HomeResourcesSleep
The Ultimate Evening Routine for Restful Sleep

The Ultimate Evening Routine for Restful Sleep

Written by
Lewis Orr

We all need sleep, that’s obvious. What’s more, we need good, restful, deep sleep to live our lives to their full potential.

There are four stages of sleep. Deep sleep is the third stage. We have a small, bean-shaped gland at the base of our brain called the pituitary gland. Throughout deep sleep, the pituitary gland releases growth hormones. These grow our body tissue and regenerate our cells. For this reason, deep sleep is a frequent recommendation of workout guides[1]. We also consolidate memories and learnt information in deep sleep. As claimed in a Medical News Today article, while all four stages are important, deep sleep is “especially important for brain health and function.” A regular pattern of behaviours relating to our sleep will assist. We are creatures of habit. What then is the optimal evening routine?

The Ultimate Evening Routine

6 hours before

AVOID CAFFEINE: Caffeine is a stimulant. Remember that caffeine is not only an element of coffee and tea. Caffeine is also found in colas and soft drinks.

4 hours before

AVOID ALCOHOL: Alcohol is a depressant and can make it easier to get to sleep. Yet this is misleading. Alcohol “decreases overall sleep quality, which can result in shorter sleep duration and more sleep disruptions.”[2]

2 hours before

AVOID BIG MEALS: Going to sleep directly after eating doesn’t give your body the time it needs to burn the unwanted calories. This can result in difficulty digesting food throughout the night and has been suggested by some to disrupt sleep.

AVOID NICOTINE: Nicotine is also a stimulant, so cigarettes and vapes are undesirable close to bedtime. Don’t be misled by the impression nicotine can calm you down.

1 hour before

AVOID BLUE LIGHT: Blue light is the high-energy type found in countless modern appliances: TVs, iPhones, computer monitors. Harvard Medical School famously concluded that “blue light has a dark side”[3]. That is, because it tricks the brain it is daytime, blue light has a negative effect on sleep. As tough as it will be in this digital era, cut down on the emails, text messages, and movies in bed. Keep the phone away! Worthwhile substitutes include paper books, word or number puzzles, and jigsaw puzzles.

AVOID VIGOROUS EXERCISE: Intense working out raises your body temperature and heartrate, worsening your ability to get shuteye. Go ahead and do this exercise, only earlier in the day- then it will benefit your sleep quality.

WRITE A TO-DO LIST: Thoughts of what we must do tomorrow can keep us up at night. Make a complete list and so discharge those thoughts from your brain to the page. Writing in diaries and journals is another strategy when emotions may be overwhelming you and causing stress.

 

WHILE IN BED

REDUCE LIGHT: As much as you can, reduce bright lights in the bedroom. Cover the clock or alarm clock to avoid clock-watching.

IF YOU ARE FAILING TO GET TO SLEEP: Accept wakefulness instead of fighting it[4]. Yet if in 20 minutes of you lying awake pass, the experts recommend you should get up[5]. If you stay in bed it has been suggested you could associate bed with being awake and irritated. Move to another darkened room or read until you feel tired enough to go to bed again. In this time, you should certainly avoid what’s to be avoided before bed (see above).

ESTABLISH WHITE AND/OR PINK NOISE: A fan can provide white noise and temperature control. Or you can try “pink noise”, which consists of all frequencies we can hear but emphasises lower frequencies, creating a deep sound. Examples include the wind, your heartbeat, and rustling leaves. A 2017 study in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience also found a positive link between pink noise and deep sleep. YouTube Channel dalesnale [7]writes that pink noise is reminiscent of natural sounds and recalls our “primal past”- worth a try.

 There you go- a blueprint for calming times in the covers. We hope these tips help you get the sleep you deserve!

[1] https://www.alaskasleep.com/blog/the-importance-of-sleep-for-muscle-growth-and-recovery

[2] https://www.sleepfoundation.org/nutrition/alcohol-and-sleep

[3] https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side

[4]https://www.healthline.com/health/nighttime-routine#takeaway

[5] https://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/good-sleep-habits

[6] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2017.00109/full

[7] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXtimhT-ff4&ab_channel=dalesnale

The Ultimate Evening Routine for Restful Sleep

We all need sleep, that’s obvious. What’s more, we need good, restful, deep sleep to live our lives to their full potential.

