Confession, I’m not a master in bedtime rituals.
As in, I don’t manage to pull off a perfect (does that even exist) nighttime routine every day. But what I do know, is that when I do make time to consciously relax and embark on the self-loving journey of a nighttime routine… my evenings turn into magic.
The kind of magic where everything falls into place, where I feel relaxed and ready to rest.
Simply put, owning (yes owning!) a bedtime ritual is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.
The purpose of a bedtime ritual is to prepare your whole being for a deep, soothing and rejuvenating sleep. And sleep being one of the most important natural healing and restorative mechanisms of our existence, I believe it’s not something we should take for granted or lightly.
This being said, I decided to collect a bunch, of small, loving bedtime rituals one can add to their own nighttime routine. Play, experiment, but mostly, find what feels good for you. What réally oozes you into sleep like nothing else?
Have fun on this amazing journey of self-loving sleep magic!
20+ Bedtime Rituals to Master Your Nighttime Routine
1 Have a Set Bedtime
Just like the kiddos have a bedtime, you should too. Our bodies LOVE… no, they THRIVE on routine and accountability. Going to bed every day at the same time creates a rhythm your body will adjust to, and eventually, it will help you fall into (a deep) sleep faster. Not easy (I know!) but worth trying!
Start off with dimming the lights at a certain time every day and you’ll start reaping the melatonin magic in no time!
Oh, whilst you here, you might wanna check this awesome post out on how to wake up early!
2 Disconnect… Unplug… Be Offline!
Does this surprise you?
Probably not. But a reminder many of us can benefit from.
Not only the lights radiating from the screen(s) keep you awake, but the messages/images also can affect you emotionally and cause spikes of adrenaline. Natural darkness releases the chemical melatonin which helps us fall asleep, exposing yourself (unnecessarily) to screens of any sort delay the production of melatonin and therefore stand in way of you getting the rest you deserve. In an ideal world, all devices are shut down around 2 to 3 hours prior to bedtime.
Pro tip: If you have a digital alarm clock, place it facing the wall so you don’t get disturbed by its emitting lights.
Having a digital detox every now and then is mental maintenance! Read here 21 Practical Things You Can Do To Let Your Buzzing Phone Not Buzz Your Peace Of Mind
3 Prepare for the Coming Day
Have you ever been tossing around in bed because you were overthinking the next day? I know I certainly have.
Be one step ahead and prepare for the next day. Preparing, even if it’s just some small things, really takes off the pressure and lessens the stress.
- Write down a to-do list of things you want/need to get done. Writing it down means it no longer has to linger in your mind. Win-win!
- Prepare your outfit for the next morning.
- Set the washing- and/or coffee machine on a timer.
Do you find it difficult to prepare things and would you describe yourself as a procrastinator? Read here why I believe that procrastinating is the self-sabotage of self-care and what you can do to beat those unhelpful vibes.
4 Practice Gratitude
The simple exercise of writing down three things that went good that day is an exercise that stimulates the good vibes. The kind of vibes that are beneficial to anyone, anywhere. It helps you appreciate your life, the small and the big.
Allow yourself to process your progress.
If you like this, then you’ll love our post on happiness challenges!
5 Create Time to Reflect
Just as important as the above exercise of practicing gratitude, is creating time to reflect on the day. Did something go differently than planned? That’s ok, realizing how you can make small improvements each day will help you course-correct early on. Setting time aside to reflect deliberately allows you to go to sleep without having to dwell on it whilst you should be snoozing off.
The power of critical thinking, there is so much to it! Check out our step by step guide to critical thinking here!
6 An Evening Stroll
Taking an evening stroll is a great way to unwind from your day. It provides you some time to reflect and can spark new ideas. Allow yourself to wander.
7 Have a Hot Shower / Bath
When the warm water touches your skin, you relax immediately. Soak or wash away any remaining worries or stress and step into bed all fresh and clean. Upgrade the experience by adding some relaxing essential oils like lavender or chamomile to enhance the comforting and calming activity.
Mmmmmmm the thought alone, love it!
Talking about temperature… did you know that you sleep better in a lower temperature bedroom? So drop that thermostat and curl up under the blankets for a night of better sleep.
Decluttering is a great thing to do, besides cleaning and making space physically, you’re simultaneously making space mentally. Taking a couple of minutes to declutter your bedroom before going to bed can have the same effect.
