Believe it or not, a routine for a good night’s sleep should start hours before your head finally hits your pillow at the end of the day. Keep reading to hear my precise routine for better sleep.
If there’s one thing that I know about myself, it’s that I don’t do well without quality, consistent sleep. Thankfully, Landon is now at an age where he is sleeping well throughout the night, and I find myself enjoying (and appreciating) my sleep more than ever before. And, thanks to my consistent nighttime routine, my sleep has never been better, truly.
Within seconds of my head hitting the pillow, I’m out like a light. Ideally, I don’t wake at all through the night, but, there are times I’ll wake up once around 2:30 or 3 AM and quickly (fingers crossed) fall back asleep.
Don’t get me wrong; I wasn’t always a good sleeper. In fact, due to chronic stress, I used to pop ZZZQuil nightly back in New York City to help me sleep. Without it, I would toss and turn all night long, and if I were up for too long in the middle of the night, my mind would start churning out to-do lists and drafting out email responses.
Occasionally I’ll end up back in my old cycle of poor sleep habits, but I’ve finally learned how to overcome poor sleep and improve my nighttime routine for good. I’m sharing more of my tips on how to do just that below.
Also, over the past year, while examining my white privilege, I’ve come to learn what a privilege it is to have an environment and lifestyle that’s supportive of a good night’s rest. While we’re all entitled to quality sleep, I know that it’s more accessible for some than others, and it’s time for that to change.
My tips for creating a nighttime routine for better sleep
Before I share my sleep tips and nighttime routine with you, keep in mind that it can take a few nights or weeks to see an improvement in your sleep. Your body has to unlearn and acclimate to your new sleep routine, so do your best to stick with it.
Be patient and try not to get too frustrated if you don’t see instant results; it’s worth it.
Also, really try to stick with each of the below tips for better sleep. For example, you can’t wear blue light glasses but then stay up watching TV until 1 AM in a pitch-black room and wonder why you can’t sleep. Just sayin’. Your sleep routine will see the greatest payoff if you follow the helpful tips below.
1. Disconnect an hour before bedtime
Setting boundaries with your phone is critical to help get a better night’s rest. Texts, social media notifications, emails, and even phone calls are disruptive to your brain’s natural wind-down process and can hinder your ability to sleep well.
Pro tip: If you have an iPhone, open the Health app and click ‘Sleep’ to customize sleep and bedtime routines. This will turn off push notifications and silence incoming calls for a certain window before your set bedtime.
2. Wear blue light blocking glasses
While they may seem like a trend, blue light blocking glasses are scientifically-proven to improve sleep. These glasses help block the harmful blue light that can cause melatonin to stop being produced.
I try to wear my blue light blocking glasses starting around dinnertime. This includes while watching TV, checking my phone, or even reading on my iPad. These are the blue light glasses I wear with over 50,000 reviews.
On top of blue light glasses, I suggest switching your electronics to automatic “night shift” mode from sundown to sunrise. This night shift will swap out harsh blue lights for warmer yellow lights.
3. Create a conducive sleep environment
Set the temperature in your room somewhere between 65-68 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal sleep. Also, ensure that you block out as much exterior light as possible to make your room extra dark.
Pro tip: install blackout curtains or shades to darken your room even more. We purchased these blackout liners for Landon’s nursery because they pair with any existing curtain for a quick and easy blackout option.
4. Avoid screens in the bedroom
I know that no one wants to hear this, but having a TV in your bedroom is one of the worst things you can do when improving your sleep. If you’re up for it, remove your TV from your space completely, but if anything, avoid watching it before bedtime, especially while in your bed (yes, even if you’re wearing blue light glasses).
Also, if you can, sleep with your phone in the bathroom or another room. Not only will this help distance you from your emails and texts, but it will also help you avoid the late-night and early-morning phone scrolling that helps absolutely no one.
5. Make your bed extra cozy
This might sound crazy, but I know that our bed set-up is partially responsible for how well my husband and I sleep. Between our mattress, our investment-worthy sheets that stay cool year-round, and a pillow that finally doesn’t hurt my neck as a side sleeper, it’s hard for me to sleep anywhere else.
My bed must-haves:
- A comfortable and supportive mattress
- Percale cotton sheets that get softer and cozier with age
- A fluffy comforter that doesn’t bunch
- A supportive pillow that maintains its shape
- A spritz of The Functional Fragrance on sheets and pillows
But, particulars aside, it’s critical to have a bed that you’re comfortable in and that can look different for everyone. How the heck do you expect to sleep well if your mattress hurts your hips and your pillow leaves you with kinks in your neck?
