15 Things You Can Do Before Bed (That Don’t Involve Your Cell Phone)
The light from your cell phone, laptop, tablet, and TV does more than illuminate your droopy eyed bed-time face. According to science, it disrupts your sleep. And here at Healthversed, we don’t mess around with science.
To paraphrase the study, pre-bedtime exposure to those evil, back-lit displays suppresses your brain’s ability to produce the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, making it harder for you to fall asleep. But wait, there’s more. Bedtime screen watching reduces your total REM sleep minutes by disrupting your body’s natural circadian rhythm and it increases your risk of developing a sleep disorder.
Trying to squeeze in another episode of Grey’s Anatomy may seem innocent enough, but it’s a dangerously unproductive habit. We aren’t here to chastise you, though. Here at Healthversed, we’re all about offering up some creative, productivity enhancing solutions! So, let’s take a look at a few screen-less pre-bed routines that’ll increase productivity and sleep quality. Let’s go!
Turn off the gadgets
The first step to a restful night’s sleep is turning off all of those pesky devices. Shutting down your phone, TV, or laptop for the evening comes with a satisfying feeling of finality. By unplugging for the remainder of the day, you’re rewarding yourself for a job well done with a clutter-free, stress-free, electricity-free calmness.
The pros recommend shutting down your devices roughly 45 minutes before beginning to shut down your brain for the night. If that’s too long, don’t worry. You’re allowed to build up to it. Start with 20 minutes and build from there.
So, you’ve shut off your devices. Congratulations! Now what? You know, before (wo)mankind relished in the calming glow of Netflix, they read books for entertainment. Go down to the local library, borrow something with an eye-catching cover (for free!) and start flipping pages.
Reading before bed will help calm you down and prepare for sleep in a gentle, relaxing way. More than that, reading on a regular basis has been shown to stave off Alzheimer’s, increase cognitive function, and even increase empathy. Talk about efficiency!
This fantastic evening routine will save you money, encourage healthy eating habits, and enhance the quality of your sleep. Tonight, instead of reaching for the phone, reach for the cutting board. Peel some carrots for a healthy snack, chop some cucumbers for a salad, or wash some produce to fuel the pending adventures of tomorrow. Be proactive and set future-you up with a few healthy snacks. Not only will you go to bed ready for sleep, but you’ll wake up the next morning prepared for the challenge ahead.
Have we mentioned how much we love meditation? We’re pretty sure we did, but it bears repeating all the same. It eases stress, combats anxiety, and provides all of us with a much-needed time out. It’s also a bit awkward if you’ve never done it before.
Don’t get hung up on the chanting either. Meditation is all about mindful breathing. You can sit, stand, or lie down … it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that you try your very best to focus on your breath. Can’t do 10 minutes without getting unbearably bored? Start with five or even two! When it comes to meditation, all that matters is that you start.
Reflect on the day’s accomplishments
We all spend so much time focusing on the tasks before us that we often forget to celebrate the completed ones of our recent past. Not unlike a victory lap following the completion of another successful race, setting aside a few minutes to reflect on all that you’ve accomplished is a great way to go to bed with feelings of positive finality. Keep a journal, make a list of your daily accomplishments, and close the book on another successful day in the life of you!
We take on a lot of tension throughout the course of the day. Nurses have notoriously tight leg muscles, while computer jockeys carry tension in their shoulders and back. Nothing that a quick and easy evening stretching routine can’t undo.
Release the tension in your legs, lower back, and neck to experience a more restful night’s sleep with a gadget-free evening stretching routine tailored to your body. And as a bonus, you’ll help combat common symptoms of aging, too.
Take a shower
Is there anything better than cozying up in a bed of clean sheets after a warm, relaxing shower? A warm evening shower soothes both the body and the mind. Not unlike Pavlov’s salivating dog, your body will learn to associate shower time with bed time, and will wind itself down accordingly.
What’s more, opting for an evening shower instead of a morning one can also lighten your morning load, giving you a few extra minutes to sleep, enjoy a coffee, or prepare a healthy breakfast.
Do a puzzle
Much like reading, plugging away at a puzzle before bed simultaneously stimulates and relaxes the mind. Pick up a crossword puzzle, spread 1000 pieces across the dining room table, or try your hand at the newspaper’s daily Sudoku challenge. Not only are brain games a fantastic, screen-free time killer, but they’re also great for your brain!
Pick up a hobby
The possibilities are endless! Learn to paint, build a model airplane, dust off your old guitar, or knit a sweater for a loved one. Hobbies can be rewarding, productive, and even bring in some cash. Just because the activity is phoneless, doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Do a little internet sleuthing, find a hobby that piques your interest, and start today! And, hey! Perhaps you’ll fall in love with something new and turn it in to your very own business!
Looking for a little more structure to your evening stretching routine? Why not try a simple and relaxing evening yoga routine? If you’ve never tried yoga before, we encourage you to give one of the home videos a shot. You’ll be able to explore the movements of your own body from the comfort of your home. No self-consciousness necessary.
Prepare for the morning
Waking up knowing that all of your ducks are in a row is a relieving feeling. And even more, preparing for the next day doesn’t require a cell phone.
Plan your outfit, tidy up your home, stock up your briefcase, or fill your purse with everything you need to take on the day. Knowing that you’re prepared for all obstacles will provide you with feelings of control and confidence. Don’t believe us? Shut off that phone and see for yourself!
Set goals for the following day
Much like meal prepping, goal setting is a great way to set you on a successful path. Sit down, visualize the following day, and write down all that you hope to accomplish in it. Perhaps you’d like to go for a run after work, get a little gardening in, or begin looking for a new job. Goal setting can keep you motivated to improve your life in small, meaningful ways.
Phone a friend
So, you’ve done your yoga, prepped for the following day, and still have some time to kill. Why not phone a friend! Strong, meaningful relationships are essential to the overall quality of our lives. And the best way to build strong, meaningful relationships is by talking, obviously! Convince your friend to also limit their pre-bed screen time and tell them to expect a pre-bed phone call. Rediscover the lost art of the phone conversation. Just remember, not all of your friends will appreciate a late night phone call. Give them a warning first!
Much like making your bed in the morning, tidying up before you head to bed can provide you with a welcome feeling of order and control. Do the dishes, do some laundry, and tidy up your home office. Tidying up can work wonders for your physical and mental health too. Productive, healthy, and most importantly, phone-free!
Do the laundry
Folding, ironing, and hanging may not be your idea of recreation, but laundry needs to get done and you’ve got the time right now! So get folding, get ironing, and get hanging!
Set yourself up with a clean home, clean laundry and an efficient, quality night’s sleep. Tomorrow-you will be thankful!