Ever since I started setting three tasks for my day, I find that my evenings are starting to become stress-free. When I finally check off task number three, my body feels relaxed and I slump right into my nighttime routine. Yes my routine is simple, but I have found that by doing some of these simple things I am able to fall into a full night of incredible sleep, waking up the following morning actually feeling refreshed and ready for my day.
I mean, think about it. Just like how your morning routine winds you up as you get ready for the day, a nighttime routine winds your body down. When you aren’t winding down, you end up just laying in bed with swirling thoughts and an inability to fall asleep. For example, during my job searching months I would always go to bed feeling completely stressed out about my job hunt and how much more that I should be doing. I would end up laying in bed wide awake for at least an hour and a half after Oliver fell asleep, waking up the next morning feeling absolutely exhausted and grumpy every day. But now as I give myself that time to wind down after my day (even if it was a relaxing weekend), I end up falling into a luscious and full sleep.
I desperately want to pull out some scientific facts about why nighttime routines will be your new best friend, but honestly, I’m only finding stuff on why having a consistent sleeping routine is good for your health. So you’re just going to have to take my word for it when I say that my nighttime routine is a huge factor to why I feel less stressed, less sleepy, and more energetic throughout my following day. And I have a feeling it may just work well for you…
Here are a few things I like to do when winding down my day:
My nighttime routine always starts with a shower. I will admit to you right now that I am a night showerer – partly because I set my workout time for when I get home from work, but mostly because my hair won’t be as frizzy the next day after sleeping on it. I’m not really sure why, but a cup of tea (or if I’m feeling adventurous, hot chocolate) feels decadent after a warm shower. I try to go for a simple herbal tea that has minimum caffeine, and throw in just a small bit of honey for more flavoring.
Journal or read
I feel like this just has to be one of the activities to do when drinking a cup of tea. Typically, I like to take this time to read, since I usually journal in the morning. But if I’m feeling extra inspired I’ll pull out my journal and jot down some thoughts about my blog or from my day that are noteworthy. Also, to be honest, sometimes this time will be a quick episode or two of Bobs Burgers with Oliver – it’s our new show, and an easy way for us to hang when we’re exhausted at night.
The 50-Minute Phone Rule
Now this is where I’m going to pull out that sleep study information. Did you know that by having a round-the-clock behavior of constantly stressing about work (or even exposure to technology) can cause sleep deficiency? I know – crazy town. For a while now I’ve been trying to combat this with a method I read about in Vogue a few years ago called The 50-Minute Phone Rule. Basically, the first and last 50 minutes of your day is time for yourself to wind up and down, with your phone being completely off-limits. Think about it – how many times have you ended your day scrolling through Instagram? I have been absolutely guilty of this, then falling asleep with so many negative thoughts about myself and my status in life that I just feel utterly defeated (and then, end up having awful nightmares and a terrible night sleep).
Just do yourself a favor and plug your phone in at the start of your nighttime routine and refuse yourself to touch it until 50 minutes after you wake up.
Take five minutes to pick out tomorrow’s outfit
Honestly, I hate having to overthink in the morning. As much preparation and planning I can do the night before, the following morning I end up with an effortless start to my day. For example, I like to prep my lunches on the Sunday before my week for an easy grab-and-go in the morning, and I have a few go-to breakfast items (which I plan on sharing with you soon). Planning my outfit the night before means not standing aimlessly in front of my closet stressing out because I have no idea what to wear. I do this by reverting to my Five Minute Outfit Guide, in which I can pick out a flawless outfit the following day in under five minutes.
Tidy up our space
I have a thing about waking up to a clean apartment. I don’t mean mopping, bleaching, and dusting before I sleep – just a simple tidy-up. I clean out my wallet/purse from any receipts or extra things that collected during the day, clean the dirty dishes in the sink, put away any laundry floating around, clear off our kitchen table, and our throw pillows and blankets in their rightful place. Oliver thinks I’m crazy sometimes – but it gives me this sense of zen when I wake up in a clean apartment every morning.
Brush my teeth
Okay so this is obvious, but there’s a reason to why I throw this into my routine. Brushing my teeth earlier in the night means less temptations for me to go for last minute snacks. I am a huge late-night craver and tend to go for all of the naughty stuff – you know, that bag of chocolate chips, tortilla chips, or even as simple as my jar of peanut butter with a spoon. But when I brush my teeth, I don’t want to inconvenience myself having to do it again later (#lazy) so I just forget the craving and move on.
Chat with my husband
Now hear me out – not every night goes as planned. Sometimes my routine is shaken up – like when we’re out on a date or people are in town. But no matter what, I always make sure I get some chat time in with Oliver. Even if it’s a minute or two while we’re curled up in bed, it’s fun to just chill with him and talk. It reminds me that even though I love my independence and being able to create my own nighttime routine, I still need to take time to connect with my husband daily, even if it’s a few sentences before we pass out.
So here's why you should make a night time routine as well:
- By having a set few activities to spend your evening, your less tempted to partake in activities that require your finances - like online shopping or ordering late-night delivery.
- There's less temptation to snack if you have set habits that block snacking out of your evening.
- That "winding down" process is actually a thing, and your body will finally feel sleepy, your mind will be less cluttered, and you'll be ready for bed once your head hits the pillow.
- When you wake up the next morning you will feel refreshed and recharged versus stressed and anxious, which we all know how we wake up could set the tone for our entire day.
- You'll be kinder to those around you when you take care of yourself. There's so much out there on self care and how it really does make you a kinder person to others. This isn't a "treat yourself" kind of evening, this a necessity to living a healthier, happier life.
Do you have a night time routine?
What are some elements to your evening that help you wind down?
Share them with me, I love hearing from you!