Why an Evening Routine Makes You Feel Better Physically, Mentally, and Emotionally (And How To Create One) | Dean Pohlman | Better Man Podcast Ep. 049

Why an Evening Routine Makes You Feel Better Physically, Mentally, and Emotionally (And How To Create One) | Dean Pohlman | Better Man Podcast Ep. 049

Everyone has an evening routine—whether you developed it consciously or not. But many evening routines don’t prepare your mind and body for sleep. 


Well, the evening routines created consciously feel more like a to-do list that adds stress and pressure to you right before bed. Whereas evening routines that weren’t created consciously usually involve watching TV or scrolling social media—which can both make it more difficult to actually fall asleep. 

The best evening routines help you feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. And that means they’re simple, fit into your already busy schedule, and give your body a chance to calm down and go to bed relaxed (instead of shifting positions constantly for an hour while you try and battle an anxious body and mind when you shut off the light and go to sleep).

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • What an evening routine is & how to create an easy evening routine that helps you drift into sleep and wake up feeling refreshed
  • Why spending even 10 seconds doing a relaxing task like saying goodnight to your animals can dramatically improve your sleep
  • How evening routines that are complicated to-do lists in disguise sabotages your sleep 
  • The #1 goal of your evening routine 
  • My personal evening routine that I still follow (even though I have a newborn baby in the house) 

And more!  

Want to unlock deeper, more restorative sleep, and wake up feeling more refreshed and ready to conquer your day?

Listen now.

The Better Man Podcast is an exploration of our health and well-being outside of our physical fitness, exploring and redefining what it means to be better as a man; being the best version of ourselves we can be, while adopting a more comprehensive understanding of our total health and wellness. I hope it inspires you to be better!

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Watch a Clip From Episode 049

Why an Evening Routine Makes You Feel Better Physically, Mentally, and Emotionally | Ep 49

Episode 049 Highlights

  • How a lack of sleep undermines the hard work you do in the gym (1:31) 
  • The #1 goal of your evening routine (and why having a complicated evening routine with several tasks makes achieving this goal impossible) (4:16) 
  • How replacing TV time before bed with this will help you feel more relaxed and less stressed (even if it takes some effort when you first begin) (8:18) 
  • The “pleasant and tired buzz” secret for designing an evening routine that helps you wake up motivated to conquer your day (11:00) 
  • How to transform boring household cypress into your secret weapon for relaxation by slowing them down (14:34) 
  • Why spending a few minutes foam rolling before bed unlocks deeper, more restorative sleep (18:14)

Resources mentioned in this episode: 

  1. Rhone: Save 20% on all high-quality, long-lasting, and comfy workout gear from Rhone by using this link: https://manflowyoga.com/rhone 
  2. Caldera Labs: Save 20% on Caldera Labs’s skin serum, the first skin serum I’ve found that is both non-toxic and actually works, by using this link: https://manflowyoga.com/caldera   
Episode 049: Why an Evening Routine Makes You Feel Better Physically, Mentally, and Emotionally (And How To Create One) - Dean Pohlman - Transcript

Hey guys, it’s Dean. And welcome back to the Better Man podcast. Today is a solo episode and I’m going to be talking about evening routines, why these are so important, how they can help you get better sleep, and why I think everybody should be doing one. This is a topic that’s really important to me because it’s been a big part of my life over the last few years.

Ever since I got into more fitness, ever since I got more into self-development, I realized the importance of an evening routine, both in terms of my physical health as well as my mental health, and for the main benefit of helping you to wind down and to just get better sleep. That is reason enough, because sleep is so important to your overall health and the time that you spend working out. If you’re not taking time to make sure that you’re sleeping well, then you’re not getting as much as you could out of your workouts.

So I kind of want to go through a few things in this relatively short. So a podcast I want to talk about what an evening routine is. What is the point of one? I also want to talk about what you can actually do in your evening routines.

I can talk a little bit about my own personal evening routine, which has evolved significantly over time. Keep in mind, if you’re not aware of this, I just had a newborn, or we had, a baby in March, late March. So I’m still waking up at night, once per night, and then going to bed pretty late. And my evening routine is much shorter than what it normally would be. Just because I am a lot more tired. I don’t have as much energy, but I also don’t have as much time. So that’s a consideration that your evening routine is going to evolve with life changes.

