Oh boy! Here comes the biggie! This part of the day, for some reason, is the one that most people struggle with, especially the younger crowd. According to a non-existing college hand-book, apparently, you need to stay up late and have drinks. Granted, I was like that at some point. But now, it is almost impossible for me to stay up late. Because I feel like I’m in such a groove with morning habits and workout regimen, sleep is the most important part of my day. Let’s not forget, give or take we should sleep about 8 hours a day. Actually, this number can fluctuate a lot. Sleep quality is more important than the amount of time you spend in the bed. But that’s not the topic here, so let’s get back to where we were. About 8 hours a day! That’s one-third of the day. If a 75-year-old person slept properly, that person would have slept for 25 years. Just sit back (or keep standing if you are “weird” like me), and think about that for a second. If we don’t get quality sleep, our whole health can suffer. So, I make sure to have evening and nighttime habits that lets my body know that I am about to go to sleep. This not only makes my recovery much better, but also makes my health improve dramatically. So, what do I do? Let’s get to it.
After coming home: Thanks to the flexibility of my work, this time can change quite a lot. On some days, I’m done around 2 pm; on some days, I’m done at 6 pm. It all depends on my work schedule that can change any second. Anyhow… After I come home, I make myself a small smoothie or drink (call it whatever you want) with foods and powders that are nutrient-dense, especially with their antioxidants and anti-inflammatory content. One of these are Viking blend by Four Sigmatic that has sea buckthorn, nettle, Chaga, pine bark, and Rhodiola. In my 100% honest opinion, this is a well-crafted superfood blend and I make sure to use it. Second is chlorella. Chlorella is the green algae that is very nutrient dense with its amino acid content, vitamin C, zinc, all the B-vitamins, chlorophyll, and growth factors. It’s also a natural binder that help you eliminate toxins from your body. Occasionally, I use Tongkat Ali which helps to reduce stress in the body, but I do not do this every day. I don’t use it every day simply because I’m already doing tons of stuff that help with this so I save some money by not taking it daily.
Wind down and watch something: I’m not at the “I-don’t-have-a-TV-at-home” level yet and I do follow some TV shows, quite a bit actually. So, I pull one of the episodes I haven’t seen, sit down and watch it. I start wearing my blue-light blocking glasses during this if the sun is down.
Dinner: Dinner time changes for me. I’m not ultra-strict about it, but I try to eat it before/around sunset. If I’m not doing a low-carb day, I eat some type of starch and protein for dinner. Starch options are baked sweet potatoes, jicama, regular potatoes, white rice. I can also choose to eat some green lentils and/or beans. For protein source, I try to go with the cuts that are low in fat. So, this can be like chicken breast, ground turkey, or some fish. I’m not scared of the fat content of the meat, and I certainly do not make this meal zero fat, but I try to stay low on fat during dinner. The reason I may follow a low-carb dinner would be that I did not move around much and/or did not do anything high intensity and/or did not lift weights. By the way, no matter what I do not go low-carb for long periods of time because I know that if I do, I will end up eating something bad. But that’s just me. You may be able to do it, but by allowing myself to eat carbs (almost) daily, I end up not craving bad stuff.
After dinner: On a perfect evening routine, I immediately wash the dishes (I don’t think I ever used a dishwasher in my life) and go for a walk. This is a very slow walk and its main purpose is giving my body to realize that I had enough food. All my life, I struggled (still do a little bit) with eating more than I need to. Going for an easy 20-minute walk after dinner not only allows me to feel full (because actually I ate enough food), but also helps with blood sugar regulation. I learned the blood sugar trick from Tim Ferriss and Ben Greenfield, two people I follow. Healthy blood sugar regulation leads to, in my opinion, a healthy body and a healthy mind. I try to do this walk outside. Given that I live in Phoenix, the weather is usually nice. But if it’s not, I can just hop on a treadmill and set the pace at like 2.3 mph.
After the walk: I watch more TV shows and wind down. By this time, I’ll make sure that I’m wearing my blue-light blocking glasses.
1-hour prior to bedtime: I take my sleep supplements which are currently 1 teaspoon of Holy Basil from Bulk Supplements, 1 teaspoon of Reishi spores by Four Sigmatic and 2 capsules of Sleep Optimizer by Jarrow Formulas. This stack seems to be working really fine for me, but it can change from person to person. I know that some people find Holy Basil stimulating, but I find it to be helpful with winding down. Reishi and/or Reishi spores are absolutely amazing and their health benefits are just too many to list here (stay tuned for a future article on it). Sleep Optimizer has some really good ingredients for enhancing sleep quality.
Bedtime: I make sure that the thermostat reads 73 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Then I fill out the nighttime portion of my gratitude journal which is “3 amazing things that happened that day” and “how I could have made that day better.” I plug my phone to the charger and put it on airplane mode. I don’t really need to see social media notifications and/or text messages from people during sleep. So I just don’t let that disturb me. I turn the lights off and take off my blue-light blocking glasses. Then I put on the guided meditation named “Better Sleep” by Emma Seppälä on the app called Meditation which takes about 7 minutes. This made a big positive impact on my sleep onset (time that it takes me to sleep) and I highly suggest people give meditation a try. Then, I sleep.
Everything I do after work has something to do with enhancing recovery, reducing cortisol and improving sleep quality. After all, for me to follow the daily habits and improved productivity, I need that quality sleep, nutrient-dense drink, that walk after the meal and my sleep hygiene. Grab a pen and paper, see how you would like your evening to be. Be happier, improve sleep and life quality. Go to sleep!