Waking up and starting your day isn’t easy. Hopefully, you got a good night’s sleep and feel prepared to take on whatever comes next. But that’s not always in the cards. Due to work, stress, family and social commitments, and a host of other obligations, you may find yourself bleary-eyed, exhausted, and reaching for the snooze button. Hey, it happens. But there are things you can do tonight to improve your tomorrow—small changes that can make a dramatic impact. By planning ahead, sticking to a routine, and then executing it—even when your couch and Netflix are beckoning—you can enjoy a better, healthier tomorrow.
Below are nine things to consider for your evening to-do list. Pick your favorites, or, if you’re feeling ambitious, knock them all out. But if life gets in the way and you’re unable to tackle the checklist some nights, that’s OK. Just get back on the proverbial horse the next day, and your efforts will pay off in the long run.
Go to bed at a decent hour.
Good sleep is vital to our health, and the National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours per night for most adults. To make that happen, try to set a bedtime and stick to it. Your body will soon adapt to shutting down at the same time each night. Sleep also plays an integral role in the success of the next day’s workout. With more sleep, you’re more likely to work out and have an effective workout.
Getting a good night’s rest has never been easier with Aaptiv, hit play on one of our pre-sleep meditations today for your most restful sleep yet.
Avoid eating right before bed.
We’re all guilty of it. When you’re tired, so is your personal discipline, which makes the fridge an attractive place to be around bedtime. But late-night eating is the scourge of good digestion, which in turn makes sleeping more difficult. If you want a snack, that’s OK—but don’t have it right before bed. Or in bed, but that probably goes without saying.
Be sure to hydrate.
Proper hydration is essential for exercise and recovery, but it can also impact your sleep. The National Sleep Foundation notes that dehydration causes your mouth and nasal passages to become dry and can also create nocturnal leg cramps or other discomforts. Rather than chugging a couple glasses of water before bed, which can lead to sleep-interrupting bathroom breaks, drink regular fluids throughout the day and into the evening. This will maximize your odds of sleeping through the night. Plus, you’ll wake up feeling more clear-headed and healthier tomorrow.
Make overnight oats.
Overnight oats are easy to make, taste great, and will be waiting for you when you wake up. That way, if you’re running late or don’t feel like throwing together a perfect omelet in the morning, well, you don’t have to. Plus, the customizable combo of rolled oats, milk, and yogurt is a healthy and filling start to your day. Make it in a mason jar for an easy grab-and-go breakfast that will leave you satiated into the afternoon.
Pack your lunch.
When hunger strikes, you want to eat. If hunger strikes when you’re near a drive-through or your office’s go-to pizza joint, it’s difficult not to indulge. Avoid the decision altogether by packing yourself a healthy lunch the night before for a healthier tomorrow. Or spend some time meal prepping on the weekend to line up healthy meals all week long. You’re less likely to fall for temptation if you’re fridge is stocked with meals.
Pack your gym bag.
We’re sure you’ve heard this one before. That morning workout class is a lot easier to make when you’re not searching for socks in the predawn hours. Pack your bag the night before, or lay out your clothes—both gym and office attire—to save some time and guarantee a healthier tomorrow.
Portion out snacks.
Everyone likes a good midday snack. It’s something to look forward to, it keeps you energized, and it helps prevent overeating at meals. But not all snacks are created equal. Pack your own pre-portioned snacks the same way you pack your meals and you’ll always have something within reach. Aim for snacks that contain fiber and protein to keep you fuller for longer periods of time.
Schedule your workouts.
After a long day at work, heading to the gym or going for a jog may be the last thing you want to do. But if you schedule your exercise ahead of time, you’ll be less likely to skip it. Put something on your calendar tonight—even if it’s just a quick workout—and you’ll reap the benefits tomorrow. We recommend scrolling through Aaptiv workouts the night before and selecting the ones you want to accomplish the next day.
A little stretching always feels good. It loosens your muscles and helps the recovery process. But stretching before bed has added benefits. It has been shown to promote relaxation and improve sleep. Choose a few of your favorite stretches—ideally ones that work large muscle groups such as your legs, glutes, and back—and breathe deeply as you hold each stretch for 30 seconds. Afterward, you’ll feel relaxed and ready for bed.