And I want to talk about some specific things too, like why you why why are certain activities important in your evening routine, even if you don’t think they’re important? And I can even talk about why you should do an evening routine, even if you’re tired, because it’s going to help you get better quality sleep.

So here we go. Let’s get into this. So to start off, what is an evening routine and I would define an evening routine as a series, a series of behaviors that you either consciously or not consciously do before you go to bed.

So let’s start this off by talking about what is an evening routine, and I would define an evening routine as a series of behaviors that you do leading up to bed. These could be things that you consciously do, things that you were very deliberate about creating and working into your schedule so that you could get better sleep. Or they could be things that just automatically happened one day over time.

It could be in response to a new environment. It could be just what you’ve done your entire life, but it could be a series of behaviors that you just do automatically before bed. I mean, we talk about habits. Habits are automatic behaviors. So an evening routine could be automatic behaviors or it could be things that you deliberately do, you know, without, without, without them being automatic.

For me, my goal for me, my goal is to make sure that my evening routine is a combination between things that I do naturally and things that I may have to remind myself to do. And I’ll give you some more advice on that in a little bit, because I think it’s important to understand that your evening routine should be easy.

You don’t want this to be just something another another difficult thing on your to do list, because the number one goal of an evening routine should be to wind down and get the best night of sleep that you possibly can. It’s not an opportunity for productivity. This is not when you should be cramming in the final things of your to do list and getting as much done as you can before bed.

Because if you do that, then you’re going to go to bed very wound up. You’re not going to have good sleep and you’re kind of defeating the purpose of the evening routine. So your evening routine is going to be separate from your your productivity routine. I also think that this is a good opportunity to reorient yourself. So kind of to slow down, to figure out what’s important to me, to maybe practice some gratitude from things that are good in your life, to focus on your body, focusing on your breathing a little bit, and also maybe to think about not not not only to think about the day ahead of you.

You know, what’s going to happen tomorrow, but also what happened today, what went well today, what could be improved. So there are there are a few things, I think, in general that an evening routine should have. And you what those activities are is entirely dependent up to you and your personal preferences. And maybe over time you can test that and figure out what works well for you, what’s easy, what is, what resonates with you, so to speak.But these are going to be personal to everybody. And I don’t want you to just take what I do and do it. But there are general guidelines that I think can be followed.

All right, guys, I hope you’re enjoying this episode really quick here. I just want to mention something. If you’ve done any of my workouts or followed along to my videos, you’re probably going to recognize the apparel that I’m wearing in them. It’s a company called Rhone. They are premium men’s activewear. I’ve been using them for the last five or six years. Again, you’re going to see them in pretty much all of my workout videos that I’ve recorded. They are incredibly high quality, long lasting apparel. Some of those things I’ve had for the last five years, and they’re still being rotated through my closet.

Their founder, Nate Checketts, we had here on the Better Man podcast, and we talked about how we can be better men both for ourselves and also as examples to our sons. And I’m just a big fan of what Rhone is doing. I love their product, I love their mission, I love their vision, and I hope you can support them.

We do have a 20% savings code that you can use. Just click the link in the description of the show notes here and the 20% will automatically be added to your purchase on Rhone.com. Thanks for listening. Let’s get back into the episode.

So if you don’t have an evening routine yet or you have one and you want to be more conscious about creating one that you are happy with, then it’s a good idea to start with thinking about things that you actually enjoy. So what are some things that you realistically can do at the end of the day, when you are tired, when your motivation is low, that will help you to wind down. That will help you to feel good about yourself, to wrap up your day and get a good night of sleep for me, the important things would be to look at what is easy and what can you do every night.

Because if you’re relying on motivation to do an eating routine, it’s not going to go well. At the end of the day, we have a very, very low level of motivation, so anything that we do at the end of day needs to be super easy. There are some ways to make things easier to do. I’ll talk about that a little bit more in in just a few minutes here.

But by making things easier, by putting things closer to where you are, by kind of preparing that activity ahead of time so that it’s just there and ready to do for you, that’s going to make it a lot more likely that you do it. And something to know about routines and evening routines is whether or not you made them consciously. They are there because they work.

And by work I mean that the behavior leads to a predictable reward. So, for example, you could watch TV at night because it alleviates boredom, because it relaxes you, because it kind of tunes out maybe some of the the the the the anxious thoughts or, you know, some of the uncomfortable thoughts that that you have at the end of the day.

