How To Create a Calming Night Time Routine

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How To Create A Claming Night Time Routine Title Card for mshealthesteem.com - In the background a woman can be seen sleeping on top of a white blanket with blue flowers.

Hello Lovelies:

Has the night ever gotten away from you? Suddenly it’s way late and you know you’re going to be tired as can be in the morning?

What about those nights where you lay down, close your eyes and find that your brain just isn’t ready to shut off?

Instead of dreaming you find yourself listening to a song on repeat in your head. Or creating a mental check list of all the things you’ll need to do in the morning. The total opposite of sleepy bliss.

No matter the reason, not being able to sleep really sucks…

And the effects of a bad sleep stick with you. It’s frustrating while its happening. It leaves you feeling groggy and gross in the morning. And it makes you sluggish and unproductive throughout the day. No thanks!

So what can you do to lend yourself a helping hand? Can you create a calming night time routine that will help you get the best sleep possible?

Heck yes you can! It’s all about choosing the right self-care activities. And I happen to have 8 options that will help you sleep like a baby.

Let’s talk about it! Here’s how you can create a calming night time routine and catch some serious Zzz…

Why Create A Night Time Routine?

A woman lays sleeping outside on a bed of greens

Sleep is so incredibly important. And absolutely lovely. But it isn’t always easy…

And, sadly, missing out on sleep can be a pain for your health.

Too little sleep and you may experience:

    • Poor memory
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Bad mood
    • Increased risk of depression, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other health issues

Which is why it’s really important we do our best to get a good night sleep.

Creating a routine can be a huge help! Creating and sticking to a stable and relaxing night time routine lets your body know that it’s time to gear up for dream town. And sticking to the bedtime schedule can ultimately help you fall asleep faster and easier. (source)

Our brains really appreciate the repetitiveness. It helps to queue them up for sleepy time!

What exactly can be do before bed to get the most rocking sleep ever? Let’s find out…

How To Create A Relaxing Night Time Routine

A woman stretches in bed, covered by a white blanket.

The best night time routines reduce stress, help you unwind and ease you into sleep. We’re ideally looking for self-care activities and habits that make you feel good and relaxed and, ultimately, ready for bed.

Good news! I’ve got 8 simple activities waiting for you that can do just that!

Many of them only take a few minutes and some can easily be combined. Because time and effort aren’t things you really want to worry about at the end of the day, right? Right!

And if you need a little help, here’s a free self-care e-book and printable planner to help you create a bedtime routine that works for you.

Know that the most important thing is that you do what works best for you. Whatever gets you ready for dreamland and makes you feel awesome is golden. These are just ideas and inspiration. Not a lists of musts.

Create a routine that works for you boo! Try whatever activities speak to you. And the stuff that sounds plain bonkers… toss that out the window! I promise you can’t hurt their feelings.

Ready to relax and get ready for bed? Here are some awesome ways to rock your night time routine.

1. Prep Breakfast

2 bowls of oatmeal, fruit and nuts sit on a table, almond milk can be seen in a jar in the background. Prepping breakfast is a great part of your night time routine.

This entry might seem a little weird, but hear me out…

You know how they say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? What they don’t tell you is how much easier it is when you get it ready before bed.

Super bonus – when you prep breakfast you don’t have to rush to make yourself one in the morning. Which means you can sleep in a little bit and enjoy a healthy breakfast. Basically it’s magic!

Plus, breakfast will be checked off of tomorrow morning’s to-do list. One less thing for your brain to think about on repeat while you’re trying to sleep. Score!

Prepping breakfast can be a total life saver if you aren’t a morning person (like me).

Making myself a hearty breakfast before I go to bed is one of the many ways I like to take care of myself. A sweet little act of kindness for the sleepy person I know I’ll be for a hot minute in the morning. And I know I’m not alone!

If you’re anything like me and don’t do mornings this is a wonderful and super simple addition to your night time routine.

Need a few make ahead breakfast ideas?

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Pro tip: store that smoothie in a mason jar or other well sealed container to maintain the freshness. Plus, it makes it so much easier to shake it up in the morning.

