4 Soothing Practices to Incorporate into Your Nighttime Routine

January 19, 2022

Are you tired? Right now? If so, it’s no wonder, since 35.2 percent of adult Americans sleep less than seven hours a night. However, adults need at least seven or eight hours of sleep every night to maintain optimum health and well-being. It’s no surprise that Americans aren’t sleeping enough: Considering the increasing demands on our time, many rate sleeping as their last priority. Many people are working more hours than ever before, trying to make time for themselves and their families, and squeezing in exercise—all within 24 hours. Our hustle culture and inability to unwind have started to overshadow essential areas of our wellness.

If you’re sleep-deprived, it’s essential to change your habits and help yourself get the sleep you need to function better throughout the day. Not only is poor sleep associated with excessive sleepiness and difficulty concentrating in the daytime, but it is also linked to chronic health concerns, including heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and stroke.

Getting great sleep isn’t as simple as letting yourself sleep in, though. To sleep well consistently, you need to make lasting changes. For example, creating a consistent nighttime routine is an excellent way to improve sleep. If you’re looking for new ways to improve your nighttime routine and create something you’ll look forward to every day, you’ve come to the right place. Here are four ideas for soothing practices that can upgrade your nighttime routine and leave you feeling more refreshed than ever.

Set Yourself Up for Success Tomorrow

How many times have you found yourself lying awake and worrying about everything you need to do the next day? To prevent these thoughts, consider planning out your day the night before. Set your alarm for the same time every day, journal about your day, write a to-do list for the morning, and take care of a few chores. That way, you’ll have fewer things to stress over as you try to drift off to sleep.

Along those lines, preparing for the next day can help you get started in the morning as well. Sometimes, looking ahead at everything you need to do before you leave the house or start the workday—even if it’s small tasks—can be overwhelming. On the other hand, taking 15 to 30 minutes in the evening to prepare for the next day can help you feel relaxed and ready to go.

Pick Up Relaxing Activities

You don’t need to wait until it’s time to sleep to start winding down and relaxing. In fact, filling your evening with a variety of calming activities can help you avoid staying up too late or overstimulating yourself. While there are a number of things you can do to relax, a few ideas include the following:

  • Avoid vigorous exercise a couple of hours before bedtime
  • Practice yoga
  • Meditate
  • Assemble a puzzle
  • Read
  • Draw or color
  • Connect with your partner
  • Listen to calming music
  • Take a hot bath
  • Practice mindfulness while washing your face or brushing your teeth

However you decide to spend your evening, try to avoid using electronics too close to bedtime. The blue light produced by televisions, phones, and laptops can stimulate your brain and prevent your body from producing melatonin. Replacing your evening routine of watching your favorite television shows with reading a good book could do wonders for the quality of your sleep.

Set the Mood with a Calming Environment

Your sleep environment can play a big role in the quality of your sleep, as it can affect your mood and help you prepare to rest. Your sense of sight, smell, touch, and sound can all impact whether your body is relaxed and ready to sleep. For example, aromatherapy is one popular way many people wind down after a long day of work. Calming fragrances like lavender, eucalyptus, and peppermint can help soothe and promote more restful sleep.

Along those lines, soft and clean sheets and bedding paired with a comfortable mattress can also help you get deeper rest. The key is to think of the most comfortable, soothing environment you can be in and create that for yourself. Then, once you’ve set the mood, give yourself some time to enjoy it. Settle in, pick up one of the relaxing activities you’ve set apart for yourself, and stay present! Not only will it help you sleep better, but it could also reduce stress and anxiety.

Enjoy a Relaxing Drink and Snack Lightly

While it’s a good idea to avoid sugar, alcohol, and caffeine before bed, drinking herbal tea or another decaffeinated drink is an excellent way to enjoy some calming time and relax before bed. There are a number of drinks you can sip on to wind down for rest, but the following are a few that may be particularly helpful for relaxation:

  • Cherry juice: Cherry juice has been shown to significantly increase melatonin levels in comparison to a placebo beverage.
  • Ashwagandha tea: Ashwagandha is a medicinal plant that has been used to treat stress, anxiety, and arthritis. It has also shown the potential to help the body wind down and achieve deeper sleep.
  • Warm milk: The benefits of drinking warm milk before bedtime are no myth. That’s because milk contains tryptophan, which naturally increases serotonin levels.

Any tea can serve as a delicious and relaxing pre-bedtime drink. Similarly, it’s possible that simply having a drink every night can signal to your body that it’s time to prepare for sleep.

Enjoying a healthy nighttime snack can also help you sleep if you feel hungry before bed. Some foods could even help make you sleepy, like the following:

  • Pistachios
  • Figs
  • String cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Oatmeal
  • Almonds
  • Cherries
  • Dark chocolate
  • Hummus

Taking the time for yourself to enjoy some of your favorite things, whether it’s a warm and comforting drink or a healthy snack, is a great way to indulge in self-care and settle in for the night.

Attaining deep and restful sleep isn’t easy in today’s overwhelming and busy world. However, taking time for self-care and creating a soothing nighttime routine could be the first steps to a healthier and happier lifestyle. By setting yourself up for success, enjoying relaxing activities, setting the mood, and appreciating a delicious drink or snack before bed, you can upgrade your bedtime routine and get the amazing sleep you need.