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?
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
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
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?
If you need some smoothie recipe ideas I happen to have a rad Smoothie Recipe E-Book on sale for $2.50 right here. It’s kind of a steal. And so full of yum!
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.
2. Put Your Phone Away (Or At Least Turn On A Blue Light Filter)
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)
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!
3. Take a Moment to Read
Reading is seriously amazing at helping you relax! Just 6 minutes of reading can reduce stress by up to 68%. Holy wow, right?!
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.
4. Soak In a Hot Bath
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)
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!
5. Enjoy a Cup of Chamomile Tea
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!
6. Gratitude Journal
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)
7. Indulge in Some Gentle Exercise
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:
- Relaxation Exercises
- Foam Roller Massage
Which one would you pick? Yoga is my usual bedtime choice.
8. Meditate in Bed
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?
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,
Thought of the day: You deserve to feel well refreshed and well rested.
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