14 Evening Routine Ideas to Relax Before Bed

An evening routine gives you something to look forward to at the end of the day to wind down, release stress, relax before bed, and prepare your body for a restful night’s sleep. When we sleep better we feel better overall. It can be easy to feel that we have to create this elaborate evening routine, but really it can be something as simple as putting your phone away and lighting your favorite candle so you can relax before bed. Here are 14 evening routine ideas to relax before bed. What is one thing you can implement tonight? Remember: it’s the small changes that add up over time for biggest results.

1. Turn Off Electronics

One evening routine idea is to turn off electronics. The blue light from electronics can alter the body's circadian rhythm tricking you into thinking it's daytime. This affects your melatonin production - your sleep hormone. We're also on information overload from our day, emails, marketing messaging, etc. Give your brain a break and put away electronics at least one hour before bed so that you can relax before bed, not feel wired.

2. Turn Down the Lights

Another evening routine idea is to turn down the lights. Aim to dim your lighting at least an hour before bed, if not longer. Low light signals to your body to begin producing melatonin, your sleep hormone, so your body can start winding down. Avoid bright overhead lights. Lamps are great for dim mood lighting or use the dimmer switch if you have one. Lighting candles is another great low light option so you can relax before bed.

3. Take a Bath with Epsom Salts

Baths are a great way to relax before bed and melt away stress from the day. Epsom salts are actually magnesium salts (not sodium salt like we use for food). Magnesium helps to relax muscles. If you are tense from the day then this is a great way to unwind. In as little as 15 minutes you'll get all the relaxing benefits and is a great evening routine idea!

4. Take a Hot Shower with Essential Oils

If baths aren't your thing or you don't have a bath tub, a hot shower works just as well as another evening routine idea. Make this time relaxing and enjoyable. Use your favorite soaps and skincare products. You can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the floor of the shower to have the scent steam and diffuse during your shower. Let the hot water relax any tension from the day so you can relax before bed.

5. Set the Mood

Set up your space in a way that is relaxing and enjoyable to you. That can mean lighting candles, playing your favorite music, having a cup of herbal tea, diffusing essential oils, reading a good book, or watching an episode of your favorite show. Make this a ritual that you look forward to at the end of your night to wind down from your day.

6. Establish a Nighttime Skincare Routine

Another evening routine idea is to establish a nighttime skincare routine. It's important to wash off makeup or simply cleanse your skin at the end of the day. This can include removing makeup, cleansing the skin with a gentle cleanser, using a toner, and nighttime moisturizer or face oil. You can also add in a weekly face mask to exfoliate dead skin + leave your skin fresh and smooth. My favorite products are Osmia Organics - the scents are soothing and help me relax before bed.

7. Drink a Cup of Herbal Tea

Drinking a cup of herbal tea is another great evening routine idea. Caffeine-free herbal teas are a great way to unwind at the end of the day. Try chamomile, lavender, holy basil, lemon balm, or passion flower. These teas can help to relax the body and make you sleepy so you're ready for bed. Some may even help to reduce stress and anxiety that can interfere with falling asleep.

8. Do Gentle Yoga or Stretching

Try doing gentle yoga or stretching as another evening routine idea. Gentle yoga and stretching are great ways to relieve stress and tension at the end of a long day, especially if you're sitting at your desk for most of it. Try adding deep breathing to your stretching routine. This will get your body ready for a restful night sleep + improve your overall quality of sleep. Yin or restorative yoga are great options to relax before bed. Try a 20-minute video on YouTube or Glo.

9. Meditate

Meditation is a great evening routine idea. Even a short 3-5 minute meditation is a great way to clear out any stuck energy from the day. Meditation allows your brain to calm down and enter a state where theta waves are predominant. When we are awake and alert our brain has beta waves. Alpha waves bridge beta to theta. Theta waves are where we experience deep relaxation. Try the app Insight Timer. There are some great meditations for sleep that can help you to relax before bed.

10. Practice Deep Breathing

Another evening routine idea is to practice deep breathing. We may not even be aware of how shallow our breathing can get throughout the day, especially if we are tense, stressed, and running around. Deep belly breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system - think the opposite of fight-or-flight. Breathe in for a count of 5 filling up your lungs, breathing into your belly, chest rising, and out for a count of 5. Repeat and notice how your body feels. This is a great way to relax before bed.

11. Read a Book

Reading a book is another evening routine idea. Read a chapter of a good book before bed. This helps shift your mind away from anything that came up during the day and gives you some time to yourself to just be. If you're not a big reader then try getting an inspirational book or book of poems or quotes and each night before bed flip to a random page and read the message that's there for you.

12. Set Boundaries around Evening Activities

This is an important evening routine idea. When we learn we don't have to say yes to every single thing that comes along it is so freeing. We don't have to, nor should we, have to do it all. We're already doing enough. Figure out what you need and what will work in your schedule and practice saying no when something doesn't align. This is such an important part of radical self care.

13. Journal and Reflect on the Day

A great evening routine idea to end the day is to journal and reflect. This doesn't have to be long or elaborate. Get a notebook and jot down either: a few things that happened during the day, two things that went well, two things that could improve tomorrow, do a brain dump of worries circulating your head, a high, a low, and a hope for tomorrow, or three things you’re grateful for. It's great to set a tone of gratitude before falling asleep.

14. Draw Cards from a Card Deck

A final evening routine idea is to draw cards from a card deck. I love card decks and the messages they contain. A fun thing to do before bed is to draw a card and see what message it has for you. You can ask the deck a question about something going on, for guidance, or the meaning of a particular situation. Doreen Virtue has great decks that are available on Amazon!

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