Truth be told, most people don’t want to hear about an ultimate night routine. Shouldn’t we just chill after a long day of work? Put some deep-fried food in the microwave, open a beer, and watch a couple of episodes of the newest Netflix series?
This might sound tempting, but it is also a proven productivity killer. Bad evening habits will tarnish the quality of your sleep and subsequently impair the prosperity of your next day. Snooze button, anyone? This is why you need to fine-tune your night habits for success.
In this context, the best way to ensure serene and unbroken sleep is to integrate a combination of organization and relaxation into your night routine.
The ultimate night routine
A blank mind and a good night’s rest are imperative conditions for a successful morning and a productive day. The following are 10 of the best evening habits to clear your thoughts and to set your mind for success before going to bed.
1. Check your to-do list and create a new one
As mentioned in almost every personal growth book, daily or weekly to-do lists are a must for anyone who aspires to do anything. Ever wondered why to-do lists are praised so often? Because they work.
Bar some kind of miraculous circumstances, a to-do list will track your progress and act as a silent companion throughout your projects. This is why creating and monitoring to-do lists is an integral section of my night routine.
Personally, I have pretty strict rules. I don’t even think about going to bed until I cross off all the tasks on my list. If that sounds too radical, start slow.
Look at your to-do list and define the essentials. If at least 4 out of 5 essential tasks are completed, you can go to bed knowing that your day was a success.
Speaking of which, whether you have to postpone certain to-dos or add new ones to your plans, preparing for the next day is a crucial evening habit.
Consequently, drafting a new to-do list before going to sleep is among the best evening habits to set the foundations for a productive morning.
2. Prepare your outfit for the next day
One of the easiest ways to feel productive at night is to ready your clothes for the next day. This will save you some valuable time in the morning and also eliminate a potential stress factor from the get-go.
If you dress minimalist, prepping your outfit will be a piece of cake. In this context, a combination of discrete colors and timeless designs is my go-to method for efficient everyday clothing.
Another great habit is to organize your gym clothes for the next day. This will exhibit an invisible but unmissable get up you lazyass sign. It will also reduce the time you’ll need to pack your stuff for the gym – ie you’ll have less time to make excuses.
3. Check the bathroom, the kitchen, and the living room for tidiness
A brief checkup of your home is an essential addition to any night routine. Remember, a night routine is all about emptying your mind to improve the quality of your sleep.
Take a quick look at all the rooms you used during the day. Are there still dishes lying around? Is the bathroom nice and tidy? The idea is to avoid small chores in the morning. While this short checkup shouldn’t turn into a major decluttering session, it should help you contain impending clutter.
4. Dress comfortably
After making sure that the house is neat and tidy, change into comfortable clothes. Why not before? Simple, staying in your work clothes makes it easier to proceed with the checkup of your living spaces.
Keeping your normal clothes on after work instills a feeling of continuity. It prevents your mind from adopting a recreational mood. In simple terms, you’ll feel like your day isn’t done yet.
As a consequence, once you put on your nightclothes, your mind will be able to shift toward relaxation. Do this after you have completed point 3.
5. Ditch alcohol and excess food
To make it plain, my ultimate night routine is a routine. By definition, there are exceptions to a routine. Accordingly, this rule doesn’t come into effect on your Saturday night out.
During the week, you should refrain from heavy dinners and alcohol. While after-work beers or cocktails are often expected in the corporate world, they are also predestined to kill your work rhythm and productivity.
Alcohol and immoderately filling meals like fries, pizza, or tacos take longer to digest and also harden the task of falling asleep. If you are required to attend an alcohol-infused corporate event, simply drink water.
I know the feeling. You will get looks and the odd “does your religion forbid alcohol?” remark. Adopting a minimalist mindset will help you deal with those reactions in swift and conclusive fashion. The solution is to simply ignore them. Focus on your priorities and leave the culinary indulgences for the weekend.