There are four stages of sleep. Deep sleep is the third stage. We have a small, bean-shaped gland at the base of our brain called the pituitary gland. Throughout deep sleep, the pituitary gland releases growth hormones. These grow our body tissue and regenerate our cells. For this reason, deep sleep is a frequent recommendation of workout guides[1]. We also consolidate memories and learnt information in deep sleep. As claimed in a Medical News Today article, while all four stages are important, deep sleep is “especially important for brain health and function.” A regular pattern of behaviours relating to our sleep will assist. We are creatures of habit. What then is the optimal evening routine?

The Ultimate Evening Routine

6 hours before

AVOID CAFFEINE: Caffeine is a stimulant. Remember that caffeine is not only an element of coffee and tea. Caffeine is also found in colas and soft drinks.

4 hours before

AVOID ALCOHOL: Alcohol is a depressant and can make it easier to get to sleep. Yet this is misleading. Alcohol “decreases overall sleep quality, which can result in shorter sleep duration and more sleep disruptions.”[2]

2 hours before

AVOID BIG MEALS: Going to sleep directly after eating doesn’t give your body the time it needs to burn the unwanted calories. This can result in difficulty digesting food throughout the night and has been suggested by some to disrupt sleep.

AVOID NICOTINE: Nicotine is also a stimulant, so cigarettes and vapes are undesirable close to bedtime. Don’t be misled by the impression nicotine can calm you down.

1 hour before

AVOID BLUE LIGHT: Blue light is the high-energy type found in countless modern appliances: TVs, iPhones, computer monitors. Harvard Medical School famously concluded that “blue light has a dark side”[3]. That is, because it tricks the brain it is daytime, blue light has a negative effect on sleep. As tough as it will be in this digital era, cut down on the emails, text messages, and movies in bed. Keep the phone away! Worthwhile substitutes include paper books, word or number puzzles, and jigsaw puzzles.

AVOID VIGOROUS EXERCISE: Intense working out raises your body temperature and heartrate, worsening your ability to get shuteye. Go ahead and do this exercise, only earlier in the day- then it will benefit your sleep quality.

WRITE A TO-DO LIST: Thoughts of what we must do tomorrow can keep us up at night. Make a complete list and so discharge those thoughts from your brain to the page. Writing in diaries and journals is another strategy when emotions may be overwhelming you and causing stress.

 

WHILE IN BED

REDUCE LIGHT: As much as you can, reduce bright lights in the bedroom. Cover the clock or alarm clock to avoid clock-watching.

IF YOU ARE FAILING TO GET TO SLEEP: Accept wakefulness instead of fighting it[4]. Yet if in 20 minutes of you lying awake pass, the experts recommend you should get up[5]. If you stay in bed it has been suggested you could associate bed with being awake and irritated. Move to another darkened room or read until you feel tired enough to go to bed again. In this time, you should certainly avoid what’s to be avoided before bed (see above).

ESTABLISH WHITE AND/OR PINK NOISE: A fan can provide white noise and temperature control. Or you can try “pink noise”, which consists of all frequencies we can hear but emphasises lower frequencies, creating a deep sound. Examples include the wind, your heartbeat, and rustling leaves. A 2017 study in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience also found a positive link between pink noise and deep sleep. YouTube Channel dalesnale [7]writes that pink noise is reminiscent of natural sounds and recalls our “primal past”- worth a try.

 There you go- a blueprint for calming times in the covers. We hope these tips help you get the sleep you deserve!

[1] https://www.alaskasleep.com/blog/the-importance-of-sleep-for-muscle-growth-and-recovery

[2] https://www.sleepfoundation.org/nutrition/alcohol-and-sleep

[3] https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side

[4]https://www.healthline.com/health/nighttime-routine#takeaway

[5] https://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/good-sleep-habits

[6] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2017.00109/full

[7] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXtimhT-ff4&ab_channel=dalesnale