Finding it hard to switch off and fall asleep? Or maybe just not getting a good nights sleep? It’s likely you need a good bedtime routine! We have already covered how to get into a good morning routine, so let’s now look at how to wind down at the end of the day.
Why Have a Good Evening Routine?
For many of us, we already have some kind of evening or bedtime routine that we’re barely even aware of! Perhaps we curl up in front of Netflix all night, scroll Instagram to see what’s happening, try desperately to fall asleep, and then wonder why it’s not happening. A good evening routine can help you get a good nights sleep and wake up feeling refreshed in the morning, but that’s not all. Getting into the habit of winding down at the end of the day can also help with:
- Sleep deprivation
- Stress and overwhelm
- Ruminating and anxiety
- Improving our digestive health
- Making us feel more energised in the daytime
- Gives you time to relax and wind down
- Can bring more peace and clarity
And so much more. This habit is just as important as a good morning routine, yet a lot of people don’t think about changing their bedtime routine. We’re going to go through some of the best habits to build into your evening routine so you can fall asleep easier and finally have a good nights sleep!
How to Build the Best Evening Routine to Fall Asleep
In this article, we’ll dig into some amazing habits you may want to add to your evening routine but it’s important that you know this: Everyone works differently! For me, journaling before bed has really helped me fall asleep easier – but for others, they may find this difficult. What’s important is that you find the ideas that work for you and your lifestyle.
Another important thing to do is pick when you want to start your bedtime routine. Do you want a whole evening routine that covers you from the time you finish work to the time your head hits the pillow? Or do you want your new evening routine to start from when you crawl into bed? Use the ideas below to build a routine that works for you, for however long you want it to work!
The best advice I can give you is to go through the ideas and then pick the ones that you think will work with your life. Add them in bit by bit and don’t try to do it all at once. And as always, don’t give up on yourself if these new evening routine habits don’t stick right away! It takes time to build a new habit into your routine, so have a little patience.
Ideas for a Good Bedtime Routine
Ready to get started building a good bedtime routine? Here are just some of the habits that science says are good to practice before hitting the hay.
We love to Brain Dump at The Anti-Burnout Club (it was our most popular lesson last year!) and before bed is the ideal time to do it. Get rid of anything that might be taking up space in your mind by jotting it all down on paper. This really helps reduce rumination, overwhelm and anxiety too.
Many people leave their to-do lists until the morning, but it can make it harder to fall asleep if we’re constantly thinking about what we need to do tomorrow. Try adding in the new habit of making your to-do list the night before so that it’s ready for the morning and out of your head before bed.
Set up Tomorrow You stuff
As mentioned in the good morning routine post, one of the best ways to get a headstart every day is to plan the night before. What do you want to achieve tomorrow? Perhaps you’ve promised yourself a morning yoga session, in which case get your mat rolled out and ready to go. Use your Brain Dump and to-do lists to set up the stuff Tomorrow You needs to get started.
Ditch the phone
It’s one of the habits for a good morning routine, but it’s even more important for your bedtime routine if you want a good nights sleep. Research has shown that the blue light emitted from our phones can make it harder for us to fall asleep, so put that phone away! I like to put mine on charge downstairs while I’m asleep, so it’s totally out of reach.
Ditch the afternoon coffee
If you’re struggling to fall asleep or to get a good nights sleep, then it may be down to drinking caffeine in the afternoons. It takes around 5-6 hours for caffeine to leave your body, so if you have a cup of coffee at 4pm then it might still be in your system when you trying to get to sleep. Most experts recommend no caffeine after around 2pm to ensure you drift off easily.
A little mindful moment
Adding a little mindful moment into your evening routine is an ideal way to relax, unwind and let go of the stresses of the day. You don’t need to set aside a lot of time, just pick one of these free mindfulness exercises and incorporate it into your bedtime wind down routine.
Move your body (but just a little)
Vigorous exercising can make you feel more awake as it boosts your energy levels, so you probably want to skip the HIIT before bed. However, something gentle such as an evening yoga stretch (there are some amazing ones on our platform) can help activate the parasympathetic nervous system which, in turn, can help us relax.
Another practice that can help activate the parasympathetic nervous system is breath work or conscious breathing. Adding in breath work to my bedtime routine has made one of the biggest differences to how quickly I can drift off and the quality of my sleep too.
Positive sleep affirmations
If you’re looking for something quick and easy that can have a big impact, then you may want to try out these positive sleep affirmations. You can print these out or copy onto a piece of paper so you can read through them before bed without having to have your phone beside you.
Practising gratitude really is so powerful. It can help us see the good in every day and focus on the positives, instead of perhaps getting anxious or stressed about the negatives. Spend a little bit of time saying or writing down three things you’re grateful for every evening before bed.
And finally, one of my personal favourites! I love to journal at the end of the day when the hustle and bustle of the day is over. When I put together The Anti-Burnout Journal, I wanted to ensure that there was a positive space for reflection at the end of each day including gratitudes, a mood tracker and more. However you like to journal, try to find some time to add this into your evening routine.
As I said before, don’t try adding in every single one of these habits at once and only pick the ones that work for you and your lifestyle. However, hopefully this has given you some good bedtime routine inspiration to get started.
Ensuring Your Good Bedtime Routine Sticks
One of the hardest things about creating a new good bedtime routine is actually being able to stick to it! We may find that we want to overhaul our whole evening routine and include all these new habits, but that we quickly fall back into old ways. If you’re struggling to stick to your evening routine then here are some top tips:
- Introduce new habits bit by bit – Don’t try to completely overhaul your entire evening routine in one go, as it will just make you feel completely overwhelmed. Pick one of the new habits you want to try and add that in, leave it 1-2 weeks, and then add in a new one. Patience is key if you’re trying to make big changes, so don’t try to rush it.
- Make it pretty – For many of us, a visual routine makes it a lot easier to stick to. You can get creative using free tools like Canva to write out your new bedtime routine and stick it up somewhere you can see it (like by your bed).
- Use a habit tracker – If you like to tick things off a list (like I do), then you may want to create or use a habit tracker that can keep you motivated with your new evening routine. There’s also one included on the daily pages of The Anti-Burnout Journal!
- Take it easy on yourself – Your current evening routine is one that has become habit, so it’ll take a little while to break. If you have a night where things don’t quite go to plan, don’t beat yourself up… We’re only human! Instead, consider how you can make things a little easier for yourself the next day.
So that’s it! Hopefully you now have plenty of ideas for habits you can add to a good evening routine that will help you drift off and get a good nights sleep! Remember to take it slowly and enjoy your new bedtime routine. Sleep well!
Useful Resources to Get Motivated and Build Better Routines
Want a little more help with motivation and building better routines? Here are some more useful resources that you can use alongside the above tips from the ABC:
- Overcoming Overwhelm Course (no membership required)
- Breath Work for Productivity (no membership required)
- CBT to help improve motivation with CBT Psychotherapist Rachael (membership required)
- Managing Rumination with CBT Therapist Anjali (membership required)
- Spring into Action Course (membership required)
- How to get motivated to look after your wellbeing (podcast, no membership required)
- How to get motivated to do anything – 14 ways to get and stay motivated (blog, no membership required)
- How to create a good morning routine (blog, no membership required)