But what if you could just get the best night’s sleep every night? Establishing a night routine can help. By focusing on a few simple practices, you can create a new habit that helps you unwind into the evening and prepare the body and mind for restorative rest.
We live in a fast-paced world, and many of us spend our days immersed in work and activities that are physically or mentally demanding – or both! Our precious sleep cycles are meant for regenerating, allowing the busy days to drift away as our bodies heal and restore.
Just as a morning wellness routine is an excellent form of self-care, having a nighttime routine can be just as valuable. A morning routine sets the tone for the day. A nighttime routine is a dedicated practice of unwinding and intentionally releasing potential stressors or lingering thoughts that can keep you up at night.
It can be easy to come home at the end of a long day, grab a convenient snack and plop down in front of the TV. But instead of zoning out, ending the day with a routine promotes better sleep and a deeper connection to self. If you’re wondering how to create a nighttime routine, start by choosing activities that feel good to you and that you are likely to stick with. It takes an average of two months to form a new habit, so it’s important to pick things you can commit to with the time and space available.
Start by choosing one or two things to add to your nighttime routine and increase over the coming days or weeks. Even just five minutes might feel like too much at first, so be gentle with yourself and make sure you are set up for success. If you live with housemates or family members, let them know about your new routine and how important this time is to you. By establishing these boundaries, you are letting everyone know that this new habit is essential and you are committed to your daily health and wellness.
There are many things you can do to establish a nighttime routine that works for you. Maybe your goal is simply to unwind and prepare your body for rest. Or perhaps you want to get a head start on tomorrow. Whatever your reasoning, there are many things you can add to your evening ritual. The following is a list of suggestions for consideration or can be used as inspiration for your night routine ideas.
There are few things more relaxing than a luxurious bath. Bathing is the perfect addition to a nighttime routine. It is even more decadent with the addition of herbal-infused soaking salts or essential oils, nice candles, and relaxing music. After your soak, indulge yourself with CBD-infused body care products to seal in moisture and nourish dry skin.
Breathwork is the practice of consciously focusing on a particular breathing pattern for some time. There are many types of breathwork, and each has its benefits. Generally speaking, breathwork promotes relaxation, reduces stress, and helps you fall asleep. Just like meditation, breathwork can also increase the mind-body connection and encourage self-awareness.
Journaling before bed can improve sleep quality and reduce end-of-day stress. Spend five minutes recapping your day, being sure to note how you felt and what the key takeaways were. Looking back over the day, it’s easier to view struggles objectively and even let go of any lingering, nagging thoughts. If you start your day by goal setting, this is a great time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished.
You’ve probably heard by now that staring at screens before bed can disrupt your sleep. And even worse — studies show that scrolling through social media while in bed can cause insomnia, anxiety, and less sleep overall. To add digital detox to your night routine, choose a time 2-3 hours before bed to turn off all devices and remove them from your bedroom. Make sure you set your alarm and tackle any lingering digital tasks before signing off for the night and making space for your new habits.
Earthing is a simple way to end the day by (literally) grounding yourself to the earth. Further, earthing is the practice of walking barefoot outdoors, allowing the Earth’s electrons to absorb into the body and positive ions to discharge out of the body. Soil, sand, or grass are all acceptable so long as you are barefoot. People who practice regular earthing say it improves sleep and reduces overall stress.
Keeping a journal improves overall well-being. But keeping a gratitude journal has even more mood-boosting benefits, such as reduced stress, increased optimism, improved self-esteem, greater happiness, and better sleep quality. Aim for three things you are grateful for every day, and give thanks for these blessings. Once you begin this practice, you’ll be amazed at how much you have to be grateful for! Reflecting on the day through the lens of gratitude can be an excellent way to end your evening.
