Nighttime routines are important for being able to slow down and calm the brain and put your body into a more relaxed state. Adapting good night routine ideas to wind down before bed can significantly increase your quality of sleep, making you feel more rested and more energetic when you wake up.
You see, I recently went through a harder time in my life that negatively impacted my sleeping patterns. I was only getting 2-3 hours of sleep a night, while spending the rest of the night tossing and turning. After 3 days of this, my body just about had enough. I was experiencing many negative effects including lack of concentration, focus & memory, negative impacts on my mood, lots of irritability and even a hard time adapting a good appetite. My body was exhausted, but my mind.. my mind felt lost.
I started implementing small habits into my nighttime routine which became my “wind down” time. During the week, around 7 or 7:30, I begin a 30 minutes to 1 hour wind-down that helps calm my mind, relax my body and get me ready for a more relaxed sleep. For me, this has significantly helped me get a better quality sleep by getting my thoughts to calm before trying to get some shut-eye.
Nighttime Wind-Down Habits
Put devices away
A technology-free nighttime routine can enhance your sleep and eliminate unwanted problems associated with poor-sleeping patterns. Our devices emit a blue-light that actually can affect the natural production of melatonin (a hormone created in response to darkness and helps with the timing of our circadian rhythm) that our bodies produce. Using technology also stimulates the brain and the mind, making it harder to fall asleep. This is why a technology-free nighttime routine is very important for adapting a more calm and relaxed state of mind before sleep.
Journal Your Thoughts
What’s the one thing that tends to keep you up at night? Probably all of those thoughts floating around in your mind, am I right? This is why this habit can be so beneficial for a proper nighttime wind-down routine. Something about taking those thoughts, putting pen to paper and just getting it all out can feel like a weight has just been lifted from your shoulders. You can write about anything, good or bad. As long as you’re trying to empty the weight from your mind – that’s the goal here. OH and this part is optional, but sometimes (as long as you can do it safely) I like to rip the paper out and burn it. For me, that just gives me an extra calming feeling, especially when my thoughts were more overwhelming.
Guys, meditation is SO therapeutic. It challenges you to sit still, to be in your thoughts but to also learn how to bring more calm and peace to your mind (isn’t that something we all need more of in this crazy world?). I find after I get all my thoughts out onto paper, meditation is the next calming step for me. Because then when I meditate, a lot of those thoughts were essentially already dealt with and I’m able to find a more calming mindset to actually further enjoy the stillness of meditation. There are so many resources including Netflix, YouTube, Guided Apps and more you can follow along with to get your meditation journey started!
Stretching before bed can help your body release any tension or stiffness within the body. It’s a perfect thing to do before bed, especially since you’ll most likely be laying still for 8 hours straight. It’s a good way to wind-down the body and get it ready for a good, comfortable, relaxing sleep.
Practice gratitude out loud
In a quiet, and private space, I like to speak out loud 3 things/people I’m grateful for and then explain why. For example, I will say – my parents, my boyfriend and my dog. Then for each one I will take about a minute to explain why, as if I were talking to someone. Something in this practice is uplifting. It’s the action of speaking to the universe the gratitude that you have that day and make it heard. If you are more comfortable writing it down, by all means, but try speaking it first and feel how liberating it can feel.
have an internal chat
Do you ever just thank yourself for being alive? Do you ever thank your body for carrying you through the day? Do you ever give yourself compassion for making it through another day? This is what this practice is about. It’s about sitting with yourself in a quiet space, maybe bowing your head into your hands and just thanking your body, your mind and your soul for where you are in that moment. Maybe all you feel thankful for today is that you woke up, maybe it’s for getting through a tough meeting with you boss or maybe you had a day where you finally felt more like yourself. Take this time to thank yourself and show yourself some love.
Make a hot tea
I love a nice hot tea in the evening. It’s soothing, calming and has become a part of my routine that I really enjoy. Consider a nice peppermint tea for digestion before bed, or maybe a chamomile tea for calming your stress levels. Both equally beneficial and delicious!
Lately, I’ve actually been opting-out of my typical tv-before-bed habit. Instead, I join my family on the couch while they watch TV, but instead of watching with them, I throw on some headphones and read a good book. For me, this has really helped me wind-down and create more calm in my head. Even if my book is very exciting to read, my mind isn’t being stimulated in the same way it would be by watching an exciting movie or show. Not only am I helping my sleep schedule, but I’m also crossing off my goal of reading more by finding more time to do it. It’s a win-win for me!
Listen to calm nature noises
It’s hard to sit infront of the tv and not watch it when you can hear everything going on. That’s why I’ve started listening to calming nature noises through my headphones which really helps me focus on my reading. There’s something very calming and therapeutic about nature noises, I personally love it. It’s like the white-noise to a baby. Sometimes, I’ll even play these sounds to fall asleep if I find it too quiet in the house, and it definitely helps me.
And there you have it. Some real quality ideas to get you started on a more mindful, relaxing nighttime wind-down routine. Remember, this is your routine. It can be however long you want it to be, however long it takes to make you more relaxed. Personally, I take a bit more than an hour with my reading to get the list above done, but that’s what works for me. I hope you can find what works for you and I hope it helps you get the quality sleep that you need and deserve!