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Mastering Your Evenings for Better Sleep and a Productive Tomorrow

A Guide to Improving Sleep

Setting yourself up for success doesn't just happen in the morning – it starts the night before. Crafting an evening routine with a dual focus on optimising your sleep health and reflecting on your day can pave the way for a more productive and fulfilling life. In this blog post, we'll explore the importance of a well-designed evening routine, delve into sleep science, and provide actionable advice to help you optimise this crucial third of your life.

The Science of Sleep

If you don’t already have an evening routine and a good night's sleep occurs rarely and almost at random, then you might want to think about the changes below. You don’t need any fancy gadgets or to pay some dude hundreds of pounds to get some magic ancient remedy, what you need to do is very simple. The difficulty is in the discipline. This is where you’ll get some strong fundamentals to improve sleep health. That will have a potent effect. 

Your evening routine should revolve around securing a good night's sleep. Sleep isn't just a passive activity; it's a cornerstone of physical and mental well-being. Research indicates that chronic sleep deprivation can lead to serious health issues, from increased risk of cardiac arrest to cognitive decline and even higher rates of cancer and mortality.

Contrary to popular belief, you can't accumulate "sleep hours" like savings in a bank. So if you think doom scrolling into the AM hoping coffee and a weekend Snorlax session will save you, think again. Consistency is the key. Developing habits that ensure a sufficient and consistent amount of sleep each night can profoundly impact various aspects of your life, creating positive feedback loops that extend into your daily routines.

If someone asked me how I could optimise for failure, lousy health or just generally adverse outcomes, consistently poor sleep would in my top three responses.

Sleeping well results in enhanced cognitive function, sharpening memory and problem-solving skills. Emotional resilience blossoms, providing a robust shield against stress and anxiety. Physical health reaps the rewards with a fortified immune system and reduced risk of chronic diseases. Mood regulation becomes seamless, fostering a positive outlook on life and curbing mood swings. Elevated energy levels accompany each day, rendering slept individuals more alert, focused, and ready to conquer challenges. Additionally, healthy weights are much more likely as quality sleep supports a healthy metabolism and diminishes cravings for high-sugar and processed foods. Altogether, the benefits of a good night's sleep transcend mere rest, creating a foundation for a thriving, balanced, and productive life. It is a fundamental pillar in a holistic approach to the good life. 

Now you’re suitable convinced if you haven’t immediately left us to go catch some zzs we’ll get into how you can improve your sleep.

Actionable Advice for Better Sleep

Having spoken to many people about their sleep health, I have included in this blog only advice that I have a) Researched so it has some scientific merit, b) recommended to other people and know it works for me + a more expansive test group. You’ll note I haven’t included wearables in this list, that’s not to say they aren’t effective, I just simply have not tried them myself, my only hesitance there is that, knowing my personality, I would take things to seriously and a wearable would add to stress and make me overthink and then ironically make me sleep less.

Optimise Your Sleep Time

  • The average person needs 7-9 hours of sleep per night, but individual requirements may vary. That is sleep! Not time spent lying in bed and getting up to pee. That is total sleep per night. The amount of sleep needed can change depending on various factors, such as age. 
  • Experiment with your bedtime to find the optimal duration for you. Hint: your alarm clock should not feel like you are being punched in the face by your worst enemy.
  • Listen to your body, if you are more of a night owl, think about how you can optimise your work life to accommodate this so you still get the right amount of sleep. It is not okay to sacrifice sleep and be the guy drinking energy drink at 7am on the way to work every day. I don’t know any of these people to ask them directly to please kindly refrain from that behaviour. If they aren’t actually NPCs and you know one, please do a public service and share this blog. We’re here to help. 
  • Aim for a consistent sleep schedule to enhance the quality of your sleep.

Improve Sleep Health

  • Cultivate a healthy circadian rhythm by exposing yourself to natural light during the day. Sunlight before screenlight!
  • Stay active daily, incorporating regular breaks and exercise into your routine. Short, relatively pacey walks after meals are a game changer. Give it a go.
  • Gradually reduce caffeine intake, especially in the eight hours before bedtime. Most caffeine we consume comes in diuretic forms meaning it makes us pee more and can dihydrate us. Cutting out the caffeine is a double whammy we need to pee less in the night as well as not being chemically sleep impaired.

Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment

  • Invest in blackout blinds for a dark and conducive sleep environment.
  • Invest in high quality bedding. We are particular fans of Kuroa’s sustainable bedding.
  • Cut down on alcohol as it can adversely affect REM sleep.
  • Adopt blackout blinds and eliminate artificial light for a pitch-black sleeping environment. When traveling, a life hack is either eye masks or, if they are uncomfortable, black electrical tape to cover up those annoyingly bright little lights on TVs and air-con units, etc, in hotel rooms.

Building Habits for Better Sleep

Nutritional Choices

  • Avoid nicotine and large meals close to bed time.
  • Prepare your own meals focusing on whole foods to control ingredients and portions.
  • Transform your home into a food sanctuary by eliminating processed foods.

Sleep Hygiene

  • Set a sleep alarm to establish consistency.
  • Avoid napping after 3 pm and keep your bedroom gadget-free.
  • Limit light exposure before bed to promote melatonin production.

Physical Activity

  • Exercise earlier in the day for better sleep quality and efficiency.
  • Prioritising morning workouts means they’re missed less often and help improve sleep cycles and blood pressure regulation.

Unwind and Unplug

  • Defend your last hour before bed as a sacred time for winding down. Dedicate your last hour before bed to relaxation, avoiding work or problem-solving activities. Working too close to when you need to sleep, especially on problem-solving tasks, will leave your brain whirring and unable to drift off. It’s a great chance to get off screens and get stuck into a good book or conversation instead. 
  • Journaling is a great way to close off the day with some reflective gratitude practises. It is always easier to pass out when you have happy thoughts. You can ponder on how you will make tomorrow better than today. You can set about planning any outstanding tasks for tomorrow, which will help get them out of your head, making it easier to fall asleep. Doing this practice every day, you will automatically improve in the pursuits you care about and be much healthier as you will be overdosing on nature's magic medicine. A good night's sleep.

Your evening routine is a powerful tool for setting the stage for a successful tomorrow. By prioritising sleep health and incorporating positive habits into your evening routine, you can create a holistic approach to well-being. Remember, optimising your evenings is not just about sleep; it's about building a positive feedback loop that transforms you into a winner in all aspects of life. Start tonight, and wake up to a better tomorrow.

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