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Build the perfect evening routine

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This week we’ve been focusing on how improving your quality of sleep can improve your wellbeing. While all this information is great, if you don’t stick to a routine these tips and tricks will only have a limited effect.

So how do you build the perfect evening wind-down routine? We’re here to tell you!

You’ve probably heard some of this advice before, but the important thing here is to build a routine that you can stick to; allowing your body to physically and mentally relax before going to bed.


Find your way of relaxing

Everyone finds different activities relaxing, so find what works for you. It could be reading, knitting, listening to a podcast or maybe something arty. Whatever you find relaxing make sure you make time to do these things each evening and build them into your evening routine.


Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness has been spoken about a lot over the last year, but what does it really mean?

Practising mindfulness is all about focusing on the now rather than worrying about the past or future. Being in the present can be difficult, especially with so much going on in the world at the moment, but keep practising and you’ll find it gets easier. Taking a moment to practice mindfulness before bed can lead to a better quality of sleep as you diminish worries and anxieties, so give it a go!


Get smart with your smartphone

Does anyone else feel like they spend all day staring at a screen? Whether it’s your laptop, tv or smartphone, our reliance on technology has increased no end during the pandemic. Now our main form of learning, working and socialising it can feel like you are chained to your devices. While the increased use of technology itself doesn’t necessarily impact our sleep, the way we use technology can have a negative effect.

So get smart with the way you use your smartphone! Try and put it down at least 1 hour before you go to bed (I mean, you’re probably just flicking aimlessly between the same 4 apps anyway?) and do something away from a screen. You may also want to consider using a blue light filter on your devices; this will reduce the amount of blue light they emit leading to an increase in the sleep hormones your body produces.


Think about what you drink

A lot of us like a cup of tea or coffee in the morning to wake us up, but having one before bed isn’t a great idea! While we all know that caffeine is a stimulant that helps to keep us awake and alert, we are not always mindful of this when we reach for the kettle in the evening.

Try and reduce your caffeine intake 3 hours before you go to bed, so if you want to be in bed by 10:30pm that means no caffeine after 7:30pm. Sugary drinks may also have a negative impact on your sleep so you should try and avoid these before bed too.


Plan ahead

While we’re studying and working from home it can be difficult to switch off, leaving some of us feeling like we’re living at work. Without a distinct disconnection, it can be hard to stop thinking about what happened at college during the day and what may happen tomorrow. Even now we’ve returned to blended learning, with all the disruption to education for the last year it’s no wonder lots of us are thinking about what issues the next day may

Writing down a plan for the day ahead can help clear your mind when you get into bed, leading to a better quality of sleep. Try writing out a to-do list and setting small goals that you want to try and achieve the following day. Plan out your routine, what time you’ll get up, what bus/train you’ll catch, what you’ll use your independent study time for.

Planning ahead will help you feel more in control and less anxious about tomorrow, leading to a relaxed mind that will be better able to peacefully drift off to sleep.