The right night routine will set you up for success.
It also allows you to sleep peacefully like a baby and wake up feeling refreshed.
But you probably don’t know how to properly set one up. But don’t worry since that’s why I’m here to help guide you.
So let’s get started, shall we?
What Is A Night Routine?
A night routine is something that you consistently do before you head to bed.
Anything you do.
You probably have something like this:
- Take a hot shower
- Brush your teeth and get ready for bed
- Check your phone one last time (and set an alarm!)
- Then head to bed.
Or on busy days something like this:
- Keep working until 2:00 AM (and stressing out)
- Feeling exhausted and wants to sleep
- Brush teeth and get ready for bed
- Set an alarm on your phone
- Then head to bed.
And that’s fine if it works for you. But if you are constantly feeling exhausted throughout the day and want to change that…
Then the first step is creating an optimal night routine just for you.
Something that will give you the energy to push through the day and finish all your important tasks.
Something to calm your mind before you head to bed.
Even though everyone may need different night routines, there are certain key elements that everyone must have in order for you to have an optimal night routine.
You need to have:
- The proper mindset in creating one
- Habits that you enjoy and help you
- the perfect sleep environment
Have A Proactive Mindset Rather Than A Reactive Mindset
A proactive mindset is something that you do for yourself and with intention.
Whereas a reactive mindset (just like its name) reacts to your environment.
Some examples of a reactive mindset are:
- Responding to social media
- Surfing the web on youtube
- Doing the laundry that you forgot to do last week.
And all of these activities put you in a situation where the environment controls your actions.
Now what does mindset have to do with creating habits for your nightly routine?
Having the right mindset is the first step to creating the best night routine for you.
It all starts in your head. Only you can tell yourself if you will do these habits and stick with them. And only you can tell yourself not to be bothered by distractions when setting up your routine.
A lot of pressure? Yeah. But don’t sweat if you can’t get it perfect for a while. Even the best people (ie. Benjamin Franklin) struggled to perfectly follow his nightly routine.
So now that you know that only you can control yourself, the first step you can physically take is to schedule and prioritize your night routine onto your Google calendar.
And you want to follow it at the exact same time every day.
What this does for you is:
- You train up your discipline muscles (your brain needs a workout)
- It’s the foundation in creating a night routine.
It’s going to be tough because your body hates new habits. But if you SKIP ONE DAY, then you will make it exponentially harder the next day for you to actually follow your night routine.
How Do We Create Habits For Our Night Routine?
Habits are the foundation of any night routine!
And you want to make sure you build the right habits (and not make you lay around the bed for 1 hour wondering about life.)
Let me show you a quick version of how to create habits.
So when you create a habit you go through these steps:
- A Cue
- A Routine
- And A Reward.
And this mechanism is what has shaped your habits today. Pretty cool huh?
The challenging part though is when you are trying to change or add a new habit (starting a new diet, going to the gym, etc.)
So this means we need to slowly transition our body into the night routine that is as easy as possible.
Now our cue is the specific time that I recommended you set on your calendar.
The routine is the habits that you want to have to maximize your sleep and productivity.
And your reward can be anything that you enjoy (just don’t make it something like checking social media.)
For example, it could be:
- Scheduling a Massage on Sunday
- Going out to a restaurant
- Feeling good for actually following through your habits today
Here Are Two Ways To Set Up An Effective Habit Strategy
You want your new habits to be as easy as possible to complete.
This means instead of setting a goal of meditating for 30 minutes every day for 30 days, I say you start with only 1 minute for 30 days.
Why? It lets you
- Have an easy win
- Builds up your habit faster
- Doesn’t take too much effort
Cause one day (and it will come) when your insatiable demons will whisper sweet, sweet words telling you to skip a day.
And it’s easier to resist that temptation when you only have to sacrifice one minute!
I know It’s a pain and it feels like it is going to take forever, but just stick with it.
So here are the two strategies
Old School Way Of Building Habits
This one is straightforward. You pick only one habit you want to have (ie. meditating) and start with 1 minute. And once you start getting used to it then you start increasing the duration.
- Easy to focus on one habit at a time
- Takes less time
- This habit will solidify even further after a couple of months when you add a new habit on top of it
- If you fail it is a lot easier to start again
- It’s only one habit at a time
Ant’s Habit Stacking Technique
This is the one I personally used.
Let’s say you want to have multiple habits (ie. Journaling, Meditating, Planning Your Day.)
