7 Things You Should Never Do in the Evening

Visual Freedom

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Do you ever wake up in the morning feeling exhausted even though you got enough sleep?

If your answer is yes, it’s likely because you couldn’t fully recover throughout the night.

And in most cases, that’s because you spend your evenings doing the wrong things and don’t calm down before going to bed. As Bryant McGill once said:

“Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges.”

A proper evening routine can set the tone for a successful day and help you stay calm, productive, and effective, even if you face difficulties.

If you spend your evenings stressed out, you’ll take that negative energy to bed and won’t be able to fully recover during the night. But if you fix your evenings, your mornings are automatically going to get better as well.

What you do in the evening has a tremendous influence on your sleep. And the quality of your sleep heavily influences all aspects of your life.

If you’re sleepy, you can’t perform at your best, you’re not in a good mood, and you’re more nervous.

Additionally, studies prove that a lack of sleep leads to less creativity, more stress, and underperformance. This lack of rest leads to millions of people not living up to their full potential because they’re tired.

To sleep better, you need to take care of what you do before going to bed and above all, you need to eliminate the following habits.

Checking Work-Related Emails and Messages

As a passionate entrepreneur, I know how difficult it can sometimes be to ignore your work and just relax.

My office is basically my living room and I think of my business all the time because I love what I do.

Yet, I try to disconnect from work-related messages at least an hour before going to bed. I disable all notifications on my laptop and put my phone aside.

If you take your work-related problems to bed, you’ll never fully recover because you’ll always be thinking about the next to-dos.

And the reality is that you’ll never be done. People will always message you, so it’s up to you to set boundaries and guard your mental energy before going to bed.

What to do instead:

No matter how anxious or curious you are, you need to train yourself to stop checking work-related updates shortly before going to bed.

Barely any email will ever be so crucial that you need to respond late at night, so it can as well wait until the next morning.

Disconnecting from work and connecting with yourself will help you feel more energized and get a well rest.

If you’re working from home or struggling to separate your private life from work, you can create an end-of work ritual. By repeating a specific routine, you can train your mind to stop checking work-related messages after a specific time.

You can, for instance, end your workday by cleaning your desk, listening to a specific song, doing a short meditation, or through any other activity that helps you detach from work and get into a more playful, relaxed mood.

Making Important Decisions

After a long day, your willpower is used up and you don’t have much mental energy left. That’s why you should never make important or difficult decisions late at night.

The more decisions we make throughout a day, the harder it becomes to choose. This is also called decision fatigue. Your willpower is like a battery: If it’s empty, you need to recharge it through a break, some snacks, an energizing activity, or a good night's sleep.

What to do instead:

If you need to make important decisions, do it in the morning or throughout the day as long as you have a fresh, energized mind.

Make sure that your evenings are a time of relaxation and me-time and avoid anything that makes it difficult to calm down and enjoy your evening.

Arguing With Your Partner

If you’re in a relationship, you might know that sometimes fights start in the least expected situations.

Misunderstandings can happen more easily in the evening as we’re usually more sensitive and tired.

What to do instead:

Whenever possible, avoid having arguments or important discussions right before going to bed. This won’t only make you sad and angry, but it’ll also harm the quality of your sleep as it’s hard to sleep well when we’re full of emotions.

Each day is a fresh new beginning, so make sure to clear up arguments before going to bed so that you can start the next day without negative emotions.

Working on the Most Important Task of the Day

There’s nothing easier than spending an entire day feeling busy without getting much done.

It can be tempting to procrastinate on important tasks until the end of the day because you think that you still have lots of time.

But at the end of your day, difficult tasks will stress you because you’ll have less mental energy to tackle challenging to-dos efficiently.

In most cases, you’ll also be slower and less effective when getting work done in the evening because your energy will be depleted.

What to do instead:

Whenever possible, make sure to get the critical to-dos done early in the day.

Towards the end of your workday, you should do the easy, repetitive tasks that don’t cost you much energy. That way, you can slowly slide into home time and unwind more easily.

