Let me let y’all in on a little secret, I happen to love sleeping and I'm actually pretty darn good at it! Kyle and I laugh about it all the time, because it takes him forever to fall asleep at night, but I am usually out by the time my head hits the pillow. I also require a full night’s sleep to be fully functional the next day, 7 hours is usually my minimum, and I really love those 7 hours. I truly believe that setting up a good routine in the evening is essential to a good night’s sleep. If you have established a routine in the evening you are more likely to get into bed at a decent time and your body will be ready for sleep by the time your head hits the pillow, and your body and mind will thank you!
Although I don’t love rules or rigid scheduling, I do really love routines and have many things that I attempt to do every night before bed so that my mind and body are ready and able to rest peacefully. I am kind of a grandma in some of my ways so if these don’t work for you and you are a total nightowl I definitely understand, but I wanted to share some of the ways that I have found to be successful at getting a good night’s rest so that I am able to conquer the following day. I don’t think any of these tips are “groundbreaking,” but these are things that work for me and have been helpful in making sure I get quality rest each day, and maybe even one of them will be useful to you in your evening routine if you have one!
I believe having a bedtime is super important. Now I know that our baby isn’t here yet, and so once she is here our bed time might change a little bit, but I strive to be winding down by 9 pm. I want to be in my bed around 9:30 and most night I aim to have the lights out by 10:00 pm every night. I typically wake up pretty early each morning so getting my 7 hours of sleep is usually not something I’m willing to give up. A friend of mine recently gave me a tip to set an alarm each night to “go to bed.” We set alarms to wake up each day that get us up and started, so why don’t we set an alarm that reminds ourselves that it is time to sleep and rest our bodies. Sometimes I think this can be a tricky thing especially if we are hanging out with people and truly investing in our friendships, but most of my friends know that by about 9 pm, I start shutting down and it’s better for everyone if I go get ready for bed.
Speaking of setting an alarm to go to sleep, I think it’s also important to set a time each evening where you are no longer on your phone. At this time you sign off from social media, from work, and even from answering calls. This is probably the most difficult thing for me to do on this list, as if scrolling through Instagram one last time or checking my emails again is going to change anything in my day for the better-- it’s definitely not! I know it’s been proven that the lights on our phones and devices make it more difficult for us to wind down and fall asleep, so it’s important to decrease your screen time in the evening for me at least 30 minutes before going to sleep.
I absolutely cannot go to sleep without washing my face and brushing my teeth. I think that taking care of your skin is super important and no matter how exhausted I am at the end of the day washing my face is non negotiable and something that if I don’t do I wake up feeling gross. Not washing off your makeup causes clogged pores and then acne, it’s pretty much a proven fact in my life if I don’t wash it off I wake up with a blemish--not worth it!
Another thing that I don’t do every single night but I think is a great practice is to write down things that you are grateful for. This might sound super cheesy, but even after a really long, even challenging day there is always something that you can be grateful for. I truly believe you will get a better night’s sleep if you have a grateful heart and don’t feel wound up thinking about a conversation that ended weird, or a project that you’ve left unfinished. Maybe you just have one thing to write down for that day, the next day you might be able to fill up a whole page. Other times Kyle and I will just share our “high” moment of the day. This might also be a great time to brain dump and write out any things that you are worried about so that you don’t try and go to sleep with too many things on your mind that will keep you from a good night’s sleep.
Overall I think you need to create rituals that work for YOU and your body each and every day when it comes to sleep. These are things that are helpful for me in an ideal evening, but don’t necessarily happen every night (except washing my face, and getting in bed early like a Grandma). Weekend nights I generally stay up later, and so I typically don’t stick to my bedtime on those days, but most of the other things I continue to do each and every night.