There’s a lot of discussion around morning routines and their importance for mind and body health. But let’s not forget about the value of a bedtime routine! Everything you do before you sleep at night has an enormous effect on how your next day will go, and can affect everything from your subconscious while you’re sleeping, to your mental state the next day. Some studies have even shown that doing mentally demanding tasks before bed that involve memorization, like studying for example, can significantly improve your ability to recall that information.
However, establishing a bedtime routine that works for you is easier said than done, especially if you are anxious or stressed. But nothing is more important than finding a simple ritual that can help you fall asleep, sleep easy, and wake up the next day feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Ending each day with a reflection of the day’s events, remembering small moments, can not only calm you in the moments before you close your eyes but can also set you up for success in the future.
Try these 10 simple things before bed to help you find a good nights sleep, as well as mental peace and clarity for the days ahead!
1. Write down 3 good things and 3 bad things from your day
Simple acknowledgement is a powerful thing. It can make us both more grateful and more honest. We find it helpful to briefly observe the positive things from each day. It fosters appreciation and gratitude, and turns attention away from the negative. That being said, objective acknowledgement of things that went wrong can help us make huge strides towards improvement, understanding, or acceptance. There’s never too little time to acknowledge and observe. The beneficial effects of this simple task can be monumental.
2. Set intentions for tomorrow, tonight
We’re not necessarily advocating a list, but some way to organize and recognize what the new day will bring can be an immense help more than anything, tomorrow. Starting each day with a goal is one of the best ways to go to bed with ease yet determination for what the new day holds. It’s not going anywhere until you do it (!), but the fact that you thought about it and gave intention gives your subconscious mind time to process and set you up to hit the ground running on crushing your goals the following day. That brings us to our next bedtime ritual.
3. Tell yourself what you will need for the morning
Maybe that’s breakfast prepared, your clothes set out, lunch packed for the day. There’s safety and calm in developing a few rituals like this to prepare for the day ahead of you. These become even more valuable if you have limited time in the morning and will assure that you’re not rushed and starting your day off in a frantic way.
It’s all about clearing mental space and time for the important stuff, what you actually want to spend your day doing and thinking about. Time is money and these simple bedtime rituals can give you more time than you know the following day.
Recommended Reading: 5 Morning Rituals to Make You More Productive (and Happier!)
4. Take a hot shower or bath
Sometimes after a stressful day, when you’re unable to get the events that keep replaying in your head to quiet down, a hot shower or bath may be just what you need. There’s no wonder that many people consider their best ideas and thinking to come from time in the tub. Water immersion can be therapeutic and help us detach from our phones and laptops in these crucial hours before we sleep. The flow, yet stillness, of water has a surprisingly soothing effect and can help our thoughts be fluid and easy. You never know! You may just have all the epiphanies in the world while you’re soaking in the bubble bath.
5. Take a long walk outside to clear your mind
Yes, we always hear about how beneficial it can be to go outside for a walk and some exercise in the morning hours. But sometimes a longer, relaxed walk at night is just what some need to settle your mind and wind your body down.
Again, it’s a way to disconnect from technology before bedtime and can enable your mind to think creatively, before you consolidate those ideas during sleep. Adding this into our nighttime routine has been one of the most precious and beneficial additions.
6. Enjoy some stretching
Stretching before bed? Only think that was reserved for before or after a workout? Thank again! Stretching is an excellent way to check in with your body at any time of the day and see how it’s moving, lo0sen joints and muscles, and get you limbered up before falling sleep. Especially if you’re more sedentary throughout the day, some simple stretching before bed can do wonders for your shoulders, back, and legs, and help prevent injury during exercise the following day. Stretching is truly the OG stress-buster and tension relief.
7. Share the events of your day with someone else
Sharing your feelings and thoughts, and events of your day with someone you’re close to can be one of the most beneficial ways to de-stress, let go of any lingering heavy thoughts from the day, and recharge for the next one. Creating a bond by sharing details of your day with someone that matters to you is key to establishing a nurturing relationship not only towards others, but to ourselves.
Prefer to be alone at the end of a long day, and just with your furry friends? Did you know that even just playing or petting a pet can help reduce stress and lower blood pressure.
8. Practice deep breathing and meditation
Nighttime rituals are all about creating space and time for our thoughts to calm down and not take away a precious nights sleep. There is no better way to help us with this than some meditation practice.
Of course, mastering this art takes time, patience, and dedication. However, just the consistency of attempting to focus your mind and breathing towards the calm, away from the hectic, is one of the most beneficial things you can do right before you turn the lights out on your day.
9. Visualize your aim
Many successful people have been studied for this shared ability - to picture success. Having this goal, your aim, in your mind before you go to sleep can help tremendously, as it solidifies and consolidates during the night. There’s no bigger purpose than to find and help this aim come to life. Daily and nightly practice visualizing this aim will help you realize its outcome and bring you huge strides towards actualizing goals and making your dreams come true.
10. Leave yourself plenty of time to...you guessed it, sleep
Sleep is the number one health secret that too many of us miss out on. To be successful and the best version of ourselves, we must ensure we get enough, and peaceful rest. There’s no glory in 4-5 hour nights. Sleep deprivation is related to increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
The recommended number of hours, courtesy of The National Sleep Foundation, puts us between 7-8 hours per night for adults, of deep and restful sleep. Work this into your schedule and prioritize giving your body and mind this essential time. Let your body develop a pattern and it will naturally adjust. Perhaps even falling asleep at night will become easier as you practice these nightly bedtime rituals.
Speaking of which, we’re feeling kind of sleepy ourselves now. Good Night.