Tips For Establishing a Healthy Evening Routine
Making the most of our evenings after a long day at work isn’t always easy, especially when the majority of us feel tired, hungry and, more often than not, stressed. However, it is possible to optimise the hours between bed-time. Here’s 5 simple tips to help you feel better prepared.
What to eat (and when)
The time we eat in the evening can be the difference between a good and bad night’s sleep. Try to eat your evening meal two hours before you go to bed. Ideally, your biggest meal will be lunch so you have time to digest it properly. If you go to bed with low blood sugar, it may dip, which can cause an adrenaline surge to wake you up in the early hours1.
A great recipe for a great evening meal could be a healthy turkey and broccoli stir fry with brown rice. The turkey is rich in tryptophan, an amino acid which encourages your body to produce melatonin2. Broccoli contains folate, vitamin C and vitamin K, while brown rice contains fibre, B-vitamins, magnesium and selenium.
Cut the caffeine
Caffeine is a stimulant and the speed at which it is metabolised in the body can vary between individuals. If you do enjoy coffee in the afternoon, but find it affects your sleep, try switching to decaffeinated3.
Limit screen time
The smallest amount of light in your bedroom can affect the quality of your sleep, so it’s a good idea to avoid smartphones, laptops and TVs. The blue light emitted by technology prompts your body to produce serotonin rather than melatonin, which can keep you awake. On top of this, watching TV in bed makes it difficult to switch your brain off.
De-stress with exercise
If you’re feeling stress, anxiety or tension in the mind or body pre-sleep yoga could be the answer you’re looking for. Yoga for Bedtime, a 20 Minute Practice by YouTuber Adrienne can help to remedy imbalance and prepare your body for sleep. Watch here.
Most adults need between six and nine hours of sleep every night4. Our sleep environment is important - your bedroom ideally needs to be dark, quiet, tidy and be kept at a temperature of between 18°C and 24°C5. If you have difficulty sleeping, a regular bedtime routine can help. Keeping regular sleeping hours programmes the brain and internal body clock to get used to a set routine5. If you find you’re struggling to sleep, try out the NHS recommended Sleep Dairy which can offer insight into the reasons for poor sleep6.