Go to Bed Feeling Accomplished: 10 Things To Do Every Night Before Bed

As an author and lifestyle blogger, I often work late into the night writing articles. But I’ve learned that having a consistent nighttime routine helps me relax and get better sleep. Here are 10 things I try to do every evening before I crawl into bed.

1. Take a Warm Bath or Shower

There’s nothing more soothing than taking a nice hot bath or shower before slipping under the covers. The warm water helps your muscles unwind so you feel less tense. It also helps regulate your body temperature which signals to your brain that it’s almost time to sleep.

I like to add some lavender essential oils to my bath too. The calming smelly oils double down on helping me mentally prepare for sleep.

2. Drink Chamomile Tea

A cup of hot chamomile tea works wonders when you’re trying to get drowsy. Chamomile has been used for centuries to reduce anxiety and promote sleep.

I usually drink a big mug about 30 minutes before I want to fall asleep. It makes me feel all warm and cosy inside!

3. Stretch Out Your Muscles

When your muscles feel tight and tense, it can translate into feeling stressed and anxious. Spending just 5-10 minutes doing some simple stretches helps your entire body relax.

Some of my go-to stretches before bed include:

  • Child’s pose
  • Cat/cow pose
  • Downward-facing dog
  • Forward fold

Gently moving through poses like these helps me release physical tension so I can rest easy.

4. Write Down Your Thoughts

Often when I lie down, my mind starts racing about things I need to do the next day. Getting these thoughts out of my head and onto paper helps me quiet my mind.

I keep a pad of paper and pen next to my bed. Right before I’m ready to sleep, I’ll jot down anything that comes to mind – things to add to my to-do list, random ideas, worries, etc. This empties my brain so I don’t stay up ruminating on those items.

5. Read a Book

Reading a book helps distract my mind so I don’t start obsessing over work or personal issues when I’m trying to fall asleep.

I make sure to only read print books at night since the blue light from e-readers can suppress melatonin production and keep you awake longer. Some of my favorite pre-bed books are motivational and personal development titles. Reading positive content makes me feel peaceful and content before sleeping.

6. Listen to Calming Music

Listening to gentle, ambient music has a direct physiological effect on the body. It slows breathing and heart rate while lowering blood pressure. All of these changes prime you for sleep.

Some of my preferred sleepy-time tunes are piano, violin or acoustic guitar. I’ll put on a playlist very softly in the background while I’m getting into bed. Focusing on the soothing melodies distracted my mind from wandering.

7. Try Deep Breathing

When you feel anxious or stressed, it manifests in short, shallow breathing patterns. Doing some deep belly breaths for just 5 minutes can flip that switch.

My favorite technique is to inhale through my nose while counting slowly to 5. I visualize the breath travelling all the way down to my abdomen. Then I exhale through my mouth to a count of 6. Extending the exhale triggers a relaxation response.

Repeat this cycle half a dozen times and you’ll feel your body sinking deeper into the mattress.

8. Diffuse Essential Oils

I keep a diffuser with lavender or bergamot oil on my nightstand. The aroma fills my bedroom with a light, pleasant fragrance.

Breathing in these scents interacts with the limbic system – the part of the brain controlling emotions. It puts me in a calm, relaxed headspace that preps me for slumber.

I set the diffuser on a timer so the scent fades as I drift off. Both lavender and bergamot are also known to lower heart rate and blood pressure.

9. Cuddle With Your Partner

If you share your bed with a significant other, spending a few minutes cuddling and connecting can enhance feelings of intimacy. Trade a few soft kisses, give each other a massage, or chat about your day.

Releasing oxytocin from physical touch produces anti-stress effects. You’ll feel more relaxed and happy before dozing off. Even just holding hands triggers this response!

10. Meditate

Finally, I always do 5-10 minutes of meditation before getting into bed. Clearing your mind of any lingering thoughts or worries allows you to slip into deep, restorative sleep much faster.

Apps like Calm and Headspace have great quick mindfulness sessions for winding down at night. I focus on my breathing while listening to their sleepy narrations. And I’m out like a light!

Length of ActivityIdeal Timing Before Bed
Warm Bath20-30 minutes60-90 minutes before
Drink Tea10 minutes30 minutes before
Stretch5-10 minutesAnytime
Journal5 minutesRight before laying down
Read Book30 minutes60-90 minutes before
Listen to Music15+ minutesAnytime
Deep Breathing5 minutesRight before laying down
Diffuse Oils15+ minutesAnytime
Cuddle Partner5-10 minutesRight before laying down
Meditate5-10 minutesRight before laying down

Incorporating some of these relaxing rituals into your pre-bedtime routine can go a long way towards improving sleep quality. Test out different combinations to see what works best for your body and mindset. Over time, you’ll train your body to associate these wind-down habits with feeling sleepy. Before you know it, you’ll be drifting off peacefully every single night!

I am a Certified Life Coach (CPC) and mom of two from Austin, TX. I draw on my psychology background and coaching experience to empower others to grow through my writing.

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