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When you think of bedtime routines you may think of babies or kids. But it’s so important for adults to have a night routine, too. Having a healthy bedtime routine will help you go to sleep in a better frame of mind and wake up ready to take on the day. And if you have children, then you know they like to copy their parents. It will be easier to get your kids on a bedtime routine if you also have a night routine.
Below are some items you should incorporate into your night routine as well as the specific steps to create your own bedtime routine.
Prepare for the Next Day
Mornings can be hectic. You have a lot to do in the morning and limited time to get it done. Preparing the night before will make your mornings run smoothly. Start by looking at your schedule for the next day. Then prepare whatever you need – pack your work bag, gym bag, keys, etc.
Pick out your clothes for the next day. Iron or steam anything that is needed.
Pack your lunch the night before or have it prepped enough to make it simple to finish in the morning.
Just like packing a lunch box for your kids, create lunch packing stations in your fridge and pantry with individual-sized portions of your favorite lunch items. This makes it easy to put your lunch together in a hurry.
Need some inspiration? Family Fresh Meals has over 50 lunchbox ideas to take to work.
Related: Create Your Best Morning Routine
Evening Household Tasks
There are certain household chores that should be done every evening to keep your house clean. These are small tasks that should not take a ton of time and effort. In my house, chores are shared by the entire household. If you need help getting your family on board, check out Teach Your Family to Keep Your Home Organized.
Here’s my family’s evening chore routine and who is responsible for each item. But keep in mind I have four kids so your tasks may not be the same as mine.
- Clear off and wipe down counters – older son
- Swiffer or vacuum kitchen and entry floor (this is a must for us thanks to two messy younger kids) – older daughter
- Load and start dishwasher – me
- Wipe down kitchen sink – me
- Switch out kitchen towels – husband
- Final pickup and straightening of family room – 2 little kids with my oversight
This may seem like a lot but it really doesn’t take that much time. If I were to do all the cleanup myself it would only take 10-15 minutes. To me, it’s so worth the time to have a tidy home.
Before Bed Workout
Ugh, exercising before bed? If you’re anything like me, it’s easy to come up with excuses about why you can’t fit exercise into your day. But the older and heavier I get, I’m starting to realize that I need to drop the excuses.
Won’t I get too hyped-up to sleep? According to WebMD, for the most part, exercising at any time will actually help you sleep.
Working out before bed doesn’t have to mean an hour-long cardio session. Just 10-30 minutes can help boost your metabolism and help you relax and unwind. Check out these short bedtime workouts:
If standard exercise is affecting your sleep then try something more zen, like a bedtime yoga routine. Here are a few to try:
Nighttime Skincare Routine and Other Personal Hygiene
It’s so easy to claim you are too tired to brush your teeth or wash your face. But taking care of your teeth and skin at night is so important for a healthy mouth and a fresh and clear complexion. And contrary to so much of what you read, you don’t need a million different expensive skincare products. While multiple steps are needed in your nighttime skincare routine, it should only really take you about five minutes.
At the bare minimum, brush your teeth, remove makeup, wash your face, apply an eye cream and moisturizer.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when searching for the best nighttime skincare routine. Who are all these people who can afford 12 nighttime products at $100+ each??? I’ve found that Southern Living offers a practical routine with an explanation of why each step is needed.
Don’t necessarily look to celebrities for recommendations on products. First, many of the products they use cost a fortune. Second, their skin type may be very different from yours.
Experiment with products that are designed for your skin type until you find the ones that work best for you.
If you find you are constantly too tired for bedtime personal hygiene, then try doing it earlier in the evening. Don’t sit down to watch your favorite show until your teeth are brushed and your nighttime skincare routine is complete. Or if you have kids that go to bed earlier than you, do your nighttime skincare routine while they get ready for bed. As a bonus, brushing your teeth earlier in the evening can help prevent after dinner snacking.
Technology is a wonderful thing but there are also downfalls, especially when it comes to getting the sleep you need. For your morning routine, I recommend limiting technology because it’s a time suck that throws off your entire schedule. But at night, the need is even greater because of the physical effect on your body.
The blue light from screens mimics daylight and restricts the production of melatonin, making it harder for you to wind down and go to sleep. Most experts recommend not watching TV or using electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bed. Sleep.org provides additional information about the effect of technology on sleep.
Attitude of Gratitude
As part of your night routine, leave a few minutes to think about what you are grateful for. Your thoughts can change your attitude and may affect your dreams as well. The last thing you’re thinking about can greatly impact the quality of your sleep.
Don’t believe me? Check out the scientifically proven benefits of gratitude.
Many people have a gratitude journal. I prefer a Gratitude Jar that I share with my family. By using the jar, it holds us accountable and encourages each of us to express our gratitude and share it with each other. We read the notes during a weekly family dinner. And while this was not the original intent for our jar, it has helped motivate the kids to help around the house because they know it’s recognized and appreciated.
Sleep Schedule for Adults
I feel like there is a constant competition to get less sleep and still function. Just like we are all battling to see who is the busiest. Don’t be shamed into getting less sleep than you need. If you’re looking to be more productive and have the energy to get through the day, don’t skimp on sleep.
So how much sleep do you actually need? While the guidelines recommend adults get 7-9 hours a night, some may require less and some more.
If your mind races at night or you have issues falling or staying asleep, you may benefit from incorporating mindfulness meditation into your routine. Mindfulness meditation focuses on your breathing and keeping your mind in the present (not worrying about the past or future). It sounds simple but it can take some practice to get the hang of it. Check out this article from Harvard Health Publishing to learn more about it.
How to Create Your Night Routine
So how to do you actually take all this information and put it into an actionable evening routine? Follow these steps and sign up to get the bedtime checklist to create, track and stick with your new routine!
- Determine what time you need to wake up in the morning. Then figure out your bedtime, based on how much sleep you need.
- Review the list of ideas within this article and decide which ideas make sense to implement.
- Create your bedtime routine checklist by writing each step of your night routine, including the time it will take to complete it.
- Week 1: Keep track each day. Make notes of where you are running into issues. At the end of the week, determine if your bedtime checklist needs to be tweaked. For example, you need to switch the type of exercise or the length of time you exercise.
- Week 2: Keep track of your revised bedtime checklist. If you’re still running into problems, make additional changes.
- Weeks 3-5 (or however long as needed): Make your night routine a habit. Continue to use your bedtime checklist to make sure you are keeping on track. I’ve read from many sources that it takes 21 days to change a habit but that is not a hard and fast rule. Some people take longer, some habits are harder to change. It is OK if it takes you longer to change your night routine. Don’t give up!