How to Build an Afternoon Routine for Better Sleep
While the right nighttime routine can help you fall asleep, what you do throughout the day also plays a role in the quality of your shuteye. Yep, it turns out how you spend your time in the afternoon can have a big impact on how well you're able to snooze at night.
Here, we’re sharing the best strategies and activities to implement in your afternoon routine so you can get quality sleep and wake up feeling more energized than ever.
An afternoon routine for better sleep
Check out these five tips to optimize your afternoon routine and improve your sleep quality.
Drink green tea
Instead of reaching for a post-lunch latte, sip a cup of green tea. While coffee can help boost your energy and make you feel more productive, it has a long half-life of six to eight hours. If you drink a large cup of coffee at 1 p.m., you'll still be experiencing that energy boost at 8 p.m. when you should be getting ready for bed.
Green tea is an excellent afternoon alternative since it has less caffeine than coffee. It will help amp up your energy if you're experiencing that afternoon slump—but it'll be out of your system by bedtime.
Eat a magnesium-rich snack
As for an afternoon snack, choose foods high in magnesium. This nutrient can help improve sleep quality, according to scientific research. Magnesium-rich foods include pumpkin seeds, almonds, bananas, and dark chocolate.
Try combining ingredients in a smoothie for an afternoon treat. Check out our favorite smoothie recipes for afternoon snack inspiration.
Take a power nap
If you're feeling sluggish in the afternoon, then consider taking a power nap. A 20- to 30-minute power nap can help increase your cognitive function, improve your memory, boost your mood, and energize you so you can make it through the rest of your day.
Just be sure to time your power nap wisely. It's best to keep your nap short (30 minutes max) and take it between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. so you're still able to fall asleep at your regular bedtime. (Make sure you have the right sheets on your bed when you take your afternoon nap. Here's how to choose between percale vs. sateen sheets.)
Do a low-impact workout
A low-impact afternoon workout can do wonders for your mind, body, and sleep. Try heading outside for an afternoon walk, taking a yoga class, or simply stretching your body. These activities can help calm your nerves so you're primed for sleep.
Avoid anything too strenuous in the afternoon. High-intensity workouts release adrenaline and endorphins, increase your heart rate, and raise your core body temperature, which will keep you up and make it harder to fall asleep.
Practice relaxation techniques
Stress can creep up on you in the afternoon, making it hard to drift off when it's time to hit the sheets. Activities such as journaling and meditating can help you fall asleep easier at night. (Here are the seven types of rest you need for optimal mental health.)
Block off a few minutes on your calendar so you can write in a journal. Studies show jotting down upcoming tasks can clear your mind and help you conk out faster at night.
Research also finds meditation has sleep-promoting benefits. So turn off your lights, close your computer, and take deep breaths to get into a relaxed state of mind.
You can meditate for as little as five minutes in the afternoon to reap the sleepy-time rewards. Check out our guide to meditating from bed to put together the ultimate afternoon routine to help you sleep.