Brewing tea is a lovely way to unwind. When chosen for their intended purpose, many nervines like lemon balm, chamomile, oat seed, passionflower, and California poppy can help calm the nervous system and promote deep physical relaxation. For anyone looking to remember their dreams, mugwort can help. Mugwort is known to help with dream recall and introduce color to dreamers that usually only dream in black and white. Not much of a tea drinker? No worries! Add an herbal infusion to a hot bath, or use herbal body oil or hydrosol spray before bed.
Mirror gazing is a type of meditation that helps you gain a stronger sense of self. To practice this, get into a comfortable seated position in front of a mirror. Begin with eyes closed and focus on your breathing until you begin to feel stillness and relaxation. Then, open your eyes and stare at yourself in the mirror. Five minutes of mirror gazing is a good start and improves self-compassion and emotional awareness.
Repeating mantras is known to help calm the mind. A mantra recitation is a sound, word, or phrase that you chant out loud or silently over and over for a set time. You can use a mantra book, or create your own and fill it with words or phrases that are meaningful to you. Some people find a mala to be helpful with mantra practices. These necklaces contain 108 beads, and as you repeat a mantra, you move your fingers from one bead to the next until you’ve come full circle around the necklace.
Meditating before bed is a lovely way to let the mind rest no matter your surroundings. Focusing on your breath can lower blood pressure and relieve tension that might otherwise delay falling asleep. There are so many ways to meditate, choose one that works best for you. For example, some people enjoy silent meditation, while others prefer sleep-inducing theta waves or guided meditation. Check out free YouTube meditation videos or download an app like InsightTimer or Headspace to get started.
Sometimes the best thing to do in the evening is to plan for the following day. The act of reviewing your schedule and creating a to-do list can help you rest easy, knowing that you are prepared to start a new day. Planning for tomorrow can also include preparing tomorrow’s meals, or even laying out your clothes to reduce time spent getting ready in the morning.
Research shows that listening to nature sounds provides multiple health benefits. Water sounds like rainfall, a rushing river, or waves crashing on the shore are the most effective for increasing feelings of joy and improving overall outlook. The sound of birds chirping lowers stress levels and improves mood. Listening to nature sounds during a bath or while meditating is a particularly relaxing night routine.
For anyone trying to kick that TV habit, reading is an excellent substitute. Considering the options are literally endless, reading can be an escape into another world or a tool for education. In addition to helping you relax and deepen your breathing, reading before bed is known to boost brainpower! Stay true to a nightly digital detox and read from a physical book. You can check them out at the library near you to reduce paper printing or start your own book exchange club.
Body oiling is an ancient ayurvedic practice that involves slow, intentional self-massage with oil, often infused with herbs or essential oils. For example, add a few drops of essential oil like lavender or frankincense to a carrier oil such as coconut oil, and spend 10-15 minutes massaging every inch of your body. This can be done before or after a bath or shower. The purpose isn’t solely for moisturization like you would do with lotion but to caress yourself with love and adoration.
Every night routine will benefit from stretching. Whether it’s a light yoga flow or a series of deep stretches, your body will thank you. Daily stretching relaxes your muscles, relieves physical and mental tension, and helps you connect to your breath. Many health and wellness tips include stretching for its ability to improve flexibility and mobility, and it’s also a helpful sleep aid.
A little fresh air is never a bad idea, especially if you’ve been inside all day. If the weather allows, an evening walk is a delight for the senses. Depending on where you live, taking a walk as part of a nightly routine might also involve listening to nature sounds or earthing. A brisk walk after dinner can aid digestion and prepare the body for rest, no matter your surroundings.
As soon as you select a few things to start with, write them down. When we document our plans or write out our goals, it increases the likelihood of sticking with our practice and honoring our self-commitment. If it’s helpful for you, block this time off on your calendar so you are sure to make space for your practice every night.
A good night’s sleep will help you wake up feeling refreshed, and as you continue to honor your night routine, the cycle of vitality will continue. Health and wellness is your birthright, and you deserve to feel your best every day.
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