Exposing Yourself to Artificial Lightning

From an evolutionary perspective, our bodies are dependent on lightning to be able to tell whether it’s day or night. Yet, that’s a challenge today because most people are exposed to artificial lighting all the time.

We turn on the lights as soon as we get up and spend the majority of our time staring at screens and smartphones, making it even more difficult to differentiate between day and night.

The artificial blue light emitted by our screens has an additional negative influence on our sleep patterns as it harms the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps us to fall asleep with ease and sleep well.

Due to the exposure to artificial lighting, our bodies can barely differentiate between day and night anymore. Thus, falling asleep is more difficult after staring at our screens late at night.

What to do instead:

Being on your phone or laptop late at night, keeps your brain alert and harms the quality of your sleep. Even though watching your favorite movie or typing a few messages might not seem like a big deal, that’s what it is.

Browsing through the web keeps your brain active while all you need after a busy day is to disconnect and unwind.

Whenever possible, avoid screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Experts even recommend avoiding artificial light through screens 90 minutes before bedtime.

Instead, do things that help you calm down, such as reading, stretching, meditation, or any other calming activity.

If you really can’t stop using your devices, install a blue light blocker on your screens (e.g., f.lux). By doing so, the blue light of your screens will turn into a red light, which is less harmful to your body and sleep. Most phones already have a “night feature”. Alternatively, you can also grab a pair of blue light blocking glasses.

In addition to avoiding screens, dimming the lights of your bedroom will also improve the quality of your sleep.

If possible, completely darken your room through curtains or grab a pair of sleeping masks.

Overeating

Late-night snacks or a big, delicious dinner can be pretty tempting after a long and exhausting day. And even though there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself with good food, overeating in the evening can lead to numerous negative effects.

Even if it might satisfy your cravings, eating carb-loaded or fatty meals before going to bed harms your sleep quality and should be avoided. Additionally, eating late can cause inflammation and impairments in blood sugar regulation and weight gain.

Whenever possible, avoid eating late at night. Your sleep, body, and performance will reward you for doing so.

Also, make sure to avoid caffeinated drinks in the afternoon so that your body can get rid of the caffeine until bedtime. Overconsumption of caffeine often leads to sleep problems, which leaves you tired, leading to more caffeine consumption, and soon you find yourself in a doom loop of coffee and lousy sleep.

Caffeine usually has a half-life of around 5–8 hours. This means that half of the substance will be removed from your body in 5–8 hours. That’s why you should stop drinking coffee at noon or in the early afternoon to ensure your body gets rid of the caffeine until bedtime.

What to do instead:

If you’re eating dinner late in the evening, make sure to consume light meals that won’t harm the quality of your sleep. Whenever possible, choose to eat dinner earlier rather than late at night.

Instead of a late-night snack, you can drink herbal teas such as camomille, lavender, or mint to improve your sleep.

Excessive Exercising

Even though you should move your body regularly, you shouldn’t do it close to bedtime.

Heavy exercising right before going to bed isn’t favorable as it boosts your metabolism, pumps your heart rate, and makes it difficult to calm down.

While the effects of an intense workout can vary for each person, most people find it harder to slow down, relax, and sleep comfortably when they exercise late at night.

Whenever possible, exercise a few hours before going to bed so that your body has enough time to slow down before falling asleep.

What to do instead:

While an excessive workout in the evening might harm the quality of your sleep, a massage and some stretching can be great ways to improve your sleep quality.

Stretching and massaging your body with a foam roller will not only improve the quality of your sleep but also help to calm down, connect with your intuition, and let go of tension.

Final Thoughts

What you do late at night heavily influences the quality of your sleep. And how well you sleep influences how you feel in the morning, which again affects your entire day.

Quite often, a good life is the result of good rituals. Allowing yourself to calm down before bedtime is one of these priceless routines. As Mike Murdock once said:

“The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.”

The more disciplined you are about avoiding these seven mistakes before going to bed, the easier your life will be.

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