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Evenings are an ideal time for practicing mindfulness. With the day behind you and the promise of a good night’s sleep ahead, you can unwind, reflect, and take the time to center yourself before going to bed. Here’s how you can incorporate mindfulness into your nighttime routine.
Stop Using Electronics Before Bed
Research has shown that the blue light from computers, smartphones, and other electronic devices can make it harder to fall asleep at night. Electronics are also highly distracting – it’s hard to live in the moment when you’ve got a dozen tabs open in your browser. Turn off your gadgets at least one hour before you go to bed.
Focus on the Sensory Details of Your Routine
As you get ready for bed, take some deep breaths and focus your attention on the world around you. Take a warm bath and notice the way the water feels against your skin, or light a candle and focus on its scent. If you don’t want to indulge in an entire bath, you can soak your feet in warm water or even take a wash rag dipped in warm water to gently scrub your body to encourage relaxation. I sometimes like to put lavender essential oil in the water to help increase the calm. Only use essential oils as directed.
Unwind with a Short Meditation Session
Meditation can help you let go of the day’s stress and prepare for a restful night’s sleep. Take ten minutes or so to clear your mind and focus on your breathing. Don’t meditate in bed, though, or you might accidentally fall asleep! You could always do the meditation last in bed to encourage sleep.
Relax Your Body
If you tend to carry tension in your body, make a point of relaxing before bed. Take deep, soothing breaths and consciously relax each muscle in your body, starting with your toes and moving up to your head. You can also try using a foam roller to massage any tightness out of your muscles.
Reflect on the Day in Your Journal
If you keep a mindfulness journal, evenings are a perfect time to write in it, since the events of the day are still fresh in your mind. Jot down some observations about what you experienced and accomplished, and make a note of your thoughts and feelings. If you’re working on improving your productivity, make a note of what you want to accomplish the next day.
Take a Moment to Prepare for the Next Day
Before you turn off the lights, take the time to lay out the next day’s clothes and program your coffee maker. Setting things up for your future self will help you feel less stressed about the upcoming day, and you’ll have a more productive morning if you prepare ahead of time. Pull out anything from the freezer that you might need for the next day’s dinner and prep any breakfast or lunch items that you might want to get a headstart on.
Incorporating mindfulness into your evening routine won’t just help you fall asleep more easily. It will also help you maintain a brighter outlook and get more done around the clock. Incorporate these tips into your nighttime routine, and you’ll reap the benefits all day long.
What will you try first?