City Life After-Hours

A big and lively city is exciting, invigorating, and always offers something new, whether that be the entertainment, the people, or the constant residential developments. While there are moments of rural stillness in every city, the swarm of bustling bodies and roaring traffic are a daily encounter.

Such a vibrant environment can be taxing on its citizens, with many of us dragging ourselves through the door and collapsing onto the sofa. While it only makes sense to crawl into bed, most people retreat to an evening in front of the television, laptop or plugged into a smartphone for something entertaining that allows them to mentally switch off. We’re all different and approach our down time in different ways, but some natural habits have been found to be counterproductive.

It’s almost common knowledge now, but in case you didn’t receive the memo, electronic devices emit blue light which reduces the production of melatonin - the sleep-inducing hormone. So, the tactic to switch off with electronics, in fact, switches us on. Ever wondered why you get home tired, but by the time you’re getting ready for the bed, your eyes just won’t stay shut? Well, quality time with your electronics may have something to do with it.

It’s difficult to think of a preferable alternative. How else do we recover from a long day at work coupled with the battle to get to and fro during rush hour? Having a shower and getting changed as soon as can help you physically detach yourself from being in work mode and step into a more comfortable one. Time spent in the shower also gives you a couple of minutes of peaceful solitude and a personal sauna to unwind in.

A good read in a comfy chair offers a great way to submerge yourself in another world and truly disconnect, without jeopardising your body’s melatonin levels. A dense philosophically challenging book probably isn’t your best option, but an easy fictional read with an intriguing storyline is perfect for a calm night in.

Something not everyone likes to hear is the suggestion to ‘eat light’ in the evening. Especially for those who don’t eat much throughout the day, dinner time is a highly anticipated meal to indulge in, but, yet again, counterproductive. A heavy meal will have your digestive system working overtime and make it harder to sleep soon afterwards. The aim here is to make the body work less, so it’s advised to eat regularly all day so a light dinner won’t have your stomach speaking an hour later.

Today, people are working outside of work hours more than ever - updating spreadsheets on the train, checking emails at the dinner table - and we find it hard to truly rest. Making a short list of a few duties you want to attend to the next day helps with getting these thoughts off your chest and have you checking up on your work less. Approaching work in chunks of time rather than all day is known to be more efficient too.

Some of these alternative ideas will work for some, and not others, but maybe try incorporating something new into your evening routine, and see what happens.