Yes, your smoothie will lose some nutrients while it hangs out in the fridge over night. But it’s still full of goodness. And so much better than eating nothing for a few more hours until lunch.

Related: Hate Mornings? You’ll Adore These 4 Easy Breakfast Ideas

2. Put Your Phone Away (Or At Least Turn On A Blue Light Filter)

Someone holds up a phone to take a photo. The background is blurred but you can see a nature scene on the phone screen.

If you’re looking to create a relaxing night time routine it might be a good idea to ditch your electronics an hour or two before bad.

Sadly they emit a blue light which hinders your melatonin production and can seriously disrupts your sleep.

What is melatonin exactly?

Melatonin controls your sleep/wake cycle (AKA your marvelous circadian rhythm). If you’d like to have a good night sleep you really want your melatonin to do it’s thing! And staring at your cell phone all night sadly doesn’t help. (source)

A woman holding babies breath, closing her eyes and seeming relaxed

One study even found that people who read from an iPad before bed experienced a 50% drop in melatonin. And their melatonin production cycle was pushed forward by up to a hour and a half, essentially giving them jet lag. No one likes jet lag… (source)

Focusing on your tech all night also keeps your mind alert and engaged. Which doesn’t help you unwind either. An alert brain is a lot harder to turn off at the end of the day. (source 1, source 2, source 3)

If you really can’t avoid your phone (I feel ya, it totally happens) lower the brightness or look for an app that dims the blue light.

There are tons of blue light dimming options! And a lot of phones actually come with blue light filters built in. You can even schedule them to turn on automatically. Super score!

Related: 6 Easy Ways To Prevent Computer Vision Syndrome

3. Take a Moment to Read

Someone holds a mug of tea while enjoying a book. Both wonderful parts of your night time routine (providing that the tea is caffeine free)

Reading is seriously amazing at helping you relax! Just 6 minutes of reading can reduce stress by up to 68%. Holy wow, right?!

That humongous drop in stress allows you to unwind, relax and even prepare for sleep. A relaxed mind is more apt to shut down for the day after all. (source 1, source 2)

But know that it’s best to read from a physical book before bed.

We already know that that pesky blue light from electronics won’t help you get sleepy. Those who read from iPads before bed took longer to fall asleep, felt less alert in the morning and experienced less REM sleep.  (source)

Less REM sleep means that they probably had fewer dreams! And dreaming is basically the best part of sleeping! Tell me you think so too? I don’t want to miss out on my dreams, that’s for sure.

If you prefer to read from a computer, phone or tablet it’s best to do that during the day. But, otherwise, reading for a few minutes can be a wonderful bedtime self-care activity.

Related: Do You Know These 5 Excellent Benefits of Reading Books?

4. Soak In a Hot Bath

A relaxing bath, complete with wine and flowers. Baths are a great part of your night time routine and help you sleep soundly.

A hot bath is, in my opinion, one of the most delightful ways to relax! And it can also help you sleep. Isn’t that splendiferous?

But how does it work?

About two hours before you typically go to sleep your body temperature naturally starts to drop. Which helps to prep your body for bedtime and should make you feel sleepy. A bath can help to get the ball rolling and make you feel sleepy and ready for dream town.

When you soak in hot water your body temperatures rises one or two degrees and then, when you get out, they drop down fast.

Or, if you choose to soak until the water cools, your temperature will slowly become lower. Pruney fingers are just nature’s way of showing the world that you’re going to have a rocking sleep! (source)

A woman lays relaxing on the couch, eyes half closed.

Joyce Walsleben, PhD, associate professor at New York University School of Medicine absolutely recommends baths for a good night sleep:

“If you raise your temperature a degree or two with a bath, the steeper drop at bedtime is more likely to put you in a deep sleep.” (source)

Showers don’t work quite as well but can still help if baths aren’t your thing.

Know that timing is key!

If you want to add baths to your night time routine you should aim to take one about an hour or two before bed. That way you can really cash in on the sleep aid benefits!

Oh, and you can easily combine this with some reading time. 2 birds, 1 stone! Boom!

