Thursday, 6 October 2016

college night routine

Having a routine helps in a lot of ways - it enables you to feel organized, to calm down, to unwind before bed, to maintain check of your priorities, and most importantly, to get enough sleep.

As the nights here in LA begin to cool down, and Fall settles itself upon us, having a calming and relaxing nighttime routine not only relaxes me personally, but also allows me to get excited for those cosy winter nights that are so close (but yet so far) within our winter break.

There are a few key elements to my own nighttime routine that personally allow me to prioritize myself and my health above the flustering demands of college work and social upkeep. (The only prerequisite to this routine is your time management throughout the day - if and when you have a chance to get a little bit of reading or homework done, you should do it, that way, when you're tired and worn out, you can freely begin your personal evening routine and ease your way into bed for a healthy amount of sleep and relaxation).

1. Have dinner early, and then stick to tea. In general, I'm a huge believer in eating early to allow your body enough time to fully digest your food and recoup over night before another day of heavy foods and rushed tasks. I love ending my meal with some warm peppermint tea - this eases digestion - and I've recently got into the habit of enjoying some hot, caffeine-free herbal sleep tea as well. I'm not sure if this is all the 'placebo effect,' but I definitely fall asleep better and wake up less dehydrated.

2. Allow yourself some 'chill time' between finishing your work and going to bed. Of course there is going to be an overload of work - especially now in the midst of midterms and assessments - but making time for the things you enjoy, whether this is watching Netflix or reading a book or painting your nails, enables you to clear your mind and feel more balanced in your time management. College is important, but it isn't every little thing, and having some fun you time before you crawl under the covers allows you to remind yourself of those little things that continue to make you happy.

3. Plan out your tomorrow. By writing down the things you have on for the next day, as well as the goals you have for yourself over the next twenty-four hours, you can get into bed with your mind at rest knowing that you aren't going to forget anything crucial overnight. Making a list each night to get up and glance at can be the smallest addition to your existing planners and time management, but can drastically reduce the amount of stressful, sleepless nights you endure as a result of worrying and forgetting.

4. Disconnect half an hour before bed. This is probably the one aspect I struggle most with, but have been trying really hard to make happen. Going from staring constantly at screens and LED lights to trying to rest and switch off is difficult on the brain and on the body. By turning your phone off, closing your laptop and moving away from screens in general just half an hour before you get into bed, you can give yourself a chance for a better, more restful sleep overall. If this is something you, too, struggle with, I recommend trying to take this time to brush your teeth, wash your face and flick through a book or magazine from the comfort of your bed, so you can simply switch off your lamp as your eyes begin to feel heavy.

5. If possible, take a bath - If not, have a warm shower. In the cold weather, having a nice warm and soapy bath (bubbles encouraged) can aid in the relaxation process and force you to be away from social media, text messages and schoolwork for a while. If possible (and if safe) lighting a candle or two can also help with the ambience, and although you may feel silly for doing so, the aromas and lighting really assist in your ability to close your eyes and meditate silently within and for yourself.



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