11 habits to add to your evening routine so you can get a good night’s sleep and wake up refreshed
Our often hectic and crazy lives can make it difficult to unwind and relax at the end of the day, leading to restless nights and groggy mornings. But it doesn't have to be this way. Instead, consciously step away from the busyness of the day and implement a few of the following soothing habits to help you relax and prepare your mind for restful sleep.
Imagine snuggling into your bed, feeling relaxed and satisfied with your day, turning out the lights, and quickly falling into a peaceful and restful night’s sleep. Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it!?
For most of us, the reality looks quite a bit different – we collapse into bed exhausted, yet feeling like we’ve accomplished nothing, minds spinning so fast we can’t even close our eyes, let alone get a restful night’s sleep. No fun!
Fortunately though, for many of us, restless nights and groggy mornings can be overcome by making a few simple adjustments to our evening routines. By consciously stepping away from the busyness of our days, unplugging, and intentionally slowing down, we can transform our nights from restless tossing and turning into soothing, dreamy nights of sleep.
1. Leave work at work
This may be the most difficult habit on this list for me personally. If I’m not careful, I can get going on a project, work straight through dinner, and find myself still staring at the computer screen when I should be turning out the lights for bed.
It’s so easy to fall into the go-go-go, striving energy of I-just-need-to-do-one-more-thing, and then one more thing after that, and then maybe just one more thing…
While there are certainly times when we do need to work longer hours or take a project home for the evening, it becomes a problem when that’s the norm. It creates chaotic, hectic energy that can leave us feeling out of sorts, disconnected, and can certainly impact our sleep.
So when it’s time to be done with work for the day, be done. Close the email. Shut the computer. Whatever it takes to turn off work and transition into your evening.
If you find your mind spinning with all the things you need to do at work, it can be really helpful to spend 5 or 10 minutes at the end of your workday to write down the most important things you want to complete the next day, and then relax and enjoy the evening.
2. Spend some time on a relaxing hobby
Spending 15 or 20 minutes on a relaxing hobby can help slow your mind and bring you into the present moment.
For me, I enjoy either practicing calligraphy or the piano, but any soothing activity would be good to add to an evening routine – drawing, knitting, writing, looking at the stars – there are endless options! Give one a try and see if it doesn’t help you unwind for the evening, too.
By the way, if you are interested in learning calligraphy, I’ve found The Postman’s Knock to be an excellent resource!
3. Stop eating at least a couple hours before bedtime
Going to bed on a full tummy can make you uncomfortable, give you weird dreams, interrupt your sleep, and cause you to wake up feeling weighed down and kind of icky. It’s so much better to stop eating at least 2 or 3 hours before bed, giving your food time to digest before turning the lights out.
4. Pray or meditate
What better way to calm the mind than with prayer or meditation? Prayer brings us closer to our Creator and helps us put the day in perspective, and meditation helps calm the mind and slow our thoughts.
5. Spend a few moments in gratitude
Consciously expressing gratitude is a powerful way to improve overall well-being. If you keep a journal, take just a moment or two to jot down one or two things you are thankful for today. If you don't journal, simply think through a few things you are especially grateful for.
BTW - my favorite journal right now is the Leuchtturm1917 dotted journal in green. It’s perfect for jotting down thoughts, writing out ideas, or expressing gratitude.
6. Read an uplifting book
Whether you like novels (as long as they don’t suck you into reading until the wee hours of the night), inspiring true stories, personal development books, or a daily devotional, reading right before bed can help you relax, unwind, and maybe even fall asleep more quickly.
7. Unplug from the online world
This is not a new piece of advice, but it is a powerful one. Our phones, computers, and TVs all have this pesky way of winding us up, making our brains spin, and keeping us awake. Some studies even show that the blue light cast by our devices impacts our sleep.
Ideally, try to turn everything off at least an hour or two before bed, and place your devices in another room or on airplane mode so they can’t disturb you with buzzes and bings.
If, like me, you enjoy reading books on a tablet in bed, be sure to put it on airplane mode so you don’t get any notifications. You might also try dimming the display so it is more restful on the eyes. Some devices even offer a nighttime mode that minimizes the blue light coming from the screen.
8. Don’t drink anything for an hour before bed
Not everyone will agree with me on this one. I’ve even heard some people recommend drinking a glass of water right before bed. But if you have a bladder like mine, you probably already know why I recommend this!
Drinking water, or anything else, right before bed can cause you to need to get up and go to the bathroom during the night, which breaks up your sleep cycle. If I drink anything too close to bedtime, I can count on waking up during the night and being less than refreshed in the morning. But skip that last beverage, and I can usually sleep soundly all through the night and wake up rejuvenated.
9. Wash your face & brush your teeth
This is a pretty basic addition to an evening routine, but it really does make a big difference – it’s like washing away the day and telling your body it is time to go to sleep.
10. Spend a few minutes outside
Spending just a few minutes outside is grounding and calming, and can help us release some of the hectic energy of the day.
Try stepping outside for 1 or 2 minutes right before crawling into bed. Take a couple of deep breaths, maybe do a few gentle stretches, and appreciate the beauty and mystery of the night.
11. Try to go to bed at the same time every night
Believe me, I know how hard it can be to establish a consistent bedtime! But I also know from personal experience how doing so can help me fall asleep faster, sleep better, and wake up more refreshed.
Our bodies seem to be happiest when they’ve got a consistent rhythm to follow, and the more consistent we are about turning out the lights at a particular time, the more ready our bodies will be to fall asleep at that time.
Bonus tip - start your day with a morning routine
Try combining these evening routine habits with a morning routine for extra bang for your buck! You can find a few of my morning routine ideas HERE, which are sure to set you up for an all-around amazing day!
Click on the links to learn more or purchase…
- How about some cute pillows to add to your bedroom to make your space extra inviting? Hop over to the pillow collection in the shop HERE.
- This is the journal I personally use and love – the Leuchtturm 1917 dotted journal.
- Interested in learning calligraphy? Try The Postman’s Knock.
Some of these are affiliate links, meaning if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. As always, your support is highly appreciated! ❤️
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for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.
Also in Grace Notes
These verses about trusting God with your paths and plans will help sooth the frantic anxiety that so often stops us from making any decisions at all. The next time you are facing a decision – whether big or small – read through these, receive the Godly wisdom, and step forward in confidence.
A joyful life starts with a joy-filled day. And developing a few Joyfulness Habits can go a long way toward creating joy-filled days. Joyfulness Habits are simple, fun actions that you can start taking today to boost your own daily joy.