Related: You’ll Love These 8 Super Health Benefits of Baths

5. Enjoy a Cup of Chamomile Tea

A cup of tea sits on the table beside an open book. Poetry can be seen on the pages.

Confession time… I hate hot drinks! Super weird, I know. But if you do enjoy a hot cup of goodness you’re in luck because chamomile tea can help you sleep! So get that tea pot boiling.

How does chamomile help?

Dr. Charlene Gamaldo, medical director of Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep at Howard County General Hospital, has this to say:

“It’s believed to have flavonoids that may interact with benzodiazepine receptors in the brain that are also involved with the sleep-wake transition.” (source)

Which is a fancy way of saying that is helps you transition from a state of wakefulness to a state of sleepiness. Exactly what we’re aiming for. Booyah!

And chamomile tea is also caffeine free. It definitely won’t make you feel awake and jittery like coffee would.

This goodness sounds so awesome that I’m considering making a batch of iced chamomile tea so I can add this goodness to my night time routine too!

Related: 7 Simple Self Care Tricks on How to Sleep Better

6. Gratitude Journal

Someone writes in their journal, a wonderful self-care activity and a great addition to your night time routine

Gratitude journaling is a gorgeous way to reflect on your day. Bust out your journal and write down a few things that make you feel grateful. Focus on whatever made you happy today, moments that brought a smile to your face and/or the general goodness in your life that makes you thankful.

It’s a beautiful, uplifting practice! But there’s a secret hidden bonus…

Practicing gratitude can help you sleep! It’s pretty wonderful! One study looked at 400 adults of all ages, 40% of whom had sleep disorders, and found that practicing gratitude helped them fall asleep faster, sleep longer and feel better throughout the day. If that’s not a win, I don’t know what is! (source)

Related: How to Practice Gratitude and Feel Awesome

7. Indulge in Some Gentle Exercise

A woman sitting in a lotus pose, eyes closed and meditating. Yoga and meditation can really help create a relaxing night time routine.

Enjoying a low key exercise moment before bed can be such a blissful way to wind down.

Not only can this help to reduce stress, it’s also a sweet way to reduce muscle tension and relax. Leaving your body and mind in bliss together. Which is a beautiful place to be before bed.

Need a few workout ideas for your night time routine workout?

According to sleep.org, by the National Sleep Foundation, these are some rad options:

    • Yoga
    • Pilates
    • Stretching
    • Relaxation Exercises
    • Foam Roller Massage

Which one would you pick? Yoga is my usual bedtime choice.

Related: 6 Benefits of Yoga That Will Make You Want To Start Now

8. Meditate in Bed

A woman lays comfortably in bed, light shining in on them through the window.

As you lay your lovely head down to sleep you can indulge in a little meditation to ease into your beautiful dreams.

    • Close those eyes.
    • Breathe deeply (in through your nose, out through your mouth).
    • Focus on your breath and the feeling of your rib cage expanding and contracting as you fill and empty your lungs.
    • If you notice your mind wandering be kind and patient with yourself and gently return to your focus to your breathe. Allow your thoughts to arise as they are, acknowledge them and let them go.

This is a sweet way to silence your mind, de-stress and fall gently to sleep. Whether you try it for 10 minutes or simply 1, you’re going to reap some serious rewards.

How does meditation help? Not only does it quiet the mind, it can also reduce anxiety by as much as 39%! (source)

This study discovered that mindfulness meditation activates the Anterior Cingulate Cortex, a part of the brain that controls thinking and emotion, and the Ventromedial Prefontal Cortex, which controls worrying. These two babies working together help to reduce anxiety, leaving you feeling more relaxed.

Plus, you can do it while you’re laying down in bed. One final act of self-kindness before you drift off. How wonderful is that?

Related: 5 Ways Mindfulness Meditation Supports Your Health And How to Get Started

Final Thoughts

A bed fittied with white sheets, pink sleep mask on the pillow, flowers on the night stand.

Isn’t it amazing how many lovely activities there are to add to your night time routine? I love that each of these simple acts of self-care help to calm your mind and prep you for sleep. And they’re all so easy to do! Marvelous!

