If you’re continually feeling stressed or sluggish during the day, bringing some attention to your nighttime routine can help you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.
It’s easy to spend your post-work hours scrambling to do last-minute errands, or melting into the couch as you binge-watch the latest series on Netflix. But creating a relaxing, structured evening routine is crucial to success.
How you spend the few precious hours before bed sets the tone for your night of sleep and dictates whether or not you carry the stresses of today into tomorrow.
11 Things To Do Before Going to Bed
1. They prepare for the next day.
If you want to go to bed with a clear, calm mind, it’s important to set aside time to prepare for the next day. Review your schedule, write a flexible to-do list, and circle the most important tasks you want to accomplish. If you go to the gym before work or struggle to pick out an outfit in the morning, lay out your clothes and shoes so you’ll be ready to go.
2. They stop working.
Squeezing in a few extra hours of work in the evening might seem productive, but it may make you feel wired and stressed right before going to bed.
Resist refreshing your inbox, making calls, or stewing over work-related issues after you leave the office. Focus instead on stepping out of your problem-solving mindset and settling into relaxation mode.
3. They connect with loved ones.
Spending time with loved ones — meeting up with a friend, playing with your kids, or sitting down for a family meal — is essential to your well-being and overall happiness. Not only does quality time with friends and family help remove you from a more work-oriented mindset, it also gives you an opportunity to relax, laugh, and be yourself in a space free of judgment and pressure.
4. They sit down for dinner.
Rather than scarfing down your food in front of the TV or eating it standing over the kitchen counter, carve out at least 15 to 30 minutes to sit down at a table and enjoy your meal. Chew every bite completely, savor the flavors, and notice your body start to feel full. Mindful eating has been shown to help reduce stress, which is helpful as you’re winding down for a good night’s sleep.
5. They read for pleasure.
If the only time you read is when you’re laying poolside during a beach vacation, it’s time to shake up your evening routine. Diving into a good book is one of the best ways to distance yourself from the stresses of the day. Even just fifteen minutes of reading before bed can help you relax.
6. They clean and get organized.
No need to go on a frantic cleaning spree or break out the mop every night, but taking a few minutes before bed to tidy and organize your space will help clear your mind. Hang your clothes up, unpack your gym bag, put shoes and dirty garments away, straighten up your desk, and toss out the trash.
7. They disconnect from technology.
Even if you’re just browsing Pinterest or reading articles on your phone, staying connected to technology can leave you feeling anxious and distracted, especially if you’ve already been working on a computer for most of the day.
Plus, research shows that engaging heavily with technology before bed makes it more difficult to fall asleep, in part because the blue light from our devices disrupts melatonin production. Make an effort to unplug from your phone, tablet, or laptop at least 30 minutes before you crawl into bed.
8. They reflect on the positive moments of the day.
Whether your day was incredible or a total train-wreck, take some time before bed to reflect on anything positive that happened. You can journal, meditate, talk with a friend, or just sit quietly and replay the day’s brighter moments. Maybe your presentation was a major hit with your boss, maybe you crushed your morning workout, or maybe you scored a free iced tea at your local sandwich shop.
Creating a nightly habit of turning your attention toward the positive moments of the day, however small or insignificant you might think they are, allows you to feel more gratitude and appreciation in your life.
9. They develop a hygiene routine.
Hastily brushing your teeth for one furious minute doesn’t cut it. Rather than rushing through your self-care steps, make the process something to look forward to. Soak in the bath, use your favorite facial cleanser, floss, moisturize, and maybe even light a candle in the bathroom. A thoughtful, relaxing hygiene routine sends a signal to your body that you’re winding down and preparing for sleep.
10. They unwind with a relaxing activity.
The ideal precursor to sleep is an activity that simultaneously slows you down and calms you. Maybe you like to meditate, listen to podcasts, cook, stretch on your yoga mat, or read. Choose an activity that you genuinely enjoy, not one associated with work or with making progress on your to-do list.
11. They go to sleep at the same time.
In order to hustle and make things happen during the day, our bodies require a dedicated period of restful inactivity each night. Successful people understand the value of sleep and plan their bedtimes to ensure they get the recommended seven to nine hours of solid rest.
Not only that, successful people make an effort to slide into bed at the same time every night. The more consistent you are, the more your body will learn to recognize that it’s time to sleep, meaning you can head to dreamland right away rather than toss and turn.