“Never let the darkness or negativity outside affect your inner self. Just wait until morning comes and the bright light will drown out the darkness. Today has been difficult, but tomorrow will be another day.” – Unknown
While insomnia is a real health challenge, a lot of people have trouble sleeping solely because of their non-existent or poorly-managed night time routines. Many people shy away from the topic of having a good self-care routine because they believe it is for the rich and famous: actors, musicians, and the likes.
They also think night self-care routines only refer to expensive facial scrubs when in reality, a self-care routine refers to any group of activities carried out to take care of and improve the mind and body.
Your self-care routine could include something as mundane as drinking peppermint tea or as lofty as using toners and moisturizers. A handful of people are also not aware that some of their routine activities, for instance drinking alcohol or coffee at night, actually contribute to the poor quality of sleep they get and that they could fix this problem without going to the doctor’s or getting some pills.
After a stressful day of back-breaking work, you may often feel like passing out from sheer exhaustion or tiredness, but when you finally hit your bed, you can’t seem to fall asleep because you’re overthinking or you don’t feel comfortable enough.
You just lay in bed thinking about everything that went wrong at work, school, or wherever you spent your day, and how you could have fixed it. Now you’re tired, cranky, and may even be feeling a bit lethargic because of the lack of sleep.
Low quality or inadequate sleep can ruin your day before it even begins. It could leave you feeling regretful, groggy, and cranky which can fuel unproductivity throughout the day. As trivial as it may sound, having a consistent self-care routine is extremely important if you want a good night’s sleep that will leave you feeling refreshed, revitalized, and renewed to face the next day.
It doesn’t matter if your day is coming to a close or if you’re a night owl, here are some activities that would help you feel more relaxed and ready to face the day tomorrow. These are self-care night ideas that you can include in your checklist.
1. Stop Working Some Hours Before Bedtime
This is one of the most essential night time routines. This is very important to declutter your mind from work-related problems or activities.
If you stop working at the exact time you wish to go to bed, you’d end up lying in bed thinking about an unaccomplished task or tomorrow’s big announcement and this will put you in a frenzy. You need to be in a happy place by resting your mind before you rest your body.
This includes the time at which you stop responding to, or reading work-related messages and emails. You need to set boundaries to avoid overworking yourself. Your body needs its rest.
2. Have A Gadget Free Time
Right now, it seems like everything in the world is happening online or on a screen but it is extremely important to set aside some time where you stay away from these screens: laptops, phones, iPods, and other gadgets.
Blue lights emitted from them negatively impact the production of melatonin which is the body’s sleep-inducing hormone. You could also use this period to catch up with your family and housemates.
You could strengthen your emotional bond while also preparing yourself to go to sleep. Try asking them easy questions like how their day went or what they had for dinner. And in cases where it is impossible to stay away from your phone, use the night light feature as it is safer and less destructive. You should include this in your list of night time routines.
3. Eat A Light Dinner
You should definitely add this to your list of night time routines. Nutritionists always advise people to eat heavy lunches and light dinners. This is for quick and easy digestion, clear bowels, and a healthy night’s sleep.
Eating heavy and late dinners puts you at risk for constipation and if it becomes a habit, obesity. Also, because your body is expending so much energy trying to metabolize and break down the food, it cannot shut down adequately to prepare you for sleep.
This means even when you’re obviously tired, you cannot fall asleep because your body is too busy digesting the heavy meal you had for dinner. If you do feel hungry after dinner, you could have some healthy snacks like yogurt, oats, and nuts.
4. Yoga And Stretches, Meditation
You could try meditating or do some yoga before bed. These practices help individuals focus their mind on a thought and achieve mental stability.
Studies have shown that people who practice yoga are calm and have more collected thoughts; therefore, they have less trouble sleeping.
You could also do stretches and light exercises to relieve built-up tension from the day. Please do not engage in heavy exercises like weight-lifting as this could have the reverse effect and make you unable to sleep.
If you don’t know how or where to start, you could try out a Yoga app or check videos on YouTube.
5. Never Sleep With Makeup
Always remove your makeup before bedtime, preferably with a makeup remover and a bath afterward. Sleeping with makeup makes you uncomfortable, stains your sheets, and ruins your face over time because of all the trapped dirt and sweat.
While you’re removing your makeup, do not forget to take off huge earrings, anklets, and other jewelry that can pose a hazard to you while you’re asleep.
6. Take A Bath/Take Care Of Your Face
Do you have a night time routine for your face in your night routine list? A bath is as relaxing as it is hygienic, and it has soothing effects physically and mentally.
A warm bath with scented oils is usually recommended an hour or two before bedtime as it helps to naturally lower your core temperature and reduce the activity of your body’s systems, ultimately though, whether it is a warm or cold bath depends on you and how you’re feeling.
And if you don’t feel like taking a full bath, you could as well wash your face and brush your teeth.
Those who have a skincare routine should always perform all the steps in their routine to get the goddess’ image and those who do not have one should start one, no matter how simple.
You could even start with just some essential oils and a moisturizer and build a more elaborate routine with time.