Cutting down on excess food during the week has another advantage. Once you manage to restrict yourself on weekdays, your Saturday night dinner will become a highly satisfying event, not just a recurring eating habit.
6. Clean your face and brush your teeth
While some people like to bathe or shower at night, I usually take a shower after my gym session – anywhere between 6am and 5pm.
After that, I might take another one but only if I leave the house afterwards. This is why showering is not part of my ultimate night routine. No matter. If you are fond of night showers, add one to this point.
Face cleaning and tooth brushing, on the other hand, are indispensable self-care habits. We tend to forget how much time of our lives we spend sleeping – gluing our faces to pillows.
Regardless of your sleeping position, your cheeks and forehead will remain pressed against a certain fabric for a couple of hours. You might not realize it, but this will affect your skin at some point.
Just think about it: 7 to 8 hours a day for 20 years. This amounts to a lot of hours. To counter this effect, nightly skincare is of paramount importance.
Personally, I use Brickell’s face cream. I have been using their products for quite a while now, mostly because I like their discrete scent coupled with their soothing feeling. In line with their beard and hand products, Brickell’s face moisturizer is top-notch.
7. Express gratitude to yourself and the people you love
Whether you share the bed with your partner or not, spreading positive energy and gratitude is part of the ultimate night routine.
Start by looking at your journal and re-evaluate today’s events. Even if you are just taking baby steps, progress is progress. Whatever your current endeavors might be, ask yourself what you have done today to edge closer toward your goal.
Write down a couple of bullet points and congratulate yourself for today’s achievements. They may be small, but they count. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
After rejoicing your accomplishments, transmit this positive energy to someone you love. Whether it’s your significant other, your parents, or someone else, sharing the positive attitude you built for yourself will launch a cycle of gratification. This will, in turn, further your own peace of mind and contribute to a good night’s sleep.
8. Read between 20 and 60 minutes
Without a shadow of a doubt, reading is part of the ultimate night routine. Scrap your nightly Netflix sessions and enter the world of timeless literary wisdom.
Whether it’s fiction, self-development, or history, there are books for every taste and every level of reading proficiency. If you follow this blog, you’ll know that I am an avid bookworm. I generally spend the last hour of my day reading on a Lenovo tablet.
If you need more stimulus, here are some reasons why reading is among the best evening habits.
First, it does a much better job at increasing your brain’s fatigue levels than television or films. Why? Because it’s impossible to read and do something else at the same time. Your eyes and mind are focused on one activity – accelerating the act of subduing your thoughts and thereby readying your brain for sleep.
Secondly, reading is practically synonymous with quietness. Ever tried talking and reading at the same time? Won’t work. Diving into a book enables you to stop listening, talking, and registering any other noises in the background.
This, again, will instill tranquility in your mind and simplify the act of shutting down your thoughts – securing uninterrupted restfulness.
9. Put your electronic devices away and fade to black
Once you finish your nightly reading session, store your phone somewhere you can’t reach it. This will make it easier to resist the almighty snooze button. The same goes for your tablet, kindle, and every other electronic device. 1
Once your bedside tables are clear, fade to black. I know that some people like to sleep with a small light on. This seems rather counterintuitive in my opinion. Hence, my minimalist night routine includes pitch-black darkness.
Remember, the best evening habits are geared towards emptying your mind for a good night’s rest.
Light usually signifies the opposite of an empty mind. By leaving your furniture, clothes, and doors visible through lightning, you’ll be reminded of daily activities, not nocturnal calmness.
10. Take a step back and clear your mind
Finally, once the lights are off, there is only one thing left to do: shut down your mind. Get into your most comfortable sleeping position, take a mental step back, and eliminate the last thoughts that might be wandering around. Good night.
Useful links on the ultimate night routine
- more in the section “Life”
- read 10 ways to instant productivity improvement
- Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker on Amazon
- more under the topic “Productivity”