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How to Create a Nighttime Routine

A nighttime routine is a strong component for a good night’s rest. For many, the back to school bells are just around the corner and nobody wants to get into the swing of things on little sleep. This is where the magic begins! The well-rested feel, the happiness and the good vibes that gets you jumping out of bed singing from the rooftops, starts from the night before. Personally, a relaxing, wind-down routine are the moments I look forward to at the end of the day because it means being reunited with my bed!

Why You Should Have a Nighttime Routine?

After a day full of school, work and play, the best thing we can do for ourselves is slow down the day’s momentum and engage our mind and body for rest and recharge mode.

I see you, friend. You hustle, get things done and are the hero for those who need you. But every superhero needs to put up their cape, if only for a short while. You may not have the ability to take a 2-day or 2-week vacation or staycation but you can treat yourself. Give your being the love, care and respect needed for you to be your best. 

It doesn’t have to be fancy.

A simple version of your nighttime routine can look like taking a few minutes to light a candle while soaking in a warm bath. With some bubbles if you’re feeling fancy. Or it can look like a face mask and drinking some tea as you prepare for the following day. 

Whatever your wind-down routine is, stick to it. As creatures of habit, we thrive on routines. When we develop healthy and consistent processes, it trains us to prioritize taking care of ourselves until it’s an ingrained habit. And I know that’s a habit you can get behind. By having a nighttime routine, you teach your mind and body that it is time to switch from high-energy mode to relaxation mode.

Perks of a good sleep.

“Sleep is literally the worst thing you can do to yourself!”

…said no one ever. 

There is so much information out there on the importance of sleep. It is ABSOLUTELY critical to our function and our ability to function as human beings. Yet we still put it lower and lower on the list of priorities as more responsibilities pile on. However, sleep-deprivation is never a pleasant feeling and will have a negative impact on you and what you contribute to.

It’s wild just how much sleep bridges the gap between ZombieVille to Decently-Functioning Human Being City. Sleep is known to:

  • Improve memory & concentration
  • Reduce stress levels
  • Allow for the body to repair itself
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Increase energy levels
  • help you live your best life!
lit-candle- journal
A part of your nighttime routine may look like lighting a candle.

Team No Sleep is not a good idea.

I remember trying to stay up as late as the early bird in me was able to withstand to study for exams. My belief was that the more I crammed in my head, the more I’d know for the test.

Bad.

Very bad.

Yet so common. Somewhere along the path of learning about our bodies, we developed the notion that the longer we stay awake, the more information we remember and retain. But the truth is exactly the opposite. Sleep allows for the information we learn to be consolidated in our brain.

When your body is tired enough it overrides your wishes hence sleeping when you’re in lecture, the moment your body sags into that comfy chair or worse, while driving. 

Your body has priorities too.

If the brain is already deprived of its’ time to rest and recharge, it’s sure as heck not going to care about anything other than keeping you alive. It’s like telling your phone to keep a call active, play a Youtube video and run a few more apps in the background…on 10% battery!

It’s going to die, real fast. The good news in that situation is you only need a charger to turn the phone on again. Unfortunately, we don’t have that same luxury with our bodies.  

While your brain never “turns off”, it does need to go into the “RE” modes: rest, recharge, re-energize, replenish, reassess, reallocate. The body regularly communicates its’ needs and can solve many of those requirements on its own, when you’re asleep. However, it can’t do that very well when your sleep-deprived self is fighting tooth and nail to stay awake.

What my nighttime routine looks like.

I enjoy listening to relaxing tunes on the radio as I prepare for bed. It’s the last subtle pick-me-up for the day and encourages me to stay away from screens. I’m not always successful with the no-screen step, a constant reminder that self-improvement is always “work in progress”. 
Other things I do are:

  • Pack my bag for the next day, and lunch if necessary
  • Skin care routine
  • Tidy my room
  • Read. My current read is Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice
  • Light stretching & bed yoga
  • Verbally making my gratitude list. 

Of my nighttime and morning routine, I find my nighttime routine to be the hardest to do on time since the momentum of the day keeps me going. To help combat this, I add in steps I can look forward to like listening to the radio and reading a book.

There are nights when I only do two of the activities because I am just too tired to do anything else. On those nights, I remind myself that all I need to do is my best, whatever that looks like. I want to relay that same message to you today: you won’t always be able to get everything done, but you can make sure that you do your best.

writing in a notebook in bed
Journalling about your day is a great way to unwind!

Tips for a good night’s rest. 

  • Read a fiction novel, which is less likely to encourage your brain stay wakeful to store the information you’re learning
  • Analyze the best time for you to exercise. For some it best to do that at night because it makes them very tired whereas a good night time exercise wakes others up. 
  • I suggest using ear plugs for light sleepers.
  • Go to sleep when you begin to feel tired. When you push off that first wave of fatigue, it’ll signify to your body that you need to stay awake and will undergo its’ physiological process to produce a second wind.
  • Avoid doing work in your bed. This one is so hard for me! I’m notorious for working in my bed, it’s just so comfortable and cozy. The issue there is that our brain associates a bed with sleeping so even if I have every intention of staying awake, I find myself dozing or subtly scooting further and further into a laying position and waking up hours later. 

How I’ve changed since doing my nighttime routine regularly. 

I started taking my nighttime routine seriously only a few months ago and I’ve seen a difference in my thoughts and behaviour. I used to forego a nighttime routine, just doing the basics of face washing, brushng my teeth, and it was like a shock to my senses because there was never a transition period from wakefulness to relaxation. As a result, my mind was still racing with thoughts about my day. Now, I look forward to the hour before bed as time to care for me. It also helps me set boundaries to ensure I reserve time for my health and wellness.

Treat your nighttime routine with respect. 

A nighttime routine is a great reminder that we need to be cared for. You are your greatest asset therefore you can’t treat yourself poorly. It serves no one well, especially you. Give yourself the time to wind down after a jam-packed day and feel refreshed as you put your cape on the next morning.

What is your nighttime routine like? Leave it in a comment below!

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