There are a ton of resources out there telling us how to create an effective routine (including this morning routine post here on Life Goals Mag), and for good reason. Many of us are beginning to understand how important a solid morning routine is to help get our day started on the right track. On the other hand, many of us have busy, stressful schedules that don’t allow us to get the rest we need. It can be easy to neglect the importance of sticking to an effective nighttime routine to help us get proper rest.
Do you remember when you were a little kid, and going to bed was a process? There was a gradual progression from when it was time to be awake, to when it was time to go to sleep. Perhaps your parents would give you a bath, read you a story, and tuck you in before you drifted off to sleep. Somewhere along the journey to becoming an adult, this process gets lost. Many of us spend our waking hours working, getting through our to-do’s and scrolling social media right until (and after) our head hits the pillow. With so much going on, it is no wonder it is hard for so many of us to get the rest we need.
Let’s bring that bedtime process back to help give our adult selves proper rest and care. Below are three tips to help you create a routine to help you wind down and get a good night’s sleep.
Intentionally get un-ready
The first step to getting ready for a restful night is to wash off the day. Remove all of your makeup, brush and floss your teeth and change into comfortable clothing that you don’t feel restricted in. If you’re feeling sore or stiff, take a few moments to do a few stretches to loosen up. Try not mindlessly go through the motions as you complete these tasks to get un-ready. Perform each action with intention and purpose. As you remove your makeup remind yourself how great it is that you are taking care of your skin. While you’re brushing your teeth, think about the importance of your oral health, and how much that benefits your overall health. Get into the mindset of taking care of yourself even as the day comes to an end.
Get your thoughts on paper
Try keeping a journal and pen on your nightstand, and take a few moments to jot down your thoughts. Write down any nagging tasks that are still on your mind, successes you achieved or perhaps things that didn’t go so well during your day. Get them out of your head and onto paper so you don’t continue to think about them as you try to go to sleep.
If you are in a particularly busy season, making a to-do list at night that you can use to guide you the next day can also be beneficial.
Engage your senses
Before going to bed, what do you see? Smell? Hear? Taste? Are any of these things helping you get a good night’s sleep? If the answer is no, you may want to consider incorporating relaxation into these areas. If you love soothing scents, diffuse some lavender oil or spritz a calming pillow mist before getting into bed. If you tend to have a sweet tooth, have a mug of lightly sweetened chamomile tea to satisfy your cravings while still being calming. If you find yourself leaving the TV on because you like background noise try turning on soft music or an audiobook instead. And when it comes to sight, we can all benefit from spending less time in front of the screen before sleep. Try your best to power down your phone and computer one hour before going to sleep.
Just like our morning routines set the tone for a successful day, creating a nighttime routine can set the tone for successful rest. If adding another full routine to your day sounds daunting, just pick one task from above to incorporate into your night and take it from there.