Aside from a brutal hangover or stepping on lego, there are no worse ways to start the day than a bad night’s sleep. Being sleep deprived is arguably the root cause of nearly every issue you can think of... Other than why the shape of legos are shaped so damn painfully. Anyway, not only does it affect your body’s physiology but a lack of sleep will affect your decision making, motivation and overall mood.
But you already knew this right? Because it’s easier said than done and developing a proper evening routine is hard and confusing.
That’s why I’m going to give you my personal 5 step plan to the perfect evening routine to save your sleep schedule and therefore your life. Okay slight exaggeration but let me pretend to be a hero for a second.
Here are the steps.
Step 1- Limit Caffeine before 12pm.
If you’re like me, reading that probably made you want to throw your screen at the wall and sue Slouch Potato Pty Ltd for damaging your soul. I understand the love for caffeine and I agree it is one of Earth’s most precious life sources. But in the words of the late Uncle Ben, with great power comes a great deal of adenosine receptors being blocked therefore reducing your brain’s ability to
go to sleep. Turns out Uncle Ben was a sleep specialist before he got whacked. Anyway, in English, Caffeine directly blocks the receptor in your brain that corresponds to ‘Sleep Pressure’ or tiredness. Throughout the day this naturally builds up in conjunction with an increase in melatonin until you reach a point where you’re ready for sleep. Caffeine has a half life of 6 hours meaning if
you consume it after 12pm it can and will impact your ability to fall asleep to some degree. So the easiest thing to do is to have a cutoff somewhere between 12-2pm and try not to binge it all before those hours.
Step 2- Limit your Screen
No-one likes to hear this one and for a long time I completely ignored it. But sadly the melanopsin receptors in my eyes didn’t and as a result I found it hard to switch off and fall asleep. If you expose your eyes to the light from TVs, phones, iPads or any other screen you’re interrupting your natural circadian rhythm that dictates your ability to naturally fall asleep. Now without going back to the dark ages I think the more appropriate plan would be to set your screen to ‘Night Mode’ and enjoy that sweet, sweet sepia tone that takes some getting used to.
Step 3- Relax
This step will depend on your definition of what it means to relax. Some might want to meditate for 10 minutes using apps like Calm, Waking Up or Ten percent to name a few. Others might want to sit down and watch your favourite show on Netflix (Rick and Morty or the Office do it for me). OR some might want to blast some heavy metal and grind your shins with a metal pole (Ben Affleck loved this in The Accountant. I still don’t quite get the appeal). Anyway, whatever your relaxation method is, you will need to dedicate some time to switching off in the evening. Have a shower, put on your slouch pants, decide on whether you want to be blessed with the soft marshmallow fabric or hugged by the classic slouch tops. Either way you want to be as comfortable as possible (Thankfully you’re in good hands.)
Step 4- Reflect
Journalling. Gratitude Lists. Mindfulness. These are all words that may induce feelings of nausea or an uncontrollable urge to punch whichever hippie uttered them but I encourage you to hear me out for a second! Taking the time every day to reflect on your thoughts can work wonders on your overall mood. Even something as simple as writing down what you’re grateful for at the end of the day (or if you were a piece of sh*t earlier that day) can make a HUGE difference on how you feel. I personally take 10 minutes before bed to do a few things.
1. Write down what I’m grateful for
2. Write down what went well that day
3. Write down what I could’ve done better
4. Write down anything else on my mind
5. Backspace anything too incriminating incase people find out what a piece of sh*t I really am.
Step 5- Read
This final step has probably made the biggest impact on my ability to get to sleep and also understand the English language beyond emojis and cringeworthy acronyms lmfao. Reading before bed is a habit I have developed for the past 2 years. It will calm your mind, prevent you from overthinking or worrying all whilst giving your eyeballs a workout to trigger enough drowsiness to sleep. No doubt a simple instruction but there is one trick I employ: - Read fiction or anything BUT self development books. In my experience reading something that motivates you to be better, work harder or do more will make you want to get out of bed and get to it. OR worse you’ll be left there feeling like a useless slug in bed when you could be out there winning. Save these kinds of books for the morning where you can actually use them. At night, I like to read something interesting or easy. For example a good fiction I read recently was Project Hail Mary or all of the Harry Potters (if you have a spare decade). Admittedly I also dabble in some other genres like evolutionary books by Richard Dawkins or a sprinkle of Neil De Grasse Tyson. It may seem boring but how else would I know that space is completely silent?! Or that a hobbit-like species of human lived about 18,000 years ago that was approximately the size of a three year old? Ahh, I miss my people. Hobbits aside, reading anything before bed will be beneficial. I use my iPad on night mode and 15 minutes later I’m out like a light!
So now you’re equipped with everything you need to develop the perfect evening routine, fall asleep, stay asleep and remain one of the comfiest people alive.
Let us know how you go!
Yours in Comfort,