Sleep Better With A Nighttime Routine
getting into the routine
I’ve always been an early-to-bed, early-to-rise person, but I haven’t always had a routine. I was lying in bed until my monkey mind subsided, and I could finally drift asleep – I usually just to toss and turn all night and wake up with the same thoughts I had the night before. I knew how much having a morning routine helped me – so I wanted to create a nighttime routine, and here’s why I think you should too!
Nighttime routines can help you relax, unwind, get to know yourself better, help prepare your body for sleep, and more. Let’s talk about some of these!
It can help you relax
A nightly routine can help you relax. That’s one of the most important things it does! Our bodies are meant to unwind and relax at night, but staying up late or skipping your bedtime routine can make it hard for you to fall asleep. A good nighttime routine helps you relax so that your body is ready for sleep when it comes time for bed (and not just more work). And if you have trouble falling back asleep when there are problems in your life or worries on your mind, then having a consistent way of relaxing can make all the difference.
When we close our eyes each night and drift off, our brains need time to quiet before they’re ready for deep REM sleep (where the dreams and deep recovery happen). A relaxing nighttime ritual gives our brain this chance, so it’s prepared to do what it needs to by morning!
And having a nightly routine is especially important if you typically wake up feeling groggy day after day. Bad sleep habits have effects that bleed into the next day, and the next day, and the next – I think you get the point! So sleeping well one day can help you relax the entire week through!
It helps you unwind from the day
Many of us experience long, stressful days where we come home, manage to feed ourselves (and our family), and either zone out watching TV or just hit the sheets.
This neglects our self-care and doesn’t allow us time to process the day fully. A routine is a helpful way to unwind at the end of the day and take that time for reflection. Everyone has their own routine, but some common elements can help you wind down and get ready for bed:
- Read something light and relaxing (fiction, poetry, etc. – just not the news!)
- Write in a journal/diary
- Do some deep breathing exercises or meditate
- Listen to soothing music (or a white noise machine)
- Make a gratitude list
- Take a warm bath or shower
- Prep for the next day (pick out your clothes, brain dump to-do lists, visualize your morning)
This will help you unwind and reflect on the day and feel prepared for what you have in store for you the next day.
It help you sleep better
The CDC reports that one-third of Americans do not get enough sleep regularly. A nightly routine can help you fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up feeling rested.
A pre-bedtime routine helps prepare your body for sleep by slowing your metabolism, lowering stress levels, and making you less alert. It helps relax muscles, calm nerves and prepare the mind for rest.
Some people find that having a specific set of activities they do at night makes falling asleep easier—like the activities I just mentioned.
It helps you wake up easier
A nightly routine helps you wake up more easily. When you go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, your body will start to associate those times with sleep and waking. You’ll find that getting out of bed is much less of a struggle because your body knows what’s coming next.
This also means that if you’re having trouble getting enough sleep, a nightly routine can help make things easier by enabling you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer (and feel refreshed in the morning).
It helps prevent stress
We all know how we feel after a bad night’s sleep. Cranky, foggy, sluggish, stressed – the list goes on. Sleep is a great tool to reduce stress and anxiety. Sleep allows our mind and body to repair itself so we can wake up calm, restored, and ready to take on the day. It helps to regulate our mood and keep us sharp and focused so that things unexpected events don’t derail our entire day.
So without it, we can experience stress from physical and mental blocks and stress on our relationships, work, finances, and more. Getting a good night’s sleep through a consistent nighttime routine will help you improve every aspect of your life.
It helps you get to know yourself better
Having a nightly routine is an opportunity to reflect on your day, which can help you understand yourself better. It’s an opportunity to ask yourself questions like:
- What did I learn today?
- What did I do well today?
- How can I make tomorrow better than today?
Routinely asking yourself these sorts of questions will help you identify your priorities and understand what matters most to you and how well you are meeting those priorities. Having a routine will also allow for calm reflection, which helps people feel more at peace with themselves and their lives. This can be incredibly important for individuals trying to change their behaviors or habits (such as managing stress) or make big decisions about work/life balance.
Having a night routine is good for your health.
Overall, Having a night routine is good for your health.
Winding down before bedtime can help you relax, reflect, sleep better, and be happier with your life.
Routines make life easier by helping us stay organized, so we can take control of what matters most: our health. Taking time for yourself every day to do this will make you happier and healthier.
From the moment we wake up, our lives are filled with stress and anxiety. It can feel like there’s never enough time in the day to get everything done, and when it comes down to it—whether or not you have the time doesn’t matter nearly as much as whether or not you make it a priority. If you want your life to be better for yourself, then start by making these habits part of your daily routine.
For example, here’s my nightly routine:
- 5 Minutes: Clean up all clothes
- 10 Minutes: Stretch/Yoga
- 15 minutes: Clean my face, brush my teeth, etc.
- 10 Minutes: Gratitude list + Reflection of the day
- 15 minutes: Read a book
- 5 minutes: Meditation to sleep
To make a routine that works for you, I suggest picturing your perfect evening of winding down and writing out a schedule filled with those things during the last 30-60 minutes of your evening. Comment below if this has helped you!