Many people struggle with sleep and waking up in the morning. After all, we’re all incredibly busy people, and the only way we can keep up often means we short-change our sleep for the sake of productivity. However, the less sleep we get, the more it negatively affects our mental health and productivity. If you design a night routine with productivity and mental health in mind, though, you can improve your sleep and your mood in the mornings, too.
How Nighttime Routines Impact Mental Health
Most people know that consistent sleep patterns help physical health. With the right amount of sleep each night, people can remain healthy for longer as they avoid diabetes, heart disease, and other health complications that come with poor sleep. What’s more, sleep boosts immune system function, which can help keep you healthier.
Sleep doesn’t just benefit your physical health, though. It can also help with your mental health and overall well-being. Physical and mental health are often connected, so it makes sense that sleep would impact both.
When you establish a nighttime routine that includes relaxing activities, you can reduce stress levels. This lowers anxiety and depression, which can positively impact your mental health.
Furthermore, a night routine helps your body ease into sleep and improves overall sleep quality. This helps improve concentration, productivity, and memory, which are necessary to maximize productivity.
What to Include in a Night Routine for Optimal Productivity & Mental Health
There are many benefits of establishing a night routine. However, there are specific items you should include in a bedtime routine if you want it to improve your mental health and productivity.
1. Turn Off Electronics
Although television shows and social media provide entertainment, electronic devices emit blue light. This blue light interrupts your brain’s perception of the time of day, which can disrupt your sleep. Therefore, turning off all electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime is best. You can even set your phone to nighttime mode, as most Android and iPhones offer.
2. Stretch or Do Yoga
Studies show that yoga before bed can significantly improve sleep quality. It can relieve muscle tension, prevent cramps during the night, and make you feel refreshed. Also, yoga calms the body and mind, improving a person’s mental health. All it takes is about 10 minutes of stretching, and these can be done in the bedroom or another space in the home that lets you spread out.
If you need help finding yoga exercises to do, you can check out some of the short nighttime yoga videos on YouTube.
3. Meditate or Try Breathing Exercises
Meditation and other relaxation techniques helps people manage emotions and stop rumination on thoughts. When combined, these skills can help make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. This is why they make an ideal addition to your nighttime routine. There are even guided meditation apps, like Calm and Headspace, that can help you practice meditation before bed.
4. Take a Warm Bath
Changes in body temperature can increase your body’s melatonin production. One way you can induce this is by taking a warm bath shortly before you get into bed. Taking a bath about an hour before bed will heat your body, then getting out of the bath will quickly cool your temperature down. Once that happens, you’ll likely feel calm and relaxed.
5. Journal or Read a Book
Journaling is a good activity for your night routine because it gives you a chance to dump any thoughts lingering inside your mind. This can help you relax and get ready to sleep without your mind worrying about anything from the day.
Similarly, reading can provide a distraction for the brain and induce sleep. Many of us grow up being read to before bed, so our bodies naturally begin falling asleep when we read or listen to audiobooks.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long should a nighttime routine take?
When planning a night routine, consider your ideal bedtime to get seven to nine hours of sleep. From there, determine how much time you must dedicate to a bedtime routine and plan activities that fill the time. Ideally, a bedtime routine should involve at least 30 minutes of activities but last no more than two hours.
What nighttime activities can make it harder to sleep?
Using electronic devices can definitely make it harder to sleep. Intense exercise, caffeine, and stimulating activities can also make it difficult to go to bed.
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