Having trouble getting to sleep at a good time—or not getting enough good-quality sleep? Whether you toss and turn, can’t seem to wind down for bed, or feel tired all throughout the day, having a good bedtime routine can make all the difference.
This article will cover some of the best bedtime routine ideas—from calming activities to sleep supplements—for the deeper, better sleep your body and mind need to be healthy and functional.
Why Have a Bedtime Routine?
Creating a bedtime routine might seem like one more thing to worry about, but really, it’s all about making things easier for you. If you struggle with getting enough sleep each night or never feel rested enough, it’s likely taking a toll on your mental and physical health—even if you don’t notice it.
Our bodies need good sleep to function correctly. So if you’re not currently getting that, you need something to help. That’s what a bedtime routine can do: help you relax and get ready for true rest.
Here are just a few reasons to create a nighttime routine:
- You can calm your mind and let go of any of the day’s worries keeping you up.
- You’ll create a habit for your mind and body that tells it when it’s time for rest and slumber.
- You’ll become more mindful of what you currently do before bed and how certain activities might contribute to poor sleep.
Now, let’s look at some of the best bedtime routine ideas that you can try as early as tonight.
1. Brain Dump Your Thoughts and Worries
A common reason for poor sleep is an overactive mind. If you have a lot of worries, it can be hard to turn off troublesome thoughts for the evening. So, try “letting them go” on paper.
Research shows writing can benefit your physical and mental health, so grab a cheap journal and spend a few minutes writing about what’s on your mind. It doesn’t have to be well-written or even make sense to anyone else—because you’re the only one who will see it!
This is your chance to get your thoughts or worries onto the page and out of an anxious loop in your head. Just start writing and see what comes up.
P.S. This activity is good for not only preparing for sleep but also freeing up your mind for fresh ideas the next day.
2. Choose a Relaxing Activity You Love
It’s hard to jump right into sleep if you’re not feeling calm and relaxed. So make sure any activities right before bedtime are conducive to the setting.
Think about stuff you like to do that calms you down.
Plus, setting aside this time (ideally at least 30 minutes) ensures your day includes something you enjoy. Many of us are so focused on work or other responsibilities that we spend all day on activities we wouldn’t necessarily choose to do.
But it’s good to have those little things to look forward to!
Here are some ideas, but feel free to do whatever relaxes you the most:
- Read a book (many people fall asleep when trying to read, so use it to your advantage).
- Listen to calming music.
- Watch an episode of your favorite show.
- Write in a journal about what matters most to you in life.
- Take a bath or shower.
- Spend some time calmly talking with your partner or family members about your day or anything else on your mind.
- Talk on the phone with a loved one.
- Do any of these activities with a warm cup of herbal tea or other non-caffeinated drink you enjoy.
Give your mind some time for the enjoyment and rest it deserves away from all the hustle and bustle of the day.
3. Try a Sleep Supplement Like Melatonin
There are all sorts of supplements out there to help you sleep. Finding the right one for you can work wonders, and melatonin is a great place to start.
Melatonin is a natural hormone your body produces to help you fall asleep. For almost three decades, people have been using melatonin as a supplement to reset their internal body clocks and get better sleep.
You can get it in tablet, pill, liquid, and powder forms. But the most efficient way to take melatonin is by inhaling it.
CCL Sleep is a natural inhaled melatonin sleep aid that starts working in just 30 seconds (as opposed to waiting 20-30 minutes for another form to kick in). You can use it anytime you need to feel sleepy and wind down—whether that’s at home, in a hotel, or on a plane. Try it here.
4. Refrain From Work or Electronics Before Bed
This is the hardest one for most people.
Being a workaholic (checking emails, finishing some work here and there, etc), hanging out on social media, or playing any type of electronic games before bed can wreck your sleep in a number of ways:
- It stimulates your brain and messes with your internal body clock, making it hard to wind down, fall asleep, and wake up rested.
- It’s easy to get caught in the flow and before you know it, it’s 1am and you only have a few hours left to sleep.
- They can be addictive, making it hard to turn them off at a decent time—planning to just check something for few minutes can easily turn into hours.
- Working right before bed just causes extra stress and worry, which are the last emotions you want to feel right before sleeping.
At least one hour before bed, stop using all electronics—including your computer, tablet, and smartphone—and stop any work. That includes not scrolling through Facebook or Instagram once you’re in bed.
Try to make the hour before bed your time to not worry, work, or stress. Your mind needs rest just like the rest of your body.
If you have trouble justifying rest time, remember that it’s good for your health and will actually make you less overwhelmed and more productive the next day.
5. Stop Caffeine, Alcohol, and Food at the Right Times
Consider the fact that what you consume during the day could be causing sleep issues. Here are some tips:
- Have your last cup of coffee, energy drink, or any other caffeine energy booster you use during the day at least six hours before you plan to go to bed.
- Avoid alcoholic drinks at least three hours before bedtime. (While alcohol can help you get to sleep faster, it reduces rapid eye movement—REM—sleep, the restorative stage of sleep. Less REM sleep can lead to poor concentration, daytime sleepiness, and poor quality sleep.)
- Try to finish dinner 2-3 hours before bedtime. While some experts say there’s no problem with eating before bed, if you’re someone who struggles with sleep, your body might have trouble resting while it digests. Try it to see if it makes a difference in your sleep quality.
Replace any normal drinks with something alcohol- and caffeine-free, like chamomile tea, and see how much of a difference it can make.
6. Do Some Nighttime Yoga or Meditation
This comes back to soothing your mind and body before bed. Following a specific meditation or gentle yoga routine can help you get into a more calming state of mind.
Look up guided meditations or bedtime yoga flows online (YouTube especially is great for free yoga classes) that you can do right before bed. It might be just what you need to pacify and ground yourself for slumber.
If you’re religious or spiritual, saying a prayer or mantra before bed can help too.
7. Prep the Lights and Temperature for Sleep
Make sure your environment is set up for optimal sleep in the evening.
Most people sleep best when the room is a little cooler, so try turning down the thermostat more as you’re preparing for bed.
The ideal bedroom temperature for sleeping is somewhere between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit, so play around with what works best for you. If this isn’t possible or you live in a really hot climate, maybe invest in a bed fan or mattress pad that helps cool you down.
If you air feels stuffy, you might try opening the windows for a while too.
Consider the lighting, too. At least an hour before bed, turn down the lights in your bedroom to help signal to your body that it’s nighttime and you’re ready for rest.
You might even try speaking quietly and just overall promoting a sense of quiet and calm.
What If You Still Can’t Sleep?
If you try each bedtime routine above and still have trouble falling asleep, remember that it can take time to develop a habit and get your body used to it. Try your new routines for at least a week, then adjust until you find the right bedtime routine for you.
But also, if it’s still taking more than 20-30 for you to fall asleep, it might be that you’re just not ready for sleep yet. Try repeating one of your routines (while always keeping the lights dim) then trying to go back to bed after about 15-20 minutes.
Sometimes good sleep can seem impossible in our crazy busy world, but it’s never out of reach completely. All it takes is a little schedule adjustment to find a routine that works for you. Be patient, be kind to yourself, and know that pursuing better sleep is the ultimate way to make life more manageable.
To supplement your new routine, try CCL Sleep inhaler to help mimize racing thoughts, insomnia, and any other troubles you have falling asleep.