But, ultimately, what matters most is that your self-care routine works for you. So take what works, add in what’s right for you and leave the rest. Easy peasy!

And, of course, if you find yourself struggling to sleep on a regular basis talk to your doctor. Sometimes it can be a sign of other health issues (like Graves Disease). It’s always good to get things checked out if they just aren’t right. you deserve to feel well and medical care is a big part of that!

What does your night time routine look like? Will you be adding any of these activities to your self-care regimen? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below!

Health and love,

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Thought of the day: You deserve to feel well refreshed and well rested.

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Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

Sara Flanagan is a wellness writer and the creator of www.mshealthesteem.com, where she shares her story of being diagnosed with Graves Disease, a chronic autoimmune disease, and empowering herself to do everything she can to thrive in spite of her diagnosis. She writes articles on self-love, acceptance, wellness and nutrition. Join the Health-Esteem Family today and share in the journey.

38 Comments

  1. Reply

    thepagesandstagesblog

    June 23, 2019

    I love all these suggestions, especially breakfast and the gratitude journal! Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 3, 2019

      I’m so happy to hear that! Thank you :). I hope that add a little extra goodness to your night time routine <3

  2. Reply

    notquitesupermommn

    June 23, 2019

    I didn’t realize how important a bedtime routine was until this spring when I started having sleeping issues. I think I have it down now, a little self care, sleepytime tea, and a book and I’m back in business! I love your other ideas, I think I might try adding in the light exercise to my routine and see how that goes <3

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 3, 2019

      I’m so sorry you experienced sleeping issues this past spring Nicole! I know that’s absolutely no fun. It’s wonderful that you’ve found a new balance that works. Everything you do sounds amazing <3. All gorgeous ways to gear up for dream town! I hope you enjoy the light exercise addition. Let me know what you think 🙂

  3. Reply

    Foodie Finds Home

    June 23, 2019

    You know, people always talk about creating a night time routine for children, but neglect themselves as adults. It’s so important to let your body know that it’s time to wind down so you can get the proper sleep. This post was very valuable and I know it will help a lot of people, myself included.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 3, 2019

      I’m so happy you found this helpful! And I love the way you put it – we are just as worthy of the love and care we so freely offer. It’s so important we consider our needs just as much as those of our children and loved ones. Including what will help us sleep! You put it so perfectly. Thank you!

  4. Reply

    Ray

    June 24, 2019

    This couldn’t have come at a better time! I’ve been trying to change what I do before bed to get a better sleep so this provides the guidance I need. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 3, 2019

      I’m so happy to hear that Ray! I hope this helps tons and you’re sleeping like a baby in no time :). Let me know what self-care activities you enjoy the most <3

  5. Reply

    Rose A (@mail4rosey)

    June 24, 2019

    I’m a total morning person but I still like to prep my breakfast the night before. I guess that’s true because I am not an ‘in the kitchen’ person, unless someone else is doing the cooking. 😉 I like your night time routine tips.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 3, 2019

      I love that you’ve found a balance that works really well for you Rose! That’s awesome. 🙂 And such a beautiful act of self-kindness. Thanks a ton for sharing with us! I’m so happy you enjoyed this <3

  6. Reply

    Lavern Moore

    June 24, 2019

    There is a lot of good information here on how to fall asleep more readily. Many will benefit from this.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 3, 2019

      Thank you Lavern! I really hope so 🙂

  7. Reply

    Terri Steffes

    June 25, 2019

    I pick out my clothing, pack my work up, and do my nightly skin care routine. I then grab my book and read until I am barely awake. Then it is off to dream land!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 3, 2019

      That’s an awesome night time routine Terri! I love that it works so well for you. A good book before bed is seriously amazing ^^. Hope you enjoy your next read!

  8. Reply

    Stacie

    June 25, 2019

    I really needed these tips, especially now. I’ve been having a hard time sleeping lately, and I think it’s because I’ve been running myself ragged.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 3, 2019

      I’m sorry to hear that Stacie! I know that it’s not nice when sleep doesn’t come easy. I really hope that this helps. And that things calm down a bit soon <3. Sending tons of love your way and wishing you well!