Now, that doesn’t lead to, you know, good long term health because you’re also by, you know, turning on the TV and tuning things out. You’re not you’re not dealing with things that need resolution from the day. But it is an effective behavior in the sense that it does do what it’s intended to do, which is to provide relief. It provides some entertainment. It relieves it’s good or alleviates you from boredom, and it helps you feel better in the moment.

On the other hand, meditation is something that is maybe a little bit harder to to do to start right. It takes some inertia to take some effort to actually start doing that. And then at the end of it, you will feel the reward of it. Maybe you feel a little less stress than when you started. Maybe as you’re going through it, it’s frustrating as you kind of, you know, you’re working to tune out the thoughts. You’re working to be more observant of your thoughts, to focus on your breathing. But hopefully by the end of it, you do feel that short term reward of feeling less stressed.

So this is just to just is just to point out that whether or not you came up with your evening routine, it exists there for a reason because it does satisfy some needs to an extent. It’s just whether or not those needs are being satisfied. Satisfied in a way that is good for your long term health or just something as a short term means to an immediate end, so to speak.

So for me, I think the key to a good evening routine is figuring out behaviors that make you feel good in the moment, but are also reflective of your values and your long term fulfillment. So, you know, if if watching TV is really important to you and you have shows and you, you like talking about that and that gives you great fulfillment, then maybe TV could be part of your evening routine.

But if you watch TV and you don’t feel better about yourself when you finish, then there might be better things that you can do with your time in the evening, not to mention you can. There are definitely better things that you can do to help you get better sleep. And that is one of our goals of a sleep routine.

Of an evening routine is to get better sleep. So at the end of your evening routine, you should kind of feel a pleasant, tired kind of buzz is how I would describe it. You should feel proud of yourself for doing the things that are important to you, doing things that are reflective of your values. And you should also feel better at the end of it. This shouldn’t just be do something that you do for the virtue of it. There’s this should be something that by the end of it you do feel better. Otherwise, you know, as humans, we don’t want to keep doing something repeatedly unless it does something for us.

So if your evening routine is a very long to do list of things that you think you should be doing but don’t make you feel better, maybe they’re too hard to do. Maybe it takes too much time or effort. Then that’s not an effective evening routine because it’s not going to be sustainable. So at the end of that routine, again, it should be easy, but at the end of it you should feel like your mind and your body are relaxed. So maybe you did something to help specifically with that. Maybe it was just because you’re tired and you did the things during the day.

I think you should also have some sort of sense of resolution to the day. So there should be some sort of feeling, okay, I’m closing the chapter on today. I have if I had a to do list, I’m I’m reworking it. So okay, this is my do list for tomorrow. But I did everything that I could today and I’m going to do my best to feel as good as I can about that. And you really want a feel for in terms of your mind, you really want to be at that point where there are not thoughts running through your head constantly, so that when you lay down on your pillow, you’re just like, okay, I’m tired and ready to sleep instead of you’re just worrying about things that you didn’t do that day or worried about things that are going to happen tomorrow.

And a good evening routine is going to help with making your mind ready for bed.

So again, I want to re-emphasize the the importance of choosing behaviors that are that that kind of match the criteria of the following, which is they want to be easy. You don’t want to have to have a lot of effort to do them. They want to be something they should be, something that you enjoy, something that provides you with some sort of immediate benefit. It should prepare your mind and your body for sleep, and I think it should also there should also be an emphasis on self-care. So I’ll talk about that a little bit more. But there should be some sort of the your activities should kind of be a symbolic reaffirmation of the importance of taking care of yourself.

That’s something that I just think is incredibly important. And I think that in order for us to take better care of others, to be more productive, to be more successful, to help us reach our goals in life, we need to take care of ourselves. So doing something, even if it’s something small that helps you take care of yourself is really important.

I think also in that important to mention is that the manner in which you do things could be even more important than the activity itself. So if you are treating your evening routine like a to do list and you’re just rushing from one thing to the other, you’re not going to finish that feeling relaxed.

So you need to slow down with your evening routine, both in the things that are part of this evening routine. So if that means, you know, if you’re meditating, if you’re reading a book, if you’re doing some stretching, if you’re, you know, meditating, I already said meditating. But if you’re journaling or if you’re, you know, if you’re some relaxing activity, you want to make sure that you’re doing that slow. But if you do have other things that you need to do, or maybe this could be part of your your evening routine, maybe you’re also cleaning up, right? Maybe cleaning up the kitchen. Maybe you’re finishing up some laundry. These things could be you know, typically I think they would be considered household chores.

