Healthy Night Time Routine Checklist for Better Sleep
If you’re like me, the biggest thing that prevents you from a good night’s rest is your mind! Swirling thoughts, crazy ideas, silly what-ifs, and replays of the day’s events all bang around together up there like a ball in a pinball machine, making it really hard to relax and go to sleep.
It’s all apart of our brain trying to process the day and catalogue it away in our memory. But, boy, can it make it difficult to fall asleep on time!
As much as biology plays a part in this, I also think it’s a way the devil tries to get us down and mess with us. Overthinking and racing thoughts are just a couple of the mechanisms the enemy uses to destroy our peace.
And what a better time to do it than when we’re lying in bed!
It’s the perfect place for Satan to sneak in because we’re undistracted. Also, he knows that if we don’t get good rest, then he can more easily put us in a bad mood the next day, steal our joy, and prevent us from being a light in other people’s lives! Creating a grumpy Christian is one of the devil’s favorite hobbies!
So how do we prevent this?
I’ve discovered that creating a relaxing bedtime routine is the key. Taking back our minds and our rest is easier than you think!
Set Your Desired Bedtime
This time is very important because it isn’t the time that you necessarily get into bed, or the time that you start beginning your nightly routine. This is the time that you desire to actually fall asleep.
This is completely unique to you, and really comes down to two factors: (1) What time do you have to wake up in the morning? and (2) How many hours of sleep do you personally need to be well rested?
My desired bedtime is 12:00 am. This is because I try to wake up at 9:00 am everyday, and I personally need around 9 hours of sleep to wake up feeling refreshed.
I know this may seem really late to some people, and that’s okay! I’m a night owl while some are not, and I also don’t have to wake up very early in the morning like others may have to do. Choose the time that fits you! Whether that’s as early as 7:00 pm or as late as midnight, do what’s best for you and your lifestyle.
Create an Alarm for Your Nightly Routine
Besides getting enough rest, the other reason that setting your desired bedtime is so important is because it determines the time that you will begin your night time routine! The routine should begin approximately one hour before you want to be asleep.
So for me, my bedtime routine begins at 11:00 pm.
In order not to get carried away with another episode of Netflix, or playing around with your kids, I suggest setting an alarm on your phone that reminds you it’s time to get ready for bed. This helps keep everything on track, and gets you on your way to a great night’s sleep!
The ‘No Technology’ Rule
My hour-long bedtime routine has a strict ‘no technology’ rule! This means putting away cellphones, laptops, TVs, tablets, etc. No more playing games on your phone, scrolling Instagram, watching Netflix, answering work emails, doing homework, anything that might involve a screen.
This is so, so important due to the blue light our screens admit. This light actually tricks our brains into thinking it’s daytime and throws off our biological clock, making it more difficult to get to sleep.
Plus technology is so addicting, am I right? Have you ever found yourself lying on the couch half asleep, scrolling through social media, knowing you need to get to bed, but for someone reason can’t move? You’re stuck in a technology prison and it's ruining your sleep!
But what about the Night Mode on my phone, you might ask? It’s a great feature that I use as well. I have it set to automatically come on at 9:00 pm every night. However, this can’t be an excuse for continuing to use your smartphone during your nighttime routine.
Just try to let go of your technology an hour before bed, and I promise it’ll be so worth your while!
If you like to take your shower at night, then this is the time to do it! I recommend this being the first thing you do each night when beginning your bedtime routine. There’s nothing like washing the day off!
And if you’re not a nighttime shower person, then make sure you’re at least participating in your skincare routine. I’m a firm believer in skincare routines, not just for the health of your skin, but for how refreshed and comfortable it makes you feel! Who sleeps better when they feel clean? I know I do!
Which leads us to the next step: putting on CLEAN pajamas. Wait, what? People really sleep in dirty PJs? Well… I don’t mean gross, sweaty, week-old clothes!
Sometimes we re-wear our PJs a few nights in a row, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, there’s nothing like pulling out a clean, fresh-smelling, folded pair of pajamas. Trust me, making sure to wear newly-cleaned sleeping clothes each night can really make a difference!
Create a Relaxing Space
Next, we want to just take a quick couple of minutes to create a space that you actually want to relax in! Fold and put away any piles of clothes you have. Un-clutter your desk or vanity. Make sure your bed is made and the blankets are smooth. This may seem a little strange or unrelated to sleep; however, you’d be surprised how much your environment can effect your brain.
If you’re surrounding yourself with a cluttered, messy space then your mind is gonna be the exact same way.
After everything is clean, light a candle or two! Make sure it’s a calming scent. If you prefer essential oils instead, then go ahead and diffuse some lavender or vanilla to turn your room into an oasis of relaxation!
Time to Wind Down
Before hopping into bed, I sometimes like to make myself a cup of hot tea. This is great for those nights you’re not feeling as sleepy as usual and need a little extra help. Drinking a decaffeinated, chamomile-based herbal tea can be an effective and natural way to shift your body (and mind!) into sleep mode.
Not to mention, sipping a warm beverage while cozy in bed can be super relaxing and comforting after a long day of work or school!
While you sip your tea, I recommend reading a book! This is the perfect replacement for the technology-based entertainment we may like to turn to when we’re not quite feeling tired enough to go to sleep yet. Instead of scrolling Facebook or playing a game, pick up that novel or self-improvement book you’ve been meaning to finish!
Another great reading option is to study your Bible! There’s nothing like finishing off the day with God’s Word.
If you’re not into reading, try journaling instead! Write about your day, make a list of the good things that happened, talk about your worries, set goals for tomorrow. Getting everything that’s swirling in your mind out on paper can be an effective way to clear your head and avoid overthinking!
Which leads to our last step in winding down before bed: prayer. At the end of your hourly routine, after you’ve drank all of your tea and turned out the light, send up a prayer of thanks to the Lord. Tell Him about your day and ask for a good night’s rest. Let His peace and comfort wash over you as you drift into slumber!
Getting to sleep can sometimes seem like an impossible task, but with these tips I’m confident you can create a relaxing night time routine to keep the enemy’s attacks on your mind at bay, and improve your quality of rest!
Yours In Christ,