Due to the busy and stressful lives that many of us lead, it can be hard to follow a night time routine when feeling so exhausted. Sometimes there are nights where I’ve had such a busy or tiring day that I want nothing more than to just curl up into bed without having a routine, but this always seems to affect how my morning is the next day. So although this routine isn’t what I do every single night, it’s still super important to do even a few things that I’d consider essential for having a good night’s sleep. In order for my morning routine to work (will link at bottom of the blog), I usually find that I need to have a night time routine before.
There was a point in my life where I actually thought that I had insomnia because there were nights where I couldn’t get to sleep until no earlier than 5am, but I realised that I had been doing literally everything wrong (for example I’d have a cup of English tea, sit on my phone until falling asleep hours later, or even go for a walk!) But then I was later diagnosed with anxiety in 2015 and realised that that was actually why I was struggling to get to sleep. So I often find that this routine greatly helps with relieving me of my anxiety.
- Although showers are said to wake you up, I personally find that going to bed knowing that I’m clean helps me to sleep. I used Lush’s Sleepy Naked Shower Gel so that having a shower doesn’t wake me up too much before bed, and I always shower at the start of my night time routine so that I’m more relaxed by the time I’m ready for bed.
- https://uk.lush.com/products/sleepy-naked-shower-gel – It’s zero waste and comes in the shape of a shower bottle!
- As I said, going to bed knowing that I’m clean really helps relax me for the night. After drying myself once I’ve had a shower, I like to use Lush’s Sleepy body lotion https://uk.lush.com/products/lavender/sleepy. However since it was gifted to me and is a little on the pricey side, I sometimes like to use lavender essential oil mixed with coconut oil instead to make it last a bit longer. I heard of some people using pure lavender essential oil on their pulse points to help them with sleep but my (veeery sensitive) skin didn’t react well to it so I’m not sure if it actually works.
3. Tidying up
- If I feel rather awake from having a shower or if I notice my room is looking rather messy I like to try and tidy it before bed. I find that knowing I’m sleeping in a tidy environment makes me feel less anxious and just more relaxed in general. It also means that when you wake up in the morning in a clean environment you’re generally in a better mood and ready to face the day!
- Also preparing things for the next day (clothes for work, packing a bag etc) will save a lot of time and stress in the morning, and waking up won’t feel like such a chore.
- Speaking of planning, I also like to write a list of stuff I need to get done for the next day so that when I wake up I feel more productive and having structure to my days helps ease my anxiety.
4. Teas/Hot Drinks
- When I couldn’t sleep I used to drink English tea (which I never knew had caffeine, and I always added at least 1-2 teaspoons of sugar!!) or even a hot chocolate! Hot drinks with sugar and/or caffeine in them are good during the day or to relax in the morning or afternoon, but definitely not in the evening or else it’ll be hard to get to sleep because caffeine stays in your system for up to 6 hours. Instead, it’s ideal to have a caffeine-free herbal tea, such as chamomile or herbal teas that contains Valerian or passionflower. I drink either Heath And Heather‘s Organic Soft Sleepy Night Time tea or Twining’s Sleep Tea Blend.
- I’m not sure if this is a Scottish thing or not, but we often like to have a ‘wee nightcap’ before bed (alcohol to help make us sleepy before bed), but even though this can make you drowsy, it’ll only end up giving you a terrible sleep and making you wake up groggy in the morning. I found this was always the case when drinking alcohol before bed, no matter how much water I tried to drink to sober up!
5. Switch off
- Before heading to bed I always try to switch off my phone at least half an hour before heading to bed. I also like to put it somewhere that I can’t access from my bed so that I’m not tempted to go on it if I can’t sleep and so that when I wake up I can get out of bed almost right away.
- I found that trying to stay on my phone until falling asleep didn’t help me sleep at all and did the exact opposite, also increasing my anxiety through seeing upsetting things on social media through scrolling aimlessly (not to mention comparing myself and my life to that of others on Instagram…) It’s just not the best thing to do when trying to fall asleep, instead I like to write a diary/write down thoughts, feelings and ideas or read a book related to spirituality.
- Writing something you’re grateful for is also a great way to go to bed feeling relaxed and is also nice to look back on when having a bad day. It can be quite hard to find inspiration for it though, so sometimes I use this: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/60-things-thankful-for-life.html
- Doing relaxing things without screens/technology/social media is by far the best way to relax before bed. I like to do this when having my herbal tea with some candles and incense on for ultimate relaxation ~
6. Setting The Mood
- When doing my night time routine I always try to make sure that my environment is relaxed. For example, putting on some candles/fairy lights with some incense on is such a relaxing way to drink my tea and write my thoughts down than with the bedroom light turned on.
- I also think that some quiet, calming music helps but it’s important to make sure you can play the music while the internet is switched off and the vocals aren’t too much. I personally like listening to Brian Eno, Roger Eno, Air or Grouper.
So that’s my night time routine that I try to carry out as often as possible so that I go to sleep feeling relaxed with minimal anxiety, and also so that I wake up feeling refreshed and ready to be productive. When I’m unable to do my night time routine, I try my best to just set the scene for a good night’s sleep if I’m not feeling well enough to shower or make a tea, on top of having no sugar/caffeine before bed and no phone.
If anyone reading this has any handy tips about reducing anxiety before bed please let me know! 🙂
Here’s the link to my morning routine: https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/156026599/posts/21