bedtime routine ideas

7 bedtime routine ideas to help you get an amazing sleep

Did you know that 1 in 3 adults get inadequate sleep? It could be that their night routine is not effective enough.

The CDC shares that statistic, and says that it could lead to numerous health conditions. Are you one of the 1 in 3? Chances are that many people reading this identify that way. So what can you do?

It’s more important than ever to get a good night’s sleep. With all the chaos in the world, one of the things you can still control is your night time routine. We can take proactive steps to get a better night’s sleep, which can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.

I personally have suffered from some form of sleep issues for the past 20 years or so. I’ve dealt with insomnia, restless leg syndrome at night, tossing and turning, snoring, anxiety… you name it.

So, I know what it feels like to drag yourself through your day, like you’re swimming in molasses. I’ve been there.

I still struggle with it at times, but I have found things that help me get more shut eye. In this post, I’m going to talk about why a proper bedtime routine is so important, and share some night routine ideas you can try today.

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Also, I am not a doctor or mental health professional. Just someone who has lived with depression, chronic fatigue, and anxiety for many years who is passionate about sharing her experiences and tips for success. If you are in crisis call your doctor, then click here for some good mental health resources.

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Why is a proper bedtime routine so important?

We always see people recommend creating a proper bedtime routine. But why? Why does it matter so much?

According to the CDC: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests adults need at least seven hours of sleep a night. Consistently failing to meet that goal can result in an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and memory loss. According to the National Institutes of Health, poor sleep can also increase the risk of slowed reaction times, irritability, anxiety, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes.”

I know we’ve all felt that way from time to time. I definitely have.

  • A little forgetful because you’re tired
  • Cranky when you wake up
  • More anxious than usual
  • Falling into poor eating habits

These things can lead to a lifetime of poor health and unhappiness. That is why it’s vital to create a bedtime routine that relaxes you into proper sleep.

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Shelly is a busy millennial. She works at an financial company 50 hours a week, and is now forced to work from home due to the pandemic. Her life is totally thrown out of whack because her child’s daycare is closed. So, she has to mom and work at the same time.

She is so stressed she can barely function. At the end of a life, Shelly drops into bed with a huff, checks her Instagram, and spends an hour or more trying to fall asleep.

This situation is common for so many, but luckily, there are things you can do. Keep reading to find out 7 simple ways to fall asleep and stay asleep longer.

One thing to keep in mind

One thing that has regularly affected my sleep are my anti-depressants. All psychiatric medications have known side effects, and some have been shown to disrupt sleep patterns. Here is a list that I found. This might be something to consider if you already take medication for depression or anxiety and still don’t feel rested.

  • Lexapro
  • Zoloft
  • Cymbalta
  • Paxil

7 night routine ideas you can try today

Pick one of these ideas to try and start there! If it doesn’t help you can always try another one. Remember, these are tools for self care, and self care is not one size fits all. Try one, two, or all of them. Whatever works to help you get the best sleep possible.

Get regular exercise

Exercising on a regular basis can help you get a better sleep, according to Charlene Gamaldo, MD, who is the Medical Director at Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep. “The good news: People who engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise may see a difference in sleep quality that same night. ‘It’s generally not going to take months or years to see a benefit,’ says Gamaldo. ‘And patients don’t need to feel like they have to train for the Boston Marathon to become a better sleeper.'”

So, you don’t have to go too over the top with it. Just 30 minutes on the elliptical a day, or even every other day, can help your sleep patterns immensely.

purple background with white text that says "7 bedtime routine ideas to help you get an amazing sleep," with a black and white picture of a woman stretching after waking up

Ditch caffeine

Not saying you ought to give it up all together, but you should try to avoid drinking any at least a few hours before you plan to go to sleep. It gives you a short term burst of energy that can make it hard to go to sleep. It can also exacerbate anxiety, which affects sleep as well.

Trying switching out your post-work coffee or caffeinated tea for a decaf version, or phasing it out all together. I am a recovering Pepsi addict, and I have found the Bubly sparkling water to be a nice substitute.

Try a guided meditation

There are so many options for this on Youtube, that you are bound to find one that is helpful. Guided meditation is a relaxing way to fall asleep faster without needing to be a pro at meditation. The beauty is, you don’t need to know how to do it. Just follow the instructions on the video and try to unwind.

If you think you are too stressed to remember to meditate, do what I do for just about everything these days: Set a reminder on my phone. Most phone come with this function built in, some kind of customizable alarm you can set to remind yourself to do something.

Listen to soothing music

One thing I like to do, which you can also find on Youtube is to find videos of relaxing music. All you have to do is close your eyes, take a deep breath, and try to shut off your mind.

I know that’s hard. Trust me, I’m no stranger to intrusive thoughts from anxiety. Just try to focus on the music, or even the rhythm of your breathing, and allow yourself to be carried off into sleep.

There is a lot research emerging about listening to music with binaural beats as part of your bedtime routine. Expert say it reduces stress, improves cognitive performance, and allows for a better night’s sleep.

Eat foods for a bedtime snack that encourages sleep

There are certain foods you can snack on at bedtime that will encourage your body to fall asleep. Here is a list of ones to start with, according to the article I linked:

  • Almonds
  • Warm milk
  • Kiwi
  • Chamomile tea
  • Walnuts
  • Cherries
  • Fatty fish
  • Barley grass powder
  • Lettuce

Have them for dinner, or work them into some kind of bedtime snack, and see how it affects you!

purple background with white text that says "7 bedtime routine ideas to help you get an amazing sleep," with a black and white picture of a woman sleeping comfortably in bed

Write in a journal

Journaling is one of the best free tools you can use to improve your mental health! (Well, relatively free. You still have to buy a notebook.) But it is a very cost-effective form of therapy, and there are unlimited options on what you can write about.