It is a lot harder and will feel clunky at first but you basically stack multiple habits at the same time:
- Planning Your Day
You do get a lot more habits done faster this way, but if you skip one day you fall A LOT harder.
- You train yourself a routine what you are planning on doing
- You do multiple habits at once
- If you fail to do one thing it makes it extremely hard to get back into the routine
- Takes more time
- The habits will take longer to solidify
- If you do them out of order it doesn’t work as effectively
Tip: Don’t do Ant’s Habit Stacking Technique and go full gung ho doing one-hour night routines.
You will literally burn yourself out. This is because nighttime is when you have the least amount of willpower.
But if you continue to try it out (like I did), then you are not going to enjoy it at one point and lose all motivation and most likely stop.
Plan Out Your Ideal Night Routine
You probably have some ideas on how you should structure your night routine.
But it is incredibly important to try it out and make sure to track and monitor your progress.
Maybe ask yourself some questions like:
- Was I able to accomplish it today?
- If not, why did I fail?
- Was I too tired or not motivated?
- Am I doing too many habits at once?
- Do I really want to do this habit?
If you don’t track what you do, you will forget what happens and won’t be able to see your progress.
Mandatory Productive Habits For Your Night Routine
These are habits I believe everyone should practice.
So if you don’t know where to start I would start here.
Have a consistent sleep time schedule.
This is what I would prioritize first if you want to have an actual night routine.
I know it’s good for you. You know it’s good for you. And sometimes you don’t do it because you procrastinated on your work or you just don’t feel sleepy. I’d say make this priority #1.
Limit Your Electronics Before Going To Bed
It’s pretty terrible for your sleep schedule but we use our phones anyways.
I don’t think you enjoy laying in bed for 30 minutes when your mind goes into overdrive thinking about the philosophy of life itself.
And then you wake up tired the next day.
I know it’s freaking hard. But reducing your blue light before you go to sleep will help you tremendously.
If you can’t limit it, then consider using Flux (or Nightshift on Mac) to reduce the amount of blue light that you see.
Review And Plan For The Next Day
This quiets your “monkey mind” and stops you from contemplating on the universe.
What you want to do is create a priority list of what needs to get done for the next day.
Recommended Productive Habits
These are the habits that will help you a lot but I wouldn’t say it’s for everyone. So pick and choose the ones you like and start trying them out.
Everyone knows meditation is incredibly healthy for you.
Some benefits that will help you specifically for sleeping better are:
- Decreasing your stress
- Having a clear mind
- Decreasing your anxiety
- Increasing your melatonin
This is the ultimate pre-sleeping routine.
This is just sleeping while sitting up straight. Of course, you’re not fully asleep but it’s the closest we can get without actually sleeping.
Give it a try. I’m sure you would enjoy it.
This one is also great for relaxing your mind.
It is also a good exercise to reflect on your day and what you actually did cause let’s be real. Do you remember what you had for lunch last week on Monday? I know I wouldn’t unless I wrote it down.
It’s just a nice touch to add to your life.
If you aren’t sure what to write you can start with just writing whatever comes to your mind. Literally anything.
- Netflix shows
- Business opportunities
- What you are going to do tomorrow
- How you are pissed off at someone today
When you have a relaxed mind, it’s easier to fall asleep.
You can also write:
- 3 things you are grateful for
- What you did today
- What you can improve
- What you plan on doing tomorrow
Anything you want. Anything that you dream about. Just anything.
Drink Sleeping Tea
I personally use Tim Ferriss’s method where he combines apple cider vinegar, sleeping tea and honey and makes your eyes droopy.
But any regular sleeping tea works.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of the most common ones.
- Better sleep quality
- Less likely to wake up during the middle of the night
- Reduces inflammation
Pick your favorite one. Or the one that smells great. Whichever you want.
Take A Hot (or Cold) Shower
Many of you already do this but taking a hot shower helps you relax.
Stepping out of the shower will then drop your body temperature making it easier to fall asleep.
Pro tip: if you need to fall asleep immediately then take a freezing cold shower for a couple of minutes. It’s going to be pretty unpleasant but after your mini ordeal, you will be shivering in your inviting and comfy blanket and knocking out immediately.
Prepare Clothes for the next day
This one does not improve your sleep but reduces your stress when you wake up in the morning.
It’s A LOT better to take 10 minutes of your night to pack your stuff than to take 15 minutes feeling stressed finding a clean pair of jeans.