Clean up the pile of laundry, remove clutter from your bedside table, and you’re good to go. Approach it mindfully and before you know you’ll be zzzzen.
9 Refresh your Sheets
Isn’t it the best feeling ever to curl inside fresh bedsheets?
There is no need to refresh your sheets daily (duh) but there are small things you can do to make the experience as fresh as possible, for example:
- Shake out your duvet and tuck the mattress cover in tight.
- Fluff up and flip the pillows over.
- Lightly spray the bed with a mix of some water and a few drops of lavender essential oil.
- If you have pets sleeping in bed with you, there no harm in using a lint roller to remove fur.
Visualization, also known as mental imagery, is a tool many successful people (athletes, badass moms etc.) use daily. There are numerous ways on how you can utilize visualization and there are different techniques. A simple, yet effective and great way to start implementing it (and it’s power!) is by adding it to your daily routines (morning/evening).
Visualizations can be as elaborate as you wish them to be, from visualizing the near and far future of your life in every detail to a short and sweet visualization of yourself fully rested, positive and ready to encounter any challenge that will face you the next day. The more detailed and realistic the visualization is, the better. There are no boundaries to the possibilities of visualization.
This subject alone (like many on this list) deserves more attention. So if practicing visualization sparked your interest, then this is definitely something worthy of investigating. It’s certainly on my list to share a post about soon!
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11 Stretch / Yoga
Allowing yourself a gentle yoga practice is a great way to wind down and connect with your breath and body. It’s important to remember that this practice shouldn’t be about maximizing positions or challenging your range of motion, it’s about deep, intense, yummy relaxation. Letting go of the events of the day, reconnecting with the current moment.
When it comes to nighttime yoga, my advice is to approach it ‘yin’. Meaning, hold poses longer and support your body where you can with extra blankets or pillows.
Some great beneficial nighttime poses:
- Child’s pose
- Cat/Cow pose
- Seated forward fold
- Corpse pose
- Legs against the wall
If that all sounds like jabber talk to you, check out this video from Yoga with Adriene (one of my fav YouTube Yogi’s) where she goes through a 12-minute wind-down yoga sequence, worth it!
Meditation is a practice that can help your mind unwind. Allowing thoughts to pass as you focus on your breath, a mantra, or posture. As you might know, there are many forms of meditation. If you are new to meditation, check out this post where I introduce 5 different meditation practices for beginners.
If there is anything that helps me when I’m totally restless in bed, it’s a guided bedtime meditation. Focusing on the voice, it allows you to drift into sleep. Even if you don’t fall asleep, you at least give your mind more focus. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
I personally use the (free) insight timer app for guided meditations, but you can also find plentiful on YouTube and other sources.
13 Alternate Nose Breathing
Alternate nose breathing, in Sanskrit also known as nadi shodhana pranayama is a breathing technique that is known to relax your body and mind, reduce anxiety and promote overall well-being. And is, therefore, a great addition to your bedtime ritual.
You can do this exercise either sitting or lying down, make sure you are comfortable. If you feel any discomfort or are short of breath stop immediately and return back to your natural breathing.
- Exhale completely and then use your right thumb to close your right nostril.
- Inhale through your left nostril and then close the left nostril with your fingers.
- Open the right nostril and exhale through this side.
- Inhale through the right nostril and then close this nostril.
- Open the left nostril and exhale through the left side.
- This is one cycle.
Try to repeat it for at least 9 cycles for deep relaxing sensation, enjoy!
If you want to read more about the benefits (and risks) of this breathing technique, check out this article from Healthline.
14 Massage your hands
We use our hands daily and we might not realize that the hands too can hold tension and stress. When preparing for bed it’s beneficial to allow your energy (to those common with yoga: your prana) to flow. In your hands (just like your feet), there are many energy points that are connected with the entire body. So in a way, giving yourself a hand-massage is like giving your entire body a mini-massage. Who would have thought?
Use a natural oil, such as almond oil – with or without an extra drop of lavender essential oil – and gently massage your hands. Start at the ball of the thumb applying some pressure and rotation with the other hand. Move onto the palm of your hands, and massage every finger independently, don’t forget to massage the nails as well. Make sure to massage both hands and finish off kneading the hands together (as if you are applying hand cream) and do some small hand/wrist/finger stretches. Yum!
