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Try adding these 13 simple & soothing habits into your evening routine for a more restful night’s sleep!
Imagine snuggling into your bed, feeling relaxed and satisfied with your day, turning out the lights, and quickly falling into a peaceful and restful night’s sleep. Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it!?
For most of us, the reality looks quite a bit different – we collapse into bed, exhausted yet feeling like we’ve accomplished nothing, minds spinning so fast we can’t even close our eyes, let alone get a restful night’s sleep.
While I can’t even remotely claim to have all the answers on how to sleep well every night, I have discovered that including the soothing habits I’ve suggested here into my evening routine can go a long way to helping me achieve that wonderfully dreamy restful night’s sleep.
Try incorporating one, two, or all of them into an evening routine for yourself, and I bet you will have a more relaxed evening and a restful night’s sleep, too!
Bonus: combine these evening routine ideas with a few of my morning routine ideas HERE for an all-around amazing day!
1. Leave work at work
This may be the most difficult habit on this list for me personally. If I’m not careful, I can get going on a project, work straight through dinner, and find myself still staring at the computer screen when I should be turning out the lights for bed.
It’s so easy to fall into the go-go-go, striving energy of I-just-need-to-do-one-more-thing, and then one more thing after that, and then maybe just one more thing…
While there are certainly times when we do need to work longer hours or take a project home for the evening, it becomes a problem when that’s the norm. It creates a chaotic, hectic energy that can leave us feeling out of sorts, disconnected, and can even impact our sleep.
So when it’s time to be done with work for the day, be done. Close the email. Shut the computer. Whatever it takes to turn off the work and transition into your evening. If you find your mind spinning with all the things you need to do at work, it can be really helpful to spend 5 or 10 minutes at the end of your workday to write down the most important things you want to complete the next day, and then relax and enjoy the evening.
2. Spend some time on a relaxing hobby
Spending 15 or 20 minutes on a relaxing hobby can help slow your mind and bring you into the present moment.
For me, I enjoy either practicing calligraphy or the piano, but any soothing activity would be good to add to an evening routine – drawing, knitting, writing, looking at the stars – there are endless options! Give one a try and see if it doesn’t help you unwind for the evening, too.
By the way, if you are interested in learning calligraphy, I’ve found The Postman’s Knock to be an excellent resource!
3. Stop eating at least a couple hours before bedtime
I’m a firm believer that going to bed on a full tummy can make you uncomfortable, give you weird dreams, interrupt your sleep, and cause you to wake up feeling weighed down and kind of icky. It’s so much better to stop eating at least 2 or 3 hours before bed, giving your food time to digest before turning the lights out.
4. Pray or meditate
What better way to calm the mind that with prayer or meditation? Prayer brings us closer to our creator and helps us put the day in perspective, and meditation helps calm the mind and slow our thoughts.
5. Read an uplifting book
Whether you like novels (as long as they don’t suck you into reading until the wee hours of the night), inspiring true stories, personal development books, or a daily devotional, reading right before bed can help you relax, unwind, and maybe even fall asleep more quickly.
6. Unplug from the online world
This is not a new piece of advice, but it is powerful. Our phones, computers, and TVs all have this pesky way of winding us up, making our brains spin, and keeping us awake. Some studies even show that the blue light cast by our devices impacts our sleep.
Ideally, try to turn everything off at least an hour or two before bed, and place your devices in another room or on airplane mode so they can’t disturb you with buzzes and bings.
In all transparency, this is a tough one for me. My husband and I like to watch shows in the evenings, and I sometimes bring my iPad to bed with me to read books on my Kindle. If you are the same way, I recommend putting your tablet in airplane mode so you don’t get any notifications and try dimming the display so it is more restful on the eyes. Some devices now even offer an evening mode that minimizes the blue light coming from the screen.
7. Don’t drink anything for an hour before bed
Not everyone will agree with me on this one. I’ve even heard some people recommend drinking a glass of water right before bed. But if you have a bladder like mine, you probably already know why I recommend this!
Drinking water, or anything else, right before bed can cause you to need to get up and go to the bathroom during the night, which breaks up your sleep cycle. If I drink anything too close to bedtime, I can count on waking up during the night and being less than refreshed in the morning. But skip that last beverage, and I can usually sleep soundly, all through the night, and wake up rejuvenated.
8. Wash your face & brush your teeth
This is a pretty basic addition to an evening routine, but it really does make a big difference – it’s like washing away the day and telling your body it is time to go to sleep.
9. Spend a few minutes outside
Spending just a few minutes outside is grounding and calming, and can help us release some of the hectic energy of the day.
Try stepping outside for 1 or 2 minutes right before crawling into bed. Take a couple of deep breaths, maybe do a few gentle stretches, and appreciate the beauty and mystery of the night.
10. Write down something you are grateful for
Consciously expressing gratitude is a powerful way to improve overall well-being. If you keep a journal, take just a moment or two to jot down one or two things you are especially thankful for from today.
My favorite journal right now is the Leuchtturm1917 dotted journal in green. It’s perfect for jotting down thoughts, writing out ideas, expressing gratitude, or keeping track of my happiness habits.
11. Check in with your daily happiness habits
If you are a bullet journaler you might be familiar with this concept. I started it a couple of months ago and love it!
The idea is to make a list of habits that you want to do every day that add to your well-being. I like to call them happiness habits because they are things that make me feel good and add to my happiness. I include items like read my Bible, study something of interest, go for a run, read an interesting book, eat lots of veggies, practice the piano, etc.. At the end of the day, I simply check off which habits I have completed.
It is important to NOT turn this into a guilt list. If you choose not to do an item, that’s OK. These habits are for your well-being and joy and are not intended to be another task list of things that you have to do.
12. Tell your family goodnight and be sure to kiss your husband
No matter what has happened in the day, it’s a wise idea to end it on a good note. A sweet wish for the night and a tender kiss remind us that we love each other.
13. Try to go to bed at the same time every night
Believe me, I know how hard it can be to establish a consistent bedtime! But I also know from personal experience how doing so can help me fall asleep faster, sleep better, and wake up more refreshed.
Our bodies seem to be happiest when they’ve got a consistent rhythm to follow, and the more consistent we are about turning out the lights at a particular time, the more ready our bodies will be to fall asleep at that time.
Do you have any evening routines or habits that you especially love? I would love to know! Feel free to share them in the comments below…
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In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.