You’ve probably heard tips for creating a successful morning routine to get your day started right. But what about a nighttime routine? Having concrete steps to complete before going to sleep is just as important as the steps you would do after waking up.
Instead of working right up until bedtime or scrolling on your phone for hours, find a routine that allows you to wind down before turning off the lights. According to Britney Blair, a behavioral sleep medicine specialist, our sleep is “more like a dimmer knob and not a light switch you can flip on and off.” Blair recommends that you give yourself at least an hour before bedtime to wind down. While this may not always be possible, creating a routine that allows you to relax and calm down first can have a big impact on your quality of sleep.
Some people may prefer to take a bath, others may prefer to read or journal. While everyone has different preferences for how they want to relax at night, we have a few recommendations that can help you create a nighttime routine that works for you!
Put Your Phone Away (at least) 30 minutes Before Going to Bed
This is probably the hardest to do. We can all relate to scrolling on our phones right before we fall asleep. It’s easy, and it’s become a habit for most of us. But try, even just for one night, putting your phone away, whether that means turning it completely off or putting it in a different part of the room. Instead of your phone, try doing something else and see how you feel. Or at least set a screen time limit on your phone as a reminder to put it away.
Britney Blair says we should try to avoid all screens, but watching television is better than going on your phone since the light is not as bright. If you are someone who needs to watch TV before bed, choose a show that is light and comforting to help you fall asleep.
Pick an activity to do in/near your bed
Instead of going on your phone, choose an activity that you enjoy doing and that will help you relax. Maybe it’s doing a couple of stretches on the floor by your bed. Create the steps on your own, or watch a video that guides you. Maybe it’s reading a book, which has been proven to help you relax and fall asleep faster. Or maybe you enjoy journaling. You don’t have to write pages and pages; simply putting your thoughts on paper is an effective way to get them out of your head and sleep with a clear mind. You can also write three things you’re grateful for or something that made you smile that day. You can jot down one thing you did well and one way you would like to improve. You don’t need a lot of time for a mindful journaling session.
Be Mindful Of What You’re Eating and Drinking
High levels of caffeine can cause excessive rapid eye movement during sleep, making you feel more groggy in the morning. Stay away from chocolate, coffee, and caffeinated tea four to six hours before bedtime, if possible, according to benenden.co
On the flip side, trying to sleep with a rumbling stomach can also keep you up. Some of the best late-night foods and drinks include honey with herbal tea (like chamomile!) bananas and nuts. In fact, nuts have a high level of melatonin and, like bananas, contain large amounts of magnesium, which helps the body to relax.
Dim the Lights
Turning off some lights is an easy way to show your body that it’s time to relax. Lighting a candle or turning on a warm lamp (VALLEY loves this salt lamp!) is a nice way to set the mood and instantly make your room feel more cozy and comforting, signaling to your brain that the day has ended.
A great addition to your nighttime routine is a skincare regimen. Find the right products to cleanse and moisturize your skin type. If you have extra time, put on a face mask and really feel like you’re at a spa. Not only will your skin feel incredibly smooth, but you’ll wake up with soft skin too.
If you were having a late-night and just want to get into bed, VALLEY recommends at least taking your makeup off first. Going to bed with a full face of makeup prevents your skin from renewing itself at night and it can have lasting negative effects. Micellar water is a great way to take off your makeup, and taking the extra five minutes is important for the health of your skin.
Prep for the Next Day
While not everyone may want to plan ahead, prepping for the morning can help ease your mind at night and provide for a more relaxed morning routine. For example, you can write out your to-do list for the next day so you can feel better prepared. If you know you have somewhere to be, plan out your outfit and layout your belongings to avoid forgetting something or rushing at the moment. Setting an intention for the next day is a great way to stay focused and complete your goals.
This one is pretty obvious, but in order to have a relaxing night, you want to feel cozy! This means putting on comfy PJs and creating a relaxing place to sleep. Investing in soft blankets and pillows is an easy way to instantly create a peaceful space. If there is noise outside your window, you can try turning on a fan or a sound machine app to block out the noise. Light streaming through your window? Put on an eye mask like this pink, silk pair!
Our recommendations can be adjusted, whether you have 20 minutes or an hour before you want to go to sleep. What’s most important is finding the bedtime routine that works for you. Good night!