But if you do them in a way that’s slow and methodical and relaxed and you’re really focusing on your breathing and concentrating on keeping the stress out of your shoulders as you breathe, if you’re moving slowly and deliberately, if you are avoiding you know, most of us, I think we do things at a kind of from frenetic pace during the day.

So if you can do the opposite of that and move really slowly, then those things could actually help prepare you to sleep better. But it does require a certain level of awareness to be able to really slow down and do those things in a way that’s going to help you sleep better.

So I want to also touch on what is my evening routine look like, because right now, you know, I am in newborn phase, so I have lower energy, I have lower motivation for things at night. But I also know that if I don’t do anything at night and I just go straight to bed, I’m not going to sleep very well. It’s going to take me a while to fall asleep. My mind’s going to be you know, it’s going to be racing. I’m just not going to sleep well. I’m also not going to wake up feeling as rested so I make sure that even now I take a few minutes to take care of myself, to get my body ready, to get my mind ready for sleep.

So one thing that’s important is personal grooming, right? This is something that probably most of us all do in an evening routine and brush our teeth. We wash our face, maybe we take a shower if we have time. And for me, I also do so for me. I brush my teeth, I floss, I go to the bathroom and then I use a I use Caldera lab, which is a a tonic for your skin, or skin serum?

Sorry, a skin serum that I have made the time for pretty much every night, even though I’m really busy, I know that me keeping my face looking as good as it can is really important to me, both in terms of my vain goals as well as my professional career. So taking those 30 seconds to put, you know, some some serum on my face is really important, by the way, for interested in this.

I’m a huge fan of Caldera lab and check the shownotes afterwards and you can use a special promo code to try ears out at a discount. So that’s one thing. Personal grooming is really important, and that helps me reaffirm the importance of myself. Right. It’s just it’s just a little thing that is a vote in the direction of self care.

So that’s one thing. We also talked about this with the laundry or doing dishes, but cleaning up is something that is really important that helps me sleep when I have a clean environment, I can sleep better. I also will have to do less work in the morning when I wake up. So doing a little bit of work, but doing it very in a in a relaxed manner, doing it slowly, doing it methodically instead of rushing through it helps me sleep better.

And then I also have a little bit more of like a sense of resolution. Oh, I clean. I clean the kitchen. I feel better. Like I did something and I did it in a relaxed way. And now I can sleep better knowing that this task has been taken care of. So sometimes you’ll need to decide between, you know, is it worth it for me to finish this thing if it’s low enough energy or should I should do I need to be okay with just putting it off for tomorrow and sometimes it is okay too.

Sometimes you will sleep better if you do the thing and sometimes you won’t. So that’s just a you know, that’s a personal practice that you’re going to have to develop something else that is, is pretty much always in my eating your routine is some sort of stretching or foam rolling foam rolling in particular is really effective for helping you to sleep better.

There is a lot of science behind doing, stretching, doing mobility work at night, doing self massage and how that improves your quality of sleep. And it doesn’t have to take too long. So I might do as little as 5 minutes, you know, maybe I have time for 10 minutes sometimes, but I don’t force myself to go any longer than I want to.

And then I also do some sort of meditation where I just sit down on the ground. I will either sit. I also combine my meditation with stretching. So, you know, either sit down in a lotus position with my legs cross over the other or a fire log where one leg is crossed over the other. Or I’ll sit down in a kind of a 1990 position supporting myself on the couch so it’s not as intensive, but and then offers focus on my breathing and I’ll pay attention to my mind and I’ll just let myself wind down.

So that’s something that is really helpful and those are the things that I’ll do. And then if I’m feeling really stressed, I might do more self-care. So I’ll do more yoga, I’ll do more foam rolling, I might even do a journaling session. If there’s something in particular that’s really bugging me, then I will write out my thoughts on it.

I’ll first, I’ll be really expressive, like I’ll let my emotions run wild and then I’ll question those emotions. Why am I feeling this way? And it really helps to write things out and become clear on why you’re frustrated about them so that you can go to sleep, especially if something is really bugging you. Then this is a really helpful tool.

Something else I like to do is I like to say goodnight to my dogs. I do this very consciously, but you know, my dog was really sick for a long time last year and earlier this year. And then he got the treatment that he needed and so he’s alive. So, you know, I go to my dog and I give him a pet and I’m grateful that he’s alive.

