Elated moments when a day at work arrives is what many of us enjoy to the fullest.
Those last-minute to-do’s for what must be done the following day are our final spurt before we cross the proverbial finish line. We grab hold onto these switches-on–switch-off moments with full force when the clock signals it is time to close down.
These, on average, 8-hour working days are what bring in the cash to support our family and preferred lifestyle. We feel accomplished when we deliver of what is requested from us. Rest and respite are those non-negotiable recharge moments with our beloved ones. Time to kick up our feet, go for a work-out. Or join your partner in the kitchen to get dinner on the table are some of the examples we abide by personally.
We all have our moments to reflect on the day once we shut down our computer.
But are you aware that what leads to how you tackle tomorrow starts the day before?
When we fill in the definition of an evening, unwind and relax is inked in the average agenda. The connection between how you fill in the hours just before and after sunset may well be the hours to reset. However, little attention is given to add some structure to your evening.
And it is all enveloped in how we approach bedtime and the sleep cycle we intend to hit.
Just like going out for a run or hitting the fitness floor, reframing your evenings from an unwinding time to a warm-up session brings forward a huge amount of benefits. Reframing our evening approaches and breaking these up in sessions to get to bed and maximise our slumber time may just well be the key to how you experience tomorrow.
Those regularly exercising, a warm-up forms the backbone to signal your body that activity is on the horizon. We are firing up our cardiorespiratory system and igniting the neurons in our nervous systems to stimulate muscle movement.
Without it, we may not be able to perform at our finest. It may see some sweat stains here and there, but that is all part of the process. A good and effective warm-up can make or break that one hour of exercise we penned in our calendar.
Similar principles have been proven to bring benefits of extraordinary proportions to your evening routines. There is no need to break out a sweat (unless you enjoy an evening work-out). But adding some nighttime structure will not only benefit your sleep but also can improve your mood, energy levels, and productivity.
By integrating a three-two-one principle into every single evening, the chances you shine brighter with sunrise can exponentially grow. Using a combination of body clock characteristics, the rising and falling of hormones, and controlling our environment have proven to be the foundation for a good night sleep. And as you may expect, it is followed by a better you once kicking away your bedsheets.
Our body loves rhythm.
It thoroughly enjoys the benefits when certain principles before our well-deserved dream state are integrated inside 24 hours. It wants to perform optimally to give you that rejuvenation boost. Consider these three steps before laying your head to rest.
Around 3 hours before going to bed, recommend stopping eating completely. The reason is that when you eat, your body automatically starts metabolising the food you ate. This will take approximately three hours before your digestive system has completed its processes and eases into relaxation mode. As mentioned, our body loves regularity and seamlessly moves from one cycle to the other. Yet only one cycle at a time.
To support our body clock to effectively start the sleeping cycle, we do want blood to flow to our brain instead of our stomach. Brain activity to sort and clean the thoughts of the day happens when we are asleep. And this requires energy.
Optimally handing over the baton from the digestive system to the cognitive system will ensure you maximise your effort in the 4 x 100-metre relay and may get a spot on the proverbial winner’s platform for the next day.
Some small errands to type away or checking whether project tasks are aligned with the plan often spring to our mind post clocking out from working mode. We all have those checks in place to ensure we have done all we can on that day.
However, limiting your screen time is essential to get a rejuvenating amount of good sleep. When we work, the stress hormone cortisol can stay elevated which you do not want. We do want our stress levels to be dropping as low as possible because hitting our comfortable pillow should be as relaxing. It must be a smooth sailing experience.
One of the hormones we want to see peaking – melatonin – is affected when our cortisol levels are high. This sleep-inducing substance is gradually building up during the day until the first yawn hits you. This natural process is interlinked with our personal circadian cycle.
Some of us are night owls. Others tend to be awake even before the rooster welcomes another day.
Turning off your computer and disengaging from work must happen here. Anything that may keep cortisol levels performing at peak levels should be avoided. It is time to chill. Those two hours before sleep is crucial to let melatonin do its shutting-eyes work effortlessly.
We are constantly surrounded by light.
The amount of Lux exposure (the measurement of brightness) hitting our retinas also discourages melatonin in hitting their maximum performance. While the sun may have set in the west, the amount of artificial light engulfing our environment has increased dramatically over the past years. Exposure to particularly blue light (mobile phones, screens, televisions, etc.) really can affect our melatonin levels.
One hour before bedtime, dim all the lights as much as possible. I strongly recommended not to bring any mobile devices in the bedroom. I highlight this for reasons more than just omitting blue light exposure when slumber time has arrived.
Avid readers; have no fear, a solution is here. If you are eager to continue reading a chapter in bed, a reading light is essential to get to the plot of things (duh). By wearing blue light blocking glasses, the chances to have your retinas exposed to the light illuminating the pages of your book may just be the thing you need. It is carefully placing the lights in your bed or living room to an absolute minimum.
This three-step evening strategy has proven to effectively increase sleep quality and energy levels for what lies tomorrow and take on this with zest and a recharged bodily battery. We all have different approaches when we want to implement this three-two-one evening warm-up.
Just stay consistent with these daily warm-ups, even during the weekends. You will soon reap the benefits to thrive beyond what you expected was possible to increase your productivity and sleep quality.
These are merely some of the ideas we can implement when in need of some good quality sleep.
The Perfect Day Begins with a Good Evening | Anonymous