Effective bedtime rituals to help you sleep

What is a bedtime ritual or routine for adults?

A bedtime ritual or routine is a collection of calming activities to help you completely unwind from the day just gone and to prepare you for the day ahead.

How does a bedtime ritual help you sleep?

A bedtime ritual can help you sleep as you go to bed relaxed in the knowledge that everything you need has been laid out for tomorrow, your worries and to-do list has been taken care of, you’re calm and ready to drift off to sleep!

You’re not having to lie awake tossing and turning, wondering where you put your work bag or whether you’ve got something for tomorrows packed lunch as you’ll have all this prepared ahead of time.  Your evenings will be filled with calming activities and low lighting and soft music to help your body start to relax.

bedtime rituals to help you sleep image of blurred woman and clock

Things to include in your bedtime ritual:

Creating a calming environment right from when you come home from work/university/ school etc. Start early.

Timing is everything!

Have dinner early enough on so that you have time to properly digest it before bed. Having a heavy meal just before bed plays havoc with both your digestion and your sleep. Try to avoid excess alcohol, caffeine and tobacco before bed.

Try to have a distinct clocking off time for work/studying

Aim to finish doing work/homework/studying at least 1-2 hours before you go to bed. This gives your brain time to begin to unwind and shift down a gear.

Otherwise you could easily be doing work related, stressful stuff right up to bed which can massively impair your sleep.

bedtime rituals to help you sleep have set bedtime

Have a set bedtime/getting up time

Having a set bedtime/ getting up time can also be very useful. Even at weekends try to go to bed at around the same time and get up at around the same time as weekdays.

Each of us have a different optimum time to go to bed/get up. For me, between 10.30pm and 11pm works well for bedtime and I normally get up between 7am and 7.30 am. Do whatever works for you and your body clock.

Set the scene

Dim the lights, put on soft music and avoid screens for at least 1-2 hours before bed. If you do use a screen, try having it on dark mode in the run up to bed as this will give off less light.

bedtime rituals to help you sleep - get organised for tomorrow. Image of woman who has all the things she needs for tomorrow laid out already

Prepare for tomorrow.

Gather up what you need for tomorrow, including your outfit, your work stuff, any paperwork, documents etc. Have that all ready to go in the hallway so you’re not having to lie awake all night wondering where you’ve put the stuff you need for tomorrow.

A place for everything

Have a set place to put your phone, keys, shoes etc so you can get straight out of the door quickly.

bedtime rituals to help you sleep put phone away image of woman in bed in dark

Do not disturb!

Put your phone, ipad and other technology onto silent or do not disturb early on in the evening unless you’re expecting an urgent call. Turn work emails off after work if you can. If you need to send an important email schedule it to send tomorrow after 8am.

Have a light snack if you like

If you find that you get a little peckish before bed have a light snack. and have a milky drink or a night time tea (there are various ones on the market that have soothing herbs and are caffeine free

bedtime rituals drink chamomile tea

Reset the room

Before you go to bed do a very quick room reset of the sitting room. This can be as simple as fluffing up the cushions, tidying away any glasses and mugs, putting the tv remote control in a safe place.

So when you come down in the morning it looks nice. This doesn’t need to take more than about 5-10 mins but can make all the difference in the morning.

bedtime rituals to help you sleep try journaling

Try journaling

Before going to bed try brain dumping any worries you might have, any items that need adding to your to-do list and anything else you’re conscious of trying to remember. This way your brain can switch off without having to make a mental note of everything you need to remember.

Some people find it helpful to write down 3 things they’re grateful for in a separate gratitude journal. Try it and see if it works for you!

bedtime rituals for sleep image of woman doing yoga

Take a little light exercise

If you work primarily at a desk, you might benefit from doing a little light stretching before bed. Avoid any strenuous forms of activity as these will likely rev you up again, but gentle exercise like yin yoga or calming meditation or yoga nidra may help you to drift off. 

bedtime rituals to help you sleep have a bath wth calming essential oils

Have a bath or shower, clean your teeth, do your skincare routine.

Treat yourself to a bath or shower to wash away any stresses of the day. Imagine all the stress of the day draining through the plughole.

If you’re having a bath try adding 2 drops of a calming essential oil like lavender into some fragrance free bubble bath and swish under running water

When you’ve finished, try drying your feet on a fluffy towel and then massage in a good quality body lotion or foot cream.  This will help keep your feet soft as well as help to soothe you ready for a good night’s sleep.

Take time to do your skin care. You can calm yourself down by using smoothing massage moves on your face and can help your complexion by doing gentle raindrop style tapping on your face.

bedtime rituals help you sleep image of<br />
woman wearing sleep mask and pink pjs

Your bedroom, your sanctuary

Make your bedroom a cosy sanctuary which has comfy pillows and cushions, calming heavy blankets, the right low lighting, and is a soothing environment to relax in. if possible keep your bedroom only for sleeping, reading and other bed-based activities *cough*.

Remove clutter, children’s toys, other people’s stuff, laundry, and work-related items if possible (or at least screen them off so you don’t have to look at them!)

Adding a few leafy pot plants and some calming crystals like rose quartz or amethyst can aid restful sleep. Make your room your sanctuary away from the stresses and strains of every day life

bedtime rituals help you sleep read a book image of teddy reading a book

Snuggle up with a good book 

Unwind in bed with a good book. If you struggle to switch the light off once you’re comfortable try setting a table lamp up to your Alexa or Google home (or similar!) and use voice commands or a routine to switch it off!













Sarah Cooper

Sarah Cooper

I am a Reflexologist, Reiki Master Practitioner and Writer from Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire. I love writing about Health and Wellbeing, Mind Body Spirit and Reflexology. When I’m not at work, you can find me in the kitchen cooking up a storm!

If you’d like to book a treatment please go to https://www.sarahcooper.co.uk/book

Sarah Cooper

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