Your days move fast. So fast that when you wake up, it feels like you blink and are already back in bed that night. Back in bed with the same stresses and overwhelm from yesterday. It can be downright maddening. But, with a properly planned night routine, you can at the very least go to sleep relaxed, calm, and ready to take on tomorrow.
That’s the power of a night routine.
And while I can’t teach you how to slow time down (something I personally struggle with), what I can do is show you how to get the most out of your time before going to bed.
Because time is going to pass either way.
Since you’re driven and want a lot out of life, naturally you are going to fill your hours to the brim. You’re going to maximize your schedule and push yourself to new limits.
Which is great!
But sometimes, having your foot on the pedal all-day accelerating forward can mean that it’s often hard to gracefully transition into nighttime.
And that’s a problem. You’ll likely find yourself struggling to:
- Quiet your mind
- Feel prepared for tomorrow
- And fall asleep peacefully
Those things are possible to achieve though. You only need to adjust your evening routine a little.
My night routine
I’m about to break down my night routine for you. But let me be honest – it doesn’t matter. My night routine is no more important than your coworker’s or your favorite athlete’s. It just doesn’t matter.
Because night routines are highly personal. There is no magic night routine list that you need to follow.
What works for me may not work for you. The objectives that I want to achieve through my routine will likely be different than yours.
And that’s fine.
So what’s the deal then? Why am I going to share my night routine with you? Well, while you shouldn’t follow my night routine word-for-word or see it as the one and only routine for success, it is helpful to use others’ routines for inspiration.
To see what they do, what works or doesn’t work for them, and then consider if one of those ideas may also work for you.
That’s the importance of sharing something like this.
So keep that in mind moving forward; there is no perfect night routine to follow. There just isn’t. But there are some great ideas out there that may work for you.
I’ve experimented with my night routine a lot over the years. And as I’ve learned more about myself and what I want in the evenings, I’ve adjusted my schedule accordingly.
For example, for a while I tried to squeeze in as much time for reading each day as I could. Naturally then, I read for around 30-60 minutes before bed.
The problem I ran into though was that reading was too stimulating for me.
If the book was:
- Fiction: I would get too excited with the story and want to stay up late reading.
- Non-Fiction: I would get too motivated and have trouble falling asleep with all the new ideas bouncing around my brain.
While I love reading, doing so right before bed didn’t give me the serenity I needed before going to sleep.
It didn’t align with my sleepy-time goals.
Night routines… and my phone?
Today, my night routine is simple. It’s dull, boring, and perfect for me to do before bed.
There’s no surprises, no bursts of energy or inspiration. None of that. I needed a routine that was simple and calming so that I could close my eyes, drift off, and get the eight hours of sleep that I need.
And it goes a little something like this.
Between 8:45 PM and 9 PM, I start my evening routine.
I lock up and turn everything off.
I get ready for bed – brush my teeth, take out my contacts, etc. Regular toiletry stuff. It takes about 15 minutes.
From there, I turn off the lights (it’s now completely dark) and hop into bed.
Then for the next 10-15 minutes or so, I do something that most sleep experts would never recommend… I watch Netflix on my phone.
What? You watch Netflix before bed? And you do it on your phone?! That’s like the worst thing you can do! What’s that about?
So, yes I watch Netflix before I go to sleep and I do it on my phone. But hear me out.
First, the brightness is all the way down and Night Shift is on (which makes my screen orange instead of blue), so I can barely see the screen. Next, the volume is all the way down so I can barely hear it.
These two things cause me to not be too involved in what I’m watching and also helps me transition from being up and active to now calm and quiet.
The third and most important piece to this puzzle though is that I don’t watch anything that I’m too into. In fact, I’m generally working my way through a series that:
- I’ve seen before so there are no surprises
- Is a light comedy so there’s nothing too serious taking place
- And is short so that I don’t feel like I need to stay up late finishing an episode
For example, I’m currently watching Friends. In the past I’ve watched Parks And Recreation, New Girl, and 30 Rock. Light shows that are fun to watch and low stress.
