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5 habits to improve your nighttime routine

If you scroll through any type of social media, you'll see aesthetic morning routines or examples of "5-9s before 9-5s" or even "5-9s after 9-5s". And while these can be inspiring, motivating, or intriguing, I would argue that dialing in your nighttime routine will be more impactful than focusing on your morning routine.

 

For some people, maybe mornings are the calm before the storm. Maybe this is the time of day when you have a quiet house, can get your workout in, do your skincare routine, or have time to focus on you by reading, meditating, or doing breath work. I am all for promoting these positive habits.

 

On the other hand, if you are someone who works all the way up to your bedtime, endlessly scrolls social media in bed, or is rushes around all the way to lights out, I think it would be worth addressing your nighttime routine.

 

Sleep is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle we call health. Sleep affects your recovery, cognitive abilities, motor skills, problem solving capabilities, hunger hormones, and hormones in general. You want to prepare your body for sleep in a way that will allow you to get the most out of it. If you are cramming in one last email or scrambling around the house before you get to sleep, you are not setting up your body for a successful sleep. This isn't to say you're completely botching your sleep by doing this every once in a while, but there is room for improvement in unwinding for the evening.

 

5 habits to improve your nighttime routine and quality of sleep:

1. End screen time 1-2 hours before bed (yes, this includes both doom scrolling and work). By looking at a screen, you are telling your brain to stay stimulated. Especially if you are swiping through Instagram or another social media app. It's showing you a new and different post that you're looking at for .3 seconds before moving onto the next. Try to minimize the constant shift in brain stimulation and grab a book instead.


2. Dim the lights. I know there's a debate out there between overhead light people and lamp people, but regardless of your take on it, there is a time of night to become a lamp person. Dimming the lights will help cue your body that you are winding down for the evening.


3. Lower the thermostat. We sleep better in cooler temperatures. Drop the thermostat down just a couple degrees to stay comfortable overnight and allow your body to reach it's overnight core temperature.


4. Get your hygiene right. Whether that's a full on skincare routine or a simple brushing and flossing of your teeth, feeling clean before bed is a relaxing way to end the day.


5. Aim to go to bed at the same time each night most of the time. If you know me, I generally get ready for bed at 9:00pm and prefer to be lights out by 9:30pm. That doesn't mean you need to go to bed that early, too, but choose a time that works for you and your schedule, be it 10:00, 10:30, etc. Since the general recommendations are to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night, I recommend working backwards from your wake up time to decide on a bed time. For example, I wake up at 5:30am, therefore I aim to go to bed at 9:30pm to get 8 hours of sleep.

 

In my opinion, these five steps will set you up for more success for the next day than any morning routine day of ever will. To minimize the load of my morning routine, I implement a couple extra helpful habits. I set out my clothes for the next day and get my work station set up for my first session of the day. Assuming you aren't a Personal Trainer like me, you could replace these steps with getting your WFH desk organized or packing up your office bag with your laptop and lunch.


What else would you add to this list?

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Katharine Moustakes
Hey, friend!

I'm Katharine.

I'm a personal trainer, running coaching, and nutrition coach who's stoked about lifting, the outdoors, summit snacks, and my dog.

 

I understand that fitness is not your whole life. Fitness is a PART of your life. I approach training in a way that adds value to your life and longevity, so you can enjoy being active whether you're romping around in the mountains, playing with your kids, or signing up for your first 10K race.

I'm here to meet you where you are, so you can train safely and effectively, and gain strength and confidence both in the gym and on the trails.

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