S1:E8 | What makes a good evening routine? The 4 essential components

podcast season 1 wind down wind down time
What makes a good evening routine? The 4 essential components podcast

There are 4 components to your wind down time and covering each effectively means you are optimising this part of your day to prepare you mind and body in the best way possible for sleep.  These components make up my model, the safe sleep formula and are what all of my work is based on. My programmes, the wind down journal…everything, follow this structure. I will talk you through all 4 components in todays episode.  


Hello and welcome back to The Sleep Seekers Podcast and our current season on wind down time - that bit of time before sleep that acts as your runway into sleep and determines how well the night goes and how good your sleep is. 

In this episode I’m going to break down for you the 4 components of wind down time and why each one of them matters for optimising your sleep. 

These 4 components follow my S.A.F.E Sleep Formula - my system which encompasses everything you need in order to optimise your sleep. I follow this formula in all of my work around sleep whether it is applied to overcoming insomnia and sleep problems, optimising your sleep or in this case, your wind down time. 

If you go and join the wind down programme, you will see that the whole thing follows this structure, if you join the sleep optimiser programme, you will see the whole course follows this structure. My wind down journal is also designed around this structure. It makes everything really nice and simple whilst giving you everything you need. 

So, let me walk you through the 4 components that make up what needs to happen in your wind down time.  

The first component, the ‘S’ in my model is Sleep Education. As this applies to wind down time, this part is all about understanding wind down time, what you are trying to achieve and how to do it. You have to know what you are aiming for in order to have effective wind down time. You also have to understand your sleep, what’s missing for you in your sleep, where the gaps are etc. This is always your foundation stone. 

The second component is the ‘A’ in my model - Adrenalin reset. This component is all about how you go about transitioning your body chemistry from day time, to night time. Sleep is not a switch, it is a transition and it is really important that through your wind down time, you allow this transition to occur. So, what do you do in your wind down time, and how do you design it to really respect your body’s process into sleep. Most people treat sleep as though it should be a switch, and at the point it suits you to sleep, you expect your body and brain to just do it, and then often get frustrated when it doesnt. Or the other thing that is really common is to think you are relaxing in the evening, but nothing changing in your body chemistry at all, meaning that you are going to bed full of ‘day time’ chemicals if you like which then significantly interfere with sleep. 

This is where things can go really wrong for people because you think you are doing the right thing by winding down but unless you understand what you are doing nothing will change and you are left thinking that it doesn't work and your sleep is broken. 

One person in my evening wind down routine course talked about thinking that good sleep was only for other people and not available to her because even though she had wind down time, it wasn’t working. All that was really going on was that she was not aware of that transition her body needed to make and therefore how to make it. Simple changes and her sleep has massively improved. 

And this strongly links to the third component - freeing your mind. Because you can be doing all the things to try to wind down and relax before bed, but unless your mind is on board, it’s often not going to happen. This is often why people feel that winding down makes no difference - because you can seemingly do all the right things but your mind is sabotaging you in the background. Your mind can be holding onto stress, bringing up thoughts at all times of the day and night, being busy etc etc. So this third component is really about learning to manage your mind and ‘switch off’ for night time. If this doesn’t happen, you are likely to have disturbed sleep or worse, less sleep. 

So an important aspect of your wind down time is incorporating elements to help you to free your mind ready for your nights sleep.  

The thing about our wonderful human brains is that they can behave a bit like cheeky puppies at times. They can be a bit boisterous and unruly at times and we have to train our minds and learn to manage them so we can function the most effectively. It’s not particularly difficult or complicated but it does require the right tools to help us to do it. 

The biggest mistake is to assume that you are stuck with the unhelpful things your mind does. So for example, if you find it is difficult for your mind to switch off at night time, you are not stuck with this and this can change, usually pretty easily. 

But left to its own devices, your mind can cause big problems for the quantity and quality of your sleep so elements of wind down time to free your mind, are incredibly important. 

The fourth and final important element of your wind down time is to consider your environment. Your environment has a big impact on the two previous components - managing your body chemistry and managing your mind.  The sleep environment and the environment for your wind down time are an important factor to consider in optimising your wind down time and therefore preparing your mind and body for a great nights sleep. This involves what your senses are exposed to, eg, light, temperature etc but also noticing how things in your environment make you feel, which again feeds back to the second component which considers your body chemistry because your body can often be reacting to what is happening around you. So, your sleep environment is the final component that your wind down time needs to take account of.

So, those are the 4 components that your wind down time needs to include

Sleep education - be clear on what you are trying to achieve and therefore what your wind down time needs to look like

Adrenalin reset - your wind down time must be transitioning your body chemistry from day time to night time - this is extremely important and the whole point of wind down time. If it’s not happening, your wind down time wont be effective

Freeing your mind - your wind down time must be freeing your mind from day time and moving towards ‘switching off’ for night time. Again, if this isn’t happening, your wind down time won’t be effective. There is also a big interplay between this and your body chemistry so it’s important your wind down time is getting these two things right. 

Environment - your wind down time needs to happen in an environment that is conducive to allowing all of the above things to happen. Your environment alone is not all you need to consider, which is a common misconception but it does have a role to play. 

So, those are the aspects your wind down time needs to incorporate in order to be effective in preparing your mind and body for great sleep. My job is to break all of this down and make it easy to implement which is exactly what I have done in my evening wind down routine programme. You can go through it and implement at your own pace and even better, I have a Q&A session every month so I can talk to you about your specific needs, iron out any issues etc. 

So, if you want to learn more about how to effectively prepare your body and mind for great sleep and get your wind down time optimised, just go to www.sleepseeekers.academy/evening to find out more and get started. 

I hope to see you inside the programme and on the next Q&A call.