It’s a time for relaxation and reflection… which used wisely, can help you make the next day constructive.
Reflect and plan
Look back on what you achieved today, and draw up a to-do list for tomorrow, to help make yourself feel content and in-control before switching your brain off for the night. Worry impairs sleep, so having a plan removes that little voice barking “what about that 10 o’clock appointment” and “don’t forget to call that client“ in the back of your mind when you’re trying to unwind after a day’s work. An agenda also boosts your productivity the next morning, allowing you to hit the ground running.
Unplug from work
You’re chilling out on the couch enjoying your favourite Netflix series on the box . . . and a work email pings on your phone. It’s tempting to reply — and sure, some issues are urgent — but don’t let incessant back-and-forth messages tear apart your me-time every evening. Being glued to your inbox prevents you from ever truly feeling ‘off’ away from the office.
Give yourself three hours between the time you want to go to bed and eating or drinking anything, because your body will keep you up tossing and turning as it digests what you’ve consumed. There’s nothing wrong with a glass of wine or beer earlier in the evening — you’re a rare breed if you’ve never had a knock-off drink to help you relax after a long day at work — but you shouldn’t be sipping and snacking right before bed if you want quality sleep at soon as you hit the sack.
Let’s get scientific: the blue light emitted by your iPhone, iPad, TV and laptop blocks the release of melatonin in the body, the hormone that helps you fall asleep — so switch off all your electronics an hour before you want to nod off. Consider designating your bedroom an electronics black spot so you can enjoy great sleep the moment your head hits the pillow.
Channel your inner eight-year-old and read yourself a bedtime story before you go to sleep. Reading fiction, in particular, helps you de-stress by engrossing you in a make-believe world detached from the real-life pressures and anxieties that might be filling your head and causing you to toss and turn at night.