7. Change Into Pajamas
It would be pretty absurd to sleep with your work clothes on, extremely uncomfortable too. We advise you to always change into soft, comfortable nightwear with friendly colors and designs that will help you feel more relaxed in them.
Never sleep in jeans or tight outfits because they could interrupt blood circulation and produce low-quality sleep. It is generally advisable to wear loose-fitting clothes when sleeping.
Visualizing helps a lot of people relieve stress and fall asleep faster. Instead of focusing on anxious thoughts from the day or reckless activities going on around you, you could imagine yourself in a serene, relaxing environment, an example would be a meadow or garden.
This exercise puts your mind at rest and helps you focus on helpful and healthy thoughts.
You could also do repetitive actions like counting sheep or tiles on the ceiling.
9. Prepare For The Next Day
Organize and plan for the next day. Most times a lot of people lay in bed trying to remember everything they have to do the next morning in preparation for the day. To avoid a stressful morning, you could just do the things you can at night:
- Set out your workout clothes.
- Choose and iron your work or school clothes.
- Arrange whatever documents or books you may need for the day.
- Gather your essentials — keys, wallets, cards — in an open and easy to find spot.
- Do the dishes.
- If you can, make your breakfast.
Also, make a to-do list of the tasks you can’t do the night before. A paper to-do list is preferable as this will help you feel more in control knowing you’re already prepared for the next day before it begins.
10. Drink Some Tea
Drinking tea is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety thus, it should be added to your night self-care routine. It’s also a great alternative to take instead of midnight snacking or drinking alcohol and you can drink it while reading.
You can drink teas like peppermint, chamomile, and lavender tea but please do not drink coffee or sodas as they mostly contain caffeine which is a stimulant and can keep you up and restless throughout the night.
Most people prefer more engaging activity before going to bed. Instead of switching on the TV, Netflix, or going on the internet, you could read a book: not an extremely exciting or adventurous book that will keep you up and turning each page but an interesting enough book that will keep you relaxed and happy.
You should also go for paperbacks instead of softcopy books to avoid staring at a screen for long periods at night time. Another way to avoid this is by downloading audiobooks and listening to them.
If you’re religious, bedtime is also a good time to read religious books, journals, or diaries.
12. Dim Or Switch Off Lights
Depending on your preference, you can decide to include this in your night time routines, or not. Sleeping with bright lights mess up the body’s production of melatonin thereby disrupting the sleep/wake cycle.
If you sleep with bright lights, the brain sends signals and the body interprets these signals to mean it is daytime, therefore preventing you from achieving deep sleep.
Research has also shown that people who sleep with lights are more likely to suffer depression for two main reasons:
- The lights directly affect their mood negatively.
- They get low-quality and inadequate sleep.
For people who are afraid of the dark, they could use nightlights or dim their light bulbs to the lowest possible brightness.
13. Listen To Calming Music
This is one of the most important night time routines you can add to your list. Listening to dull, calm music helps to soothe your mind and relax you, it uses the same logic as singing lullabies to a baby.
You should not listen to loud, energetic music that would put you in a dancing mood, nothing with loud instrumentals either, instead, listen to relaxing tunes preferably without lyrics.
You could also listen to a whirring fan or natural sounds like the crashing of waves on a rock.
If you do not like to sleep with music, you could check the internet and listen to some soft voices with a relaxing effect.
Do not try so hard, it is just sleep after all. Take some time out to just do some breathing exercises, focus on breathing, and nothing else; this effectively clears and cleans your mind.
This is very similar to meditation, just focus on your breathing patterns and before a half-hour is up, you would already feel drowsy if not half-asleep.
You could also try writing out your thoughts in a journal or diary. Whatever detail you think is important or whatever comes to mind could go in your journal.
You could also write whatever you are grateful for in the journal, it could be something small like breakfast or something elaborate like a promotion at the office.
Therapists have repeatedly noted that a gratitude attitude always makes a big improvement to one’s mental health. And for those who absolutely loathe writing, you could just think about it and mentally appreciate the wins in your life.
You can get our very own Life Compass journal to make your journaling process more seamless and effective. We have created several exercises, prompts, and questions that will make your journaling process more effective.
15. Regularly Carry Out The Routine
It isn’t going to be an easy task but continue to carry out these activities, regular practice is what makes it a routine. You should also have a loosely fixed bedtime to ensure you get an adequate amount of sleep and to make sure your body gets accustomed to it.
If you continually change bedtimes and night time routines, you stand the risk of disturbing your internal clock and disrupting your sleep/wake cycle. Apart from the obvious lack of sleep, continuously changing night self-care routines can also negatively affect your mental health and your physiological health.
Additionally, when your body gets accustomed to the routine, immediately you start one activity your brain sends signals and your body begins to shut down as a way to prepare you for bed. Be determined to treat your body right, as the saying goes, “You only have one body”.
Hey there! Thank you for reading this article. Night time routines are key to your personal growth. I want to believe that as we go into the year 2021 you would start making use of these tips and of course, improve yourself significantly.
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