Affirm Your Goals
Reviewing your goals is also another technique many success books teach you to do.
Your subconscious brain works on your goals to help you “guide” you towards the action you are supposed to take.
That explanation sounds a little “woo-woo” but it is also important from a regular standpoint to focus on your goals to see how you are progressing towards them.
Brush Your Teeth
And floss. You want those shiny white pearls don’t cha?
Do Something You Enjoy
Doing something you enjoy that isn’t intense will help you relax.
You can do:
- Listen to Music
- Clean the house
- Watch Tedtalks
- Any hobby you have
- Tetris (Apparently playing tetris helps you fall asleep faster)
Read A Book
Apparently reading fiction for 6 minutes makes you sleepier.
I don’t know if that’s true but I personally feel sleepier when I start reading fiction books compared to nonfiction books.
Set Family Time
Set some time to spend time with your kids reading stories or just playing with them.
Taking walks will reduce your stress levels. And less stress means better sleep.
Stretching out your muscles before sleeping also makes you more drowsy (probably not during though.)
I personally use the lacrosse ball or the rumble roller and just roll out on my back.
Habits You Should Not Do Before Going To Bed
I think you know that alcohol will make you feel relaxed but will destroy your sleep quality.
Enough said. Drink at your own discretion.
Social Media/ Electronics
Blue light makes it harder for you to fall asleep because your brain thinks you are awake.
Have Negative Thoughts
It’s also not healthy to have negative thoughts right before you head to sleep. You are doing the opposite of being relaxed and being stressed will make your mind more anxious.
So avoid this if you can.
A Quick Dirty Guide To Creating The Perfect Sleep Environment
You want it completely pitch black just like a cave.
This will increase your melatonin levels making you reach deep sleep faster.
Experiment to see if you want to have a little leak for sunlight to peak through so your body actually knows when to wake up.
Complete silence or white noise
You can use a fan or have complete silence if you live in a quiet neighborhood. But loud banging noises or traffic will ruins your sleep.
Reduce Electronics Before Going To Bed
Stop scrolling through your FB feed.
Sleep in a cold environment
The perfect temperature to sleep is around 65-69 degrees Fahrenheit. Experiment what you like.
Have A Proper Sleeping Schedule
I’m mentioning this again because it is that important.
Eat something before you knock out.
Now you see people saying you shouldn’t eat anything right before your bed because your stomach will process it and will take away from your sleep quality.
And that definitely works for some people.
But another reason why you feel crappy in the morning is that you are completely dehydrated and your sugar glucose is down so you might want to consider having a healthy snack before going to bed.
My Night Routine
So if you guys were curious this is my personal routine:
- Reading some fiction books (currently reading Travis Mcgee)
- Drink the sleeping tea concoction
- Journal for 5 minutes
- Affirm goals I have written on some index cards
- Meditate for a couple of minutes
- Brush teeth and get ready for bed
- Optional: Hot/Cold Shower.
Takes around ~20-30 minutes.
If for some reason I don’t have 30 minutes because of life then I can do this in ~5 minutes.
Famous People’s Night Routines
- Tea concoction
- Reads Fiction
- Drinks water and relaxes in a hot tub
- Removes electronics from her room
- Takes a hot bath with Epsom salt
- Writes down what she is grateful for
- Wakes up naturally after 8 hours
- Put things in their place
- Hobbies (Music, Diversion, Conversation)
Apparently, he sucked at following his night routine so don’t put too much pressure on yourself if you have trouble sticking with it.
You should have his mindset where he was gradually improving on following his routine instead.
Brian Dean (CEO of Backlinko)
- Don’t do any work 2 hours before bed
- Read Fiction book
Frequently Asked Questions
I don’t have a Google Calendar. What should I use?
Neither do I! I actually use Fantastical on Mac.
Anyways… just find something that works for you where you actually put down a specific time to follow through.
How can I follow my night routine if I’m traveling or going on vacation?
Most of the habits I listed above can actually be done practically anywhere. But if you have certain habits that you can’t physically do without being home like walking your dog, then either find a replacement or just don’t do it!
But if you are worried about not having enough time, then you can do what I do and shorten all your habits to 1 minute. You won’t get the full benefits but you maintain the habit of sticking to a night routine.
And that’s how you go on creating the perfect night routine for you. Pick some on this list and start creating the life you want!
Let me know in the comments what your personal night routines are.