaking down food.
For Day’s Outside Of My Normal Routine
For days where I have plans in the evening and come home much later I try to still adopt some of the same routines. A warm shower/bath. Some hot non caffeinated tea, some soft pajamas. It only takes 20 minutes tops to feel more energized and less frazzled the next morning. Knowing I am ready for the next day helps my brain to shut down completely so I can fall in a deeper rest at night.
What are your night time routines and what is something you love that helps you sleep?