15 Good Hair, I do Care
In the ‘ol days, brushing your hair was a common part of the nighttime routine. Every stroke was counted, with 100 strokes being the magical number. In the process of brushing your hair its the repetitive movement that evokes a soothing, meditative feeling. Use a brush with natural hairs and stroke from the scalp downwards towards the hair ends. Whilst brushing, you also massage the scalp which results in better blood circulation and better hair growth. Awesomeness!
16 Listening to relaxing music
Just listening to so-called relaxing music makes you feel relaxed too. So unplug the radio and tune into some soothing sound-scapes, Tibetan bowls harmonies or nature sounds. It’s a great way to slow down and allow peaceful energy to fill up space.
I dedicated a whole post to this self-loving gesture of oozing yourself to sleep. You don’t wanna miss out: 10 Spotify Playlists with Relaxing music for sleep!
17 Essential Oil Yourself to sleep
Oh my, essentials oils. I sincerely loveeeee them. I truly believe there is an oil for everything, well, because there is!
Aromatherapy is great and I strongly feel that people, in general, could benefit more from the magical powers of essential oils. These fragrant essences are multi-purpose and can be used for anything from cooking, cleaning, perfume, and massage therapy, to aromatherapy, all while providing potentially beneficial medicinal effects on the mind and body.
I’ve mentioned the use of oils in a couple of other points in this post but let me list here a couple more methods so you can benefit big time! *considering writing an entire post…*
What oil to use?
Most common for stress relief and relaxation is Lavender, other calming and soothing options are: Chamomile, Vetiver, Bergamot, and Cedarwood. Some brands also offer ready-made mixtures like ”serenity” that are a soothing combination of several oils. Explore what scent you like and prefer, and play around. Make sure the brand you are using is safe to consume if you are adding it to your drink or rubbing on your skin.
- Add some to an oil diffuser and allow the scent to spread throughout your room/house.
- Add a couple of drops to your bath.
- Mix a few drops with another oil (like almond, olive or coconut) and gently rub it into your skin. (Wrists, temples.. mmm heaven!)
- Blend with some water, shake, and spray it on your bed, or curtains.
- Add a drop to your tea.
18 Read a Real Book
Just to be clear, not an e-book, a real book. Definitely, at night, reading can make you sleepy. Your eyes grow tired of focussing and are forced shut into dreamland. I would advise reading something light and inspirational.
19 Tea Time
Drinking something warm before going to bed is a small gesture with a grand effect. The warmth naturally calms you down. When drinking fresh tea you also have the opportunity of adding some extra herbs to enhance the soothing nature of the beverage.
Natural sleep-inducing herbs are:
- Chamomile > Promotes relaxation and stimulates deep sleep
- Elderflower > Promotes a healthy and natural sleep
- Lemon balm and valerian > Works soothing
Try to just keep it at a cup of tea, and don’t add any sweets, cake or nightcap. Digesting food whilst sleeping can wake you up during the night. Furthermore, alcohol might help you fall asleep but doesn’t promote deep sleep, allowing you to wake up easily and benefit less from the restorative nature of sleep.
Others also liked: 3 Self-Care Tea Remedies
20 Positive Affirmations
Nomadsoulzz’ tribe knows positive affirmations make me happy. The practice of positive affirmations works wonders for those with pure commitment. On the website, you can find quite some elaborate posts about the subject such as:
- Everything You Need To Know About Positive Affirmations. A great post to start if you would like some more insight into the what and how.
- 31 BLASTING Self-Love Affirmations. A loving list of positive affirmations. Some loving examples of positive affirmations for everyday use.
- The 33 best healing affirmations by Affirmation guru Louise Hay.
But, back to business, here some nighttime positive affirmations… Because I love you:
- I release today.
- Now, I enter a place of deep and restful sleep.
- I invite the qualities of good sleep and I’m in harmony with the universe.
- I am filled with a sense of contentment, happiness, and gratitude.
21 Creating a Routine
Creating a healthy and serving routine packed with rituals is not going to be done overnight (pun intended), it requires perseverance, dedication and time. But it’s worth it, and YOU ARE WORTH it.
You are you and when it comes to something as personal as a nighttime routine it’s encouraged to experiment and feel what works for you. Ultimately, creating a totally customized routine and sticking to that is going to be the ritual of all rituals.
Creating a routine that works, is equal to a better version of yourself. Giving your body, mind, and emotions the place and time to unwind, heal and restore. You’ve got it this, make the magic happen!
Is there anything special you do in your bedtime routine that you are willing to share? Or are there any struggles you’re facing? Open the conversation in the comments below and let’s support each other!
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