So that’s something that I’ll do, even if it’s quick. I think that’s something that’s important, too. It’s like even if it’s quick, right? Even if it’s not a super long time that you’re doing things quick is better than none, right? So even if I’m just saying goodnight to my dog for 10 seconds, I try to be, you know, grateful to myself for using those 10 seconds, even if I’m not laying down with him and petting him for 5 minutes, that that 10 seconds is better than nothing.

And then the last goal I’ll mention here, kind of with an evening routine, is to get even more tired. So the question is, you know, should you do an evening routine even when you’re tired? And the answer is yes, because it’s going to help you make sure that your mind isn’t racing, make sure that your body is prepared for sleep.

But it’s also going to help you get even more tired so that you fall asleep more quickly. So, you know, as I’m going through some of these things that are in my morning and my evening routine, I’m doing them and I’m thinking, Wow, I’m so tired. And instead of thinking, I’m going to skip this because I’m tired, I’m doing them and thinking, Oh my gosh, I’m just going to be so tired when I get into bed.

I’m just going to fall right asleep because I’m so tired and this is making me even more tired. So that’s what I’d say. That’s my justification for doing a morning and evening routine, even when even when you are already tired. So there’s other things that go into sleeping well.

This is just the evening routine portion. We also didn’t talk about what you should or shouldn’t eat.We didn’t talk about what you should or shouldn’t do. You know, things like things like what kind of foods, if any, should you be eating more before bed?

You know, should you stop eating at 6:00 TVs or screens? Should you be using? We talked about TV’s a little bit, but, you know, our screens harmful and the general science is. Yes, like screens are going to keep you awake. But there are also things that you can do to mitigate the effects of those screens, namely by using blue light blocking sunglasses, which is another thing. But I’m going to be addressing more of this in detail in a another sleep podcast called Fixing Your Sleep. So be on the lookout for that and it’ll be coming out either in two weeks from now or four weeks from now that up based on the release schedule.

So just to kind of sum all this up, evening routines are really important for you. They’re important for you mentally, physically, emotionally in terms of your wellbeing. They should be easy. They should fit into your schedule. They should not be difficult, they should not be to do lists. They are things that are going to help you wind down to feel better and to ultimately sleep better because you’re getting yourself feeling better, but also feeling better about yourself in the process.

So if you don’t already have an evening routine, hopefully this helps you with developing one. Most of us, again, all of us have an evening routine and it’s just whether or not we consciously came up with one. And if you don’t have one, remember it should be easy. It doesn’t have to take much time and it will help you get better sleep if you can just make a couple of minutes to do it.

So guys, I hope you enjoyed this solo episode of The Better Man podcast. If you haven’t already, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts on Spotify. Wherever you listen to podcasts, we’re getting really close to 100 reviews. I’d love to see us hit that milestone if you haven’t already. You can get started with Man Flow Yoga, follow a program, follow the set list of programs, follow the schedule, and just do the workouts the best you can on that day and you’ll start feeling better within a few weeks.

That’s what we hear from all of our members pretty much all the time. You can learn more and sign up at MFY.TV/join. In the next solo episode. I’m going to be talking about the state of masculinity in 2023. This is something that we’ve been exploring on the Better Man podcast since I started a year ago, and I’m pretty excited to kind of just present the different ideas that I’ve been hearing and try to come up with some sort of not a consensus, but kind of just get all the different mainstream perspectives out there instead of us just putting one idea forward and yelling and yelling and yelling, I’m trying to listen and trying to somehow integrate what we’re hearing and try to move forward in a way that’s going to help everybody instead of us just yelling at each other constantly.

So this is more show going to be a an explanation of the the general sentiments that I’m hearing. And then I’ll do a little bit of my own personal commentary. But but really, I want to just just based on what I’ve been hearing, I kind of want to present what I’m hearing. And try to get a sense of where this discussion is for 2023. So if you’re interested, tune in two weeks from now. And if you’re not interested, then just go ahead and don’t listen.

All right, guys, thanks for listening to that. I hope you enjoyed this episode of The Better Man podcast. I hope it inspires you to be a better man, and I’ll see you on the next one. If you like that episode, check out this other one right here. I think you’re really going to enjoy it. If you haven’t subscribe, click this subscribe button over here and you can listen to the full episodes on any major podcasting platform. Full details below in the description.


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