It’s worth investing in a bed set-up that encourages sleep, not makes you fight it or feel stressed out every time you climb in for the night.
Also, part of my simple morning routine is making my bed, and that’s because climbing into a cozy, well-made bed is an important part of my bedtime routine.
6. Try sleep-encouraging supplements
I reach for two sleep-supporting herbal supplements daily to help support my body’s natural sleep cycles and encourage a better night’s sleep. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, make sure to check with your doctor before trying any new herbal remedies or supplements, as always.
This organic and family-farm grown CBD oil is my go-to for helping my mind wind down at night. I take CBD with my nightly tea an hour or two before bedtime. Soul Addict offers different doses depending on how many milligrams you’d like, but I opt for the lowest dose of 350 mg.
If you’re unsure where to begin choosing the right CBD for you, check out their handy dosing guide.
You can save 20% on your Soul Addict order with code SA_CARLEY20 at checkout. Shop now.
For full transparency, Welleum sent me my first bottle of Lunawell to try free of charge. I wasn’t sure what to expect, as I’d never tried an herbal Chinese tincture before, but I was open to giving it a whirl. I took my dose as I was climbing into bed and waited.
My friends, I was completely blown away. My sleep felt deeper and I tossed and turned less than usual. I had more intense dreams and woke up feeling well-rested without being drowsy. It’s safe to say that Lunawell has become a regular on my nightstand. Just make sure to shake it well before use, and yes, you do eventually get used to the taste. I wash it down with water after taking it.
Pro tip: for liquid tinctures, administer underneath your tongue and hold for thirty seconds before swallowing. This technique helps increase absorption and encourages the supplement to enter your bloodstream more quickly.
In addition two the two supplements listed above, here are some other natural remedies proven to help sleep:
- Pure lavender oil
- This calming essential oil blend
- Pure chamomile oil
7. Actively manage daily stress
When my sleep quality starts to slip, and I become restless in the middle of the night, I now know that I have to improve my stress management during the day. Unfortunately, decoding the sleep and stress cycle is like determining whether the chicken or the egg came first.
When the body is short on sleep, you’ll begin to produce more of the stress hormone cortisol during the day. This frenzied state then can make it more difficult to sleep at night, and the cycle continues. You can become stressed about not sleeping, and then that stressing about stress will only keep you up at night longer.
So, what can you do? For me, as I mentioned above, I must manage my stress proactively throughout the day.
Stress management could look like:
- Asking for help or support when needed
- Writing a ‘to-do tomorrow’ list at the end of the workday
- Mentally evaluating what’s working and not working
- Setting active boundaries around my accessibility
- Turning off my phone and email at 8:30 every night
- Speaking with a therapist weekly
- Going for a walk outside daily (no matter the weather!)
- Cutting out intense workouts before bedtime
My sleep-supportive bedtime routine
Okay, aside from all of the tips for better sleep shared above, here’s my actual nighttime routine. It may seem like a lot when listed out, but I promise you it doesn’t take long. The truth is, my bedtime routine is comprised of small moments throughout the evening that encourages a quality night of sleep.
1. Make my bed in the morning
2. Get outside to help reset my circadian rhythm
3. Wear blue light blocking glasses starting at dinnertime
4. Set my phone to automatically shift to night-mode at sundown
5. Set my phone to automatically shift to sleep-mode 45 minutes before bedtime
6. Drink a mug of caffeine-free herbal Sleep tea with or without CBD oil
7. Head up to our bedroom and dim the lights to the lowest setting
8. Avoid using any screens in the bedroom (this means no watching TV in bed!)
9. Straighten up the bedroom for five minutes
10. Change into soft and cozy pajamas
11. Brush my teeth and do my skincare routine
12. Put in my mouthguard and climb into bed
13. Take my Lunawell herbal tincture
14. Write a memory in Landon’s daily journal
15. Light’s out for the night
On top of the nighttime routine listed above, I also do the following:
- Avoid caffeine after noon each day
- Cut out intense workouts at night (and, like, always)
- Limit nightly alcohol and sugar intake
- Try do to enough physical activity throughout the day (not hard with a toddler)
Final thoughts on your nighttime routine
Ideally, the goal is to find a nighttime routine for better sleep that helps you feel more relaxed and calm. If reading my nighttime routine stresses you out, permit yourself to try it a different way. Or, perhaps start small with a few key changes to your current routine and go from there to find what works best.
Your nighttime routine should be sustainable and supportive, not stressful and unrealistic. Find what’s accessible and realistic for you.
That being said, I do encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and try something new to improve your sleep. It might take a few nights to get used to your new routine, but your sleep is worth it. And remember, as with any long-term lifestyle change, consistency is key.