Human beings are creatures of habit. Yet many reject the idea of a “daily routine” in favor of open-ended schedules and an unrestricted workflow.

While this may work for some, research suggests that the benefits of keeping a routine are numerous. In fact, people who don’t stick to a routine tend to suffer from increased stress, poor sleeping and eating habits, poor physical condition and ineffective use of time.

A solid routine can help elevate the quality of your life by providing much-needed structure and organization. Let’s look at some of the benefits of having a routine, and what your ideal daily routine should include.

1. You Will Be More Productive

With a routine, you are more likely to check things off your to-do list. Rather than waking up and feeling overwhelmed by the long list of things you have to accomplish, scheduling blocks of time for particular tasks will enable you to reach your goals more efficiently.

When you have planned in advance for particular errands and activities, you’re much less likely to procrastinate and push them off till later — and soon, you will form habits.

One way to do this is to set aside some time every week to organize your week in advance. In turn, following the routine you’ve set will make you more productive and allow you to use your time more effectively.

2. Your Mental Health Will Improve

Stress and anxiety tend to be at an all-time high during times of chaos and disorder. A daily routine, however, eliminates the stress that stems from chaos by removing the uncertainty of accomplishing things even on busy days. You’ll feel much less anxious having a plan in place and knowing when and where you need to be to finish the tasks at hand.

Scientifically, daily routines are shown to improve mental health so much so that they are even used to treat people who struggle with mental health issues.

A recent study led by Dr. Daniel Smith, professor of psychiatry at The University of Glasgow states that “having a regular daily routine where you’re active in daylight and inactive in darkness is also important for mental health.”

The study found that an irregular routine and sleep cycle, also known as circadian disruption, is “reliably associated with various adverse mental health and wellbeing [sic] outcomes, including major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder.”

Whether you struggle with mental health issues or not, keeping a daily routine can only lead to bettering your mental well-being.

3. You Will Sleep Better

Did you know that following a routine greatly influences the quality of your sleep? According to experts at Northwestern Medicine, “it’s best if you can maintain a consistent time for waking and going to bed.”

Having productive days due to a routine will put your mind at ease, allowing for better sleep quality. Much like your days going according to plan, a routine also ensures that your nights are well-spent getting the required amount of rest you need.

Going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning helps regulate the body’s internal clock. After a few days of doing this, you’ll find that it is much easier falling and staying asleep so that you wake wholly refreshed.

These are just three of the benefits of keeping a routine. Other benefits include breaking bad habits, learning to prioritize, building up momentum and self-confidence, and freeing up time, to name a few. Ultimately, it can be inferred that having a daily routine is extremely beneficial to one’s lifestyle.

So what are some of the things an ideal routine should include? Let’s take a look:

A Morning Ritual

It’s no secret that the way you wake up each morning can hugely impact your day. Some simple adjustments to your mornings can make a positive difference and set you up for success through the day.

For instance, consider setting your alarm 15-minutes earlier than you need to wake up. This gives you time to prepare yourself for the day to come mentally, and just be with your thoughts before the hustle and bustle begin.

Your morning ritual should also include your personal hygiene practices, like brushing your teeth and washing your face, etc. Choose the right toothpaste and face washes to get your day started on a fresh note.

You could also swap out your morning cup of coffee for a glass of warm lemon water. This elixir “starts your metabolism, cleanses your mouth and throat and also gives you that extra kick of energy that you may need in the AM.”

Commit to not looking at your phone until you’ve finished your morning ritual; your phone should definitely not be the first thing you look at once you’re up. As we’ve written about previously, you should ideally not check your phone for at least one hour after you wake up.

Following a morning ritual requires but a little effort on your part and will help kickstart your entire daily routine.

Healthy Eating Habits

Your eating habits contribute significantly to your well-being, and so healthy eating protocols should be a part of any daily routine. Try eating meals at a fixed time each day, as opposed to simply snacking when you feel like it. Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast.

In our article “5 Things You Need To Do Before 8am To Have Your Most Productive Day,” we write that breakfast “provides the body and brain with fuel after an overnight fast. Without breakfast, you are essentially running on empty, which is similar to trying to start a car without petrol!”

Ensure you are getting the required amount of nutrients you need through your daily diet. If you feel tired and lethargic all the time, it may be a sign that you need to change your eating habits.

Try to avoid snacking late at night and give yourself enough time between dinner and bedtime for your food to digest. After a few weeks of healthy eating at the right times, you will feel more energized and see a difference in yourself.

Exercise

No routine is complete without some sort of physical activity. Try including some form of movement in your daily life. Movement is extremely beneficial for the body and is shown to “reduce the risk of chronic disease, improve balance and coordination, aid weight loss, and improve sleep habits and self-esteem.”

Once you are used to some sort of exercise every day, your day won’t feel complete without it. Soon exercising will become a part of your daily routine, and contribute to your well-being.

While it may seem easier to let your days happen as they do, adding some structure to your life will benefit you in the long run. So if you don’t keep one already, create and follow a daily routine that suits you; and take the first step to building a better you.

Guide to Inspired Life