Want to Be More Productive? Do This Every Night
I don't know about you, but one of my favorite things is getting more done while feeling better doing it.
A determining factor in your day's productivity is how you start your morning. The first few hours set a precedent for the rest of the day. But you can also help yourself be more productive by optimizing your evening routine.
All sleep is not created equal. You know this from personal experience. Sometimes you'll get six hours of sleep and feel great. Other times you'll get nine hours of sleep and feel terrible!
There are a lot of factors that go into how well you're going to sleep and feel afterwards (for an in-depth look, click here). Either way, it's safe to say that if you sleep better you'll feel better, and you'll probably be more productive that day. So what's something simple you can do in the late evening to help you sleep better?
There's several things you can do to relax in the evening, but there's few which actually prepare you for sleep. Watching TV may make you feel ready for bed, but the combination of audio and visual stimulation - particularly LED and LCD screens - keep your brain activated.
Watching TV before going to sleep, even if you think you feel fine, disrupts the brain waves you need to feel refreshed.
The same goes for doing anything on your mobile devices or computer. Even if you're exhausted, the stimulation they provide is too disruptive.
Conversation with your spouse or roommate(s) seems like something that would help you prepare for a good night's sleep. For many, holding a conversation is a very tiring thing to do. But it will usually have the opposite effect on your mind.
Because conversation is inherently creative, your gears will keep turning despite exhaustion. It's actually something you should do in the morning to help your brain wake up.
Night caps are another popular sleep aid. A glass of wine, a shot of liquor, or a quick beer before bed will make you sleepy.
Even though alcohol is a depressant, it increases dopamine reception, which gives you an energy boost or "high" instead of keeping you down - not exactly the thing you want when you're fighting for that slow wave sleep.
Music may or may not help. I'd give you a straight answer, but there's so many variables. (Read this for a briefing.)
If you're going to listen to music before bed, it has to be instrumental, preferably of the ambiance, acoustic, or classical variety. Music is always stimulating, so even if you have something peaceful serenading you, you have to be careful.
Reading is the only thing I've come across that is guaranteed to help me unwind, de-stimulate my mind, and help me sleep well. Reading is the one thing that you can do before bed to help you be more productive the next day.
You have to, of course, choose something you'd actually like to read. Anything dense or that you might have trouble keeping up with even when completely awake is a poor choice. But something that could be described as "a quick read" is probably a good choice.
If you want to be more productive, it starts with getting a good, restful sleep the night before. To help you sleep better at night, take 30 min. to an hour to read just before going to sleep.
This will help you to relax physically, and to remove outside stimulation, both of which are necessary.