  9. Reply

    Brandy Caldwell

    June 25, 2019

    I didn’t know about the bath! And yes, dreaming is the best part of sleeping! Thanks for the tips! I’m going to add the tea to my routine!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 3, 2019

      I loved learning more about baths! I’m glad you did too Brandy. It’s really neat to discover that simple activities often have more of an impact that you might think. Blew me away!

      I hope you have fun adding tea to your bedtime routine. And that you have some awesome dreams waiting for you in the near future :).

  10. Reply

    Brianne

    June 25, 2019

    I can use a lot of these tips! I searched blue light dimmer for my phone, and how to activate it. The phone at bedtime is my curse!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 3, 2019

      I’m so glad you were able to put a blue light filter on your phone Brianne! I think that will help you a ton. You aren’t alone. I sometimes stay on my phone later than I should too. And I’ve found a blue light filter really helps me in those moments.

      I’m so happy you enjoyed this and found it helpful! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us <3. Let me know what you think of that blue light dimmer. I'd love to know if you find it helpful too!

  11. Reply

    kristin

    June 25, 2019

    I totally think a routine is key for a lot of things. You shared so much great info here, I saved this too!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 3, 2019

      I’m really happy to hear that Kristin! Thank you. Routine really does help a ton. Creating one that helps us relax and brings us joy is a wonderful thing indeed. <3

  12. Reply

    Ntensibe Edgar Michael

    June 26, 2019

    Hhhhmmmmm….I could actually try out a hot bath some day and see what happens! These are pretty good, too.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 3, 2019

      I really hope you enjoy it Ntensibe! They are a personal go-to way to relax. So much goodness to be had. And I always bring a good book! Two self-care activities in one. May it be just as relaxing for you.

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us 🙂

  13. Reply

    Emman Damian

    June 26, 2019

    I usually put my phone away from my bed. Also, I prepare a good healthy breakfast so I’ll be fresh on the morning! Great tips!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 3, 2019

      That’s awesome Emman! I love that you’ve created a night time self-care routine that works so well for you. Hope your breakfast for tomorrow is bonkers delicious ^^. And I’m so happy you enjoyed these tips. Thank you tons <3

  14. Reply

    locd2gether

    June 26, 2019

    Currently, I couldn’t do this because I’m so unorganized, but I do majority of these things during my self-care on my down days.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 3, 2019

      We all need to create a routine that works best for us. That’s what matters most :). I’m glad you have a routine that works for you <3. Hope there's a down day just around the corner!

  15. Reply

    Frederique

    June 27, 2019

    Oh yes best moment for this post! I have had trouble sleeping for the last 3 weeks and I am exhausted!!! I’m gonna try every single one of your tips…

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 3, 2019

      I’m so sorry to hear that Frederique! I know that losing sleep really doesn’t feel great. I hope that this helps a ton. And I also hope that you’re able to get in to see a doctor if you find nothing works. Sometimes sleep disruption can be caused by other things. It’s always good to check in if we’re struggling.

      Wishing you well. May a goodnight sleep be just around the corner. Let me know how you make out <3.

  16. Reply

    Heather

    June 27, 2019

    I’m going to have to start doing a lot of these tips!! I needed this, thank you!

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 3, 2019

      I’m really glad that this was helpful Heather! I hope that you find yourself sleeping better in no time 🙂

  17. Reply

    Lavern Moore

    June 27, 2019

    This is a really great list. I might add get your clothes out for the next day. This really helps. Looking forward to reading more.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 3, 2019

      YES! That is such a good addition Lavern. I do that during the work week. It really helps make for an easy morning. Thank you tons for adding to our list! I love it!

  18. Reply

    couponmamacita

    June 27, 2019

    These tips are really valuable! I usually mediate before heading to bed.

    • Reply

      Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

      July 3, 2019

      That is such a lovely thing to do before bed. What a wonderful way to wind down and prep for sleep. I’m so happy you have such an awesome go-to night time self-care activity. Thank you so much for sharing with us 🙂

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