Not sure where to start? First, buy a journal using the image below! Once you get it, try one of the following prompts:

  • Write down 5 things you are grateful for
  • Think of something that went well today
  • Think of something that could have gone better, and come up with a plan to avoid it next time
  • Write down 3 things you really like about yourself
  • Write a letter to your younger self

Stay off of your phone

It's natural to lie in bed and scroll social media or go on TikTok until you feel sleepy. But the truth this, this might be making matters worse. Studies show that higher levels of screen times correlate with higher levels of anxiety. Share on twitter

Why? My guess is that since all you see these days is awful news headlines and political tension, no wonder it makes you anxious. You also see posts filled with pictures of people “who have it all.” Even though we should know that most of what we see on social media is not the complete picture, and just a snippet of a person’s life.

So, make it a habit to spend an hour before bed screen-free. Maybe pick up a book or your journal instead, or take a relaxing bath.

Get a better night time routine ASAP

You don’t have to try every single one of these tips tonight if you can’t manage that. After all, building a healthy bedtime routine is a marathon, not a sprint. You won’t just wake up after one night of trying and have all your problems cured.

You can pick one to start with and try that for a week or so. If it helps a little, maybe pick another activity from the list to add. If it doesn’t help at all, swap it out for something different. These things take time, and a lot of patience.

But I promise, it is possible to feel rested and happy.

Do you struggle with sleep? What’s your bedtime routine like? Let me know in the comments + make sure to share this post on social media using the buttons at the top of the page.

Don’t let your nightly routine keep you from getting the sleep you deserve!

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Related posts for sleep habits:

7 types of rest- Which one do you need to help you feel more emotionally well?

11 stress management techniques that will save your sanity

Anxiety and sleep: 7 tips to feel more rested when you’re anxious

How to cope with anxiety using 10 relaxing affirmations

52 thoughts on “7 bedtime routine ideas to help you get an amazing sleep”

    1. I like that at bedtime two. I like the binaural music, or whatever it’s called. It knocks me right out! Thanks for reading!

  1. I often find that I sleep better after doing exercises. Sometimes I would also do breathing exercise before sleeping. Iโ€™ll have to try some of those food on your list!

  2. The list of foods is really interesting – I hadn’t heard of that! Sleep is such a critical aspect of health that often gets downplayed. Great post!

    1. Our daughter starts virtual kindergarten in a few weeks, so I want to make sure we’re all rested too. Thanks for reading!

  3. BB says the #1 sleep robber is the cellphone/tablet. This is especially true if you play games on it. Has anyone else noticed how they tend to give out “unlimited plays” a lot more after 10 pm?

    1. I have noticed that I think but never really thought about it until you brought it up! I stopped playing games as much at night, and try to just plug my phone in and not touch it. Thanks for reading!

    1. Writing is such a powerful tool, and physical activity helps with so much. Keep it up, and thanks for reading!

  4. Hi Jen. Interesting stuff. I guess I’m fortunate in that I never have trouble sleeping – fall asleep almost instantly and then sleep through until morning (although for some reason I often wake up about 5 minutes before the alarm goes off!). I’ll certainly pass the tips on to others though.

  5. I think these are all wonderful ideas. I believe that doing some exercise is one of the best ones too. I think that can really help.

  6. I am all about routines, especially for bed. I do admit I am bad about looking at my phone until right when I go to sleep and have noticed it takes me a few extra minutes to fall asleep.

    1. Especially right now, everything is so darn troubling! I started just plugging mine in and putting it away, and it’s like the plugging it in is like a symbolic signal that I’m done with it. It definitely helps. Thanks for reading!

  7. Pam Wattenbarger

    I just started writing in a journal last week and it really has helped me fall asleep easier. Just getting those thoughts out.

    1. I haven’t been super diligent about it lately, and need to be! It really does help. Glad you found that to be true for you. Thanks for reading!

  8. I just feel like I havenโ€™t slept a full night in years but this article reminded me that those years coincide with phone use and not journaling before bed. Good tips, thank you!

    1. I read last night instead of watched TV, and I think I slept slightly better. Something about the screen! Hopefully you get a good night’s sleep soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. These are great tips! I’ve finally gotten my morning routine happening consistently. I’m now struggling to get a bedtime routine.
    I’d love to make journaling, yoga, and meditation apart of it. I tend to fall asleep watching TV more than I’d like to. Great tips and great suggestions for a bedtime routine! I had no idea that some of those foods encourage our body to fall asleep. that was interesting to learn!

    1. Glad you found it so helpful! I like watching TV until I’m JUST about to fall asleep, even though it’s probably not the best habit LOL. Thanks for reading!

  10. Hi Jen,
    These are great bedtime routine ideas. We are all guilty of scrolling through social media apps before dozing off so I appreciate your tip to stay off the phones. I find the sleep apps work well at calculating how long you are sleeping for.

    1. Yes, that is another great tip! That way you can get an idea of how much you’re actually getting. Thanks for the suggestion and for reading!

  11. I don’t have an issue getting to sleep, but I always wake up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and then can’t get back to sleep for hours.

    1. That’s what my medication is doing to me lately! Time for a change here. Hang in there and thanks for reading!

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