After watching Netflix, it’s time for sleep. I plug in my phone, check that my alarm is set, turn my volume back up so that the alarm is impactful in the morning, and close my eyes.
It’s normally right around 9:35 PM when this happens.
And that’s it! That’s my night routine. It’s fast, simple, and easy so that there’s no struggle or confusion. I go through my routine and head to sleep.
Then when I wake up, my morning routine kicks into gear and I start my day off strong just like the day before and the day before that.
My evening routine is all about calm. It’s about slowing down and transitioning from busy, hectic, daytime, to calm, slow, sleepy nighttime.
How To Create A Calming Night Routine (And Succeed Tomorrow)
Anyways, that’s my routine. But again, it doesn’t matter. You don’t need to follow it if you don’t want to. You don’t even have to use it for inspiration if you don’t want to.
It’s there for you though if you do want it.
That said, my night routine works for me. I’ve honed it over the years and am happy with where it’s at right now. Things may change down the road, and when they do, I will adjust my routine along with it.
Enough about me though.
I want to help you create the night routine that best works for you.
One that leaves you feeling ready to take on tomorrow and helps you achieve all your nighttime goals.
Let’s get into it.
What you want
The main thing you want to keep in mind when creating a night routine for yourself is what you want out of it.
In other words, what do you want a night routine for? Is it to:
- Feel calm before bed?
- Get more sleep and wake up better rested?
- Feel prepared for tomorrow?
Think about what you want out of your night routine. For me, my evenings are for calm, relaxation, and rest; to help ease me into sleep so that I can wake up energized for the new day.
My mornings are all about gearing up for the day.
And my afternoons are there to help me get planned and prepared for tomorrow.
Everything has a time and place and I have certain scripts that I follow during certain times.
That’s something that you can do too. So give it a try. Spend a few minutes reflecting on this. Consider what it is that you want from your night routine and what having a thoughtful one would allow you to do.
Night routine ideas
Now that you know what you want to achieve with your night routine, you can start implementing different ideas and tasks into your schedule.
For example, if your ideal night routine is one that helps you feel prepared for tomorrow, you could try:
- Putting out your clothes for the next day
- Sitting down and planning out your schedule
- Reviewing your calendar for your appointments and meetings
Or if you’re after some calm before bed, you could:
- Do some meditation
- Listen to some calming music
- Rewatch one of your favorite comedies (nothing too heavy)
- Write up a list of things you’re grateful for
Or if you want to improve your health, you could try:
- Using night cream lotion
- Brushing your teeth for longer
You could actually do all of these options, time permitting. Again, it’s totally up to you and your preferences.
Consider what you want to achieve with your night routine and brainstorm some ideas to help you do so. It will take some trial and error on your part, but see each attempt as a learning lesson.
As a way to better understand what it is that you want.
Moving forward with your night routine
It’s time for you to take action. You know what you need to do and now it’s up to you to do it!
So before you move on with your day, spend:
- 15 minutes right now considering what it is that you want out of your bedtime routine.
- And then spend another 15 minutes thinking of three to five things that you could implement into your routine to achieve that objective.
Then tonight, give those things a try!
You don’t need to do all five at once. You could sample one new thing each night, or each week, or each month.
I know that when I’m switching up my routines, I’ll normally do a complete overhaul and try everything out at once to see what works and what doesn’t.
That’s what I do.
But you need to do what works for you.
So see yourself as a scientist and run some experiments to find what works best. Keep trying and you will eventually lock down the perfect night routine for you.
You’ve got the bug
With your new night routine in place, you’re likely excited. It’s fun improving your life and now you’ve got the bug. You want to see what else you can build upon.
First and foremost, if you don’t feel like you use your time wisely enough each day, I recommend checking out these posts:
- My guide to productivity – here
- My guide to time management – here
- And productivity tips that you can use next time you’re feeling overwhelmed – here
Now, if you want something a little more in-depth, something that will give you a full A to Z solution for finally achieving your goals, check out my goal setting course. I also do one-on-one goal coaching as well for those wanting more hands-on help.