YOUR PERFECT NIGHTTIME ROUTINE PROMOTES RELAXATION, BETTER SLEEP AND A REFRESHED NEW YOU. SO BEFORE SLIPPING UNDER THE COVERS, PRACTICE A LITTLE SELF LOVE AFTER THAT SUPER HECTIC DAY.
Establishing a nighttime routine is often overlooked as non-essential. But at the end of the day, a healthy routine provides a smooth transition from the rush of our daily responsibilities into an evening of rest and recovery.
An intentional nighttime routine allows you to:
- Dedicate time to self-care
- Improve sleep quality
- Reflect on victories and growth opportunities
The amount of time you dedicate to a nighttime routine will depend on your lifestyle and what activities you wish to incorporate. However, I find it’s best to start practicing these habits at least 30 minutes (but up to an hour) before falling asleep.
Not that glass of wine or last remaining cold brew coffee in your fridge. Alcohol and caffeine shortly before bedtime can actually disrupt relaxation practices and prevent you from experiencing a good night’s rest.
Instead, prepare a warm beverage. Consider milk, water with an optional squeeze of lemon, tea or golden milk.
For optimal relaxation and sleepytime effects, choose something without caffeine, like an herbal tea. But if you’re a fan of naturally caffeinated tea, like green tea, opt for the friendly non-caffeinated version instead.
Have a conversation
Spend a few moments in genuine conversation with a loved one. Sharing a heartfelt talk helps you both reconnect, express gratitude, appreciate small joys as well as embrace those moments of peace before a new day.
It’s okay if your conversation isn’t serious. In fact, a light-hearted conversation might be for the best. The idea is to decelerate from a hectic day, not become overly agitated or dwell on an unfortunate incident hours prior.
Connect with yourself
Allow for a few minutes to reflect on your day. Focus on moments that brought you happiness and made you smile. Write down—in your journal or mentally—at least one positive experience or interaction. Most importantly, be grateful.
You can also think back to a missed opportunity or connection. Identifying instances when we could have taken an alternate route or reaction is a proactive way to shift future thoughts and actions for the better.
Because giving yourself a little love can easily become an afterthought, incorporating self-care into your nighttime routine is the perfect way to take care yourself after an exhausting day.
Practicing self-care can be a simple as trying a new facial mask you promised you’d faithfully apply weekly. Or stepping outside to take in a few intentional breaths of evening air and stargaze. Even listening to your favorite song or lighting a few candles can help you decompress.
Engage your body
Before you call it a night, find a way to engage your body. Even if you went for a morning run or became a sweaty mess in your afternoon HIIT workout.
Adding low-intensity stretching to your nighttime routine can release tension and prevent muscle stiffness. You may even fall asleep faster and get better sleep. Other great options to wash away stress and anxiety include deep breathing exercises and soothing yoga poses.
Fall in love with lavender
Lavender is a powerful little herb highly regarded for its ability to alleviate stress, nausea and headaches, as well as promote relaxation and induce sleep.
Try using a lavender-scented shampoo or body wash. My absolute favorite natural shampoo is Dr. Bronner’s Organic Lavender Sugar Soap, which can even double as a body wash. Or, purchase a quality essential oil for use in a diffuser, spritzed onto your pillow or coupled with a carrier oil (like sweet almond oil) to moisturize.
Note: Essential oils are highly concentrated and should not be applied directly to your skin without being diluted first.
Ditch the screen time
The struggle is real, but resist that incessant itch to peek at your phone. Most likely, your social media feed or work inbox can wait.
Minimizing screen time 30 minutes prior to drifting asleep helps center your mind around positive thoughts. And when you reduce noise from external sources, you’re more in charge of your own emotions.
What activities complete your nighttime routine? Do you have a favorite way to relax or practice self-care after a long day?