The best productivity hacks are rendered useless if you don't have one simple thing: a deep and restful night's sleep. Without it, your energy level dwindles, it's easy to fall victim to distractions, and you become four times more likely to fall ill.
If you're often plagued with restless nights or tend to wake in the morning feeling tired, sleep expert Ellen Vora, MD, says there is a simple way to deal. In an article for MindBodyGreen, she explains how she managed to reform her night owl tendencies to "crack the sleep code" once and for all.
This is exactly what the perfect evening routine looks like, according to a sleep expert.
In the early evening, Vora puts her baby to bed, finishes work, exercises, and watches TV. Around 9:30 p.m. she jokes that her apartment turns into a Boyz II Men music video: "dim lights, candles, soothing music. Are there nights when I stray from this? You bet, but I pay the price with poor-quality sleep."
"By 10 p.m., I'm officially winding down for sleep. If I needed to discipline myself, I'd have a gentle alarm sound go off to signal it's time to get ready for bed," she says. By this stage, there are no artificial lights on in the house.
Once a week, Vora takes an Epsom salt bath to relax her muscles and mind. "When I take a bath, I fall asleep more easily and my sleep feels deeper," she says. "On nights when I don't take a bath, I take about 400 milligrams of magnesium glycinate before bed."
"When I enter the bedroom, I draw my blackout shades and set the thermostat to 65 degrees (optimal temperature to promote deep sleep)." Occasionally, she'll write in a gratitude journal before reading in bed.
"Even though we have blackout shades installed, I actually still wear an eye mask to achieve complete darkness," she says.
How does your sleep routine compare? We tapped 14 successful women to find out how they maximize their evening.