25 Evening Routine Ideas To Help You Unwind

The perfect evening routine can be comprised of many habits and practices so finding the right routine for you is important to help you unwind at night and feel prepared for the next day.

tea and book

Getting a good night’s sleep can be more challenging these days.

Many people have sleep disorders causing lack of sleep, stress and mental health issues as well as exhaustion and lack of energy.

So, the best way to improve your sleep quality is to start a bedtime routine that makes you feel well-rested the next morning.

How To Create a Simple Evening Routine

Think about how you feel at the end of a typical day and ask yourself…

  • What do I need more of right now?
  • Where am I struggling?
  • What would make me feel good?
  • How can I make my mornings and daily routine easier?

These questions will help you identify how to create a nighttime routine and more quality time tailored to your specific needs.

And of course, the below evening routine ideas will give you some suggestions you can try.

25 Evening Routine Habits For a Better Night’s Sleep

woman sleeping

Do something that’s good for your soul

1. Gratitude Journaling

Focusing on what you’re grateful for at the end of a long day can certainly help you have a restful sleep. You can express gratitude with journaling in a few ways…

  1. Write down 3 things you’re grateful for today
  2. Write down 3 things that went well today
  3. Use a gratitude journal prompt. You can grab some journal prompts here.

2. Meditation

Finding time to meditate before bed is an amazing way to reduce stress and help you have a restful, healthy sleep.

Even if you are new to meditation there are so many helpful tools to help you get started.

Check out this 5-minute bedtime meditation for better sleep below.

You can also use a meditation app like Calm or Headspace which have different nighttime meditations you can try.

3. Prayer

Spending time praying before bed can help you feel connected to what’s deeply important to you.

You can find comfort and get support where you need it most which is beneficial to a restful night’s sleep.

4. Reading

Spend at least 20 minutes reading something you love. Reading a good book before bed is something you can do for yourself that is just for you.

You can even listen to a book on Audible or sign up to your local library to access their audiobooks.

Prep For Tomorrow

evening meal prep

In order to have a productive day ahead doing what you can to prep for the following day can be really helpful.

5. Simple Meal Prep

If you’re anything like me you most likely find yourself every day thinking “what the heck am I going to make for dinner”?

This is where doing a little meal prep the night before can be super helpful when it comes to family dinner time.

Try these meal prep tips:

  • For breakfast make some overnight oats, set up your coffee maker and chop up some fruit.
  • Use your Instant Pot to prep staples – rice, beans, potatoes, boiled eggs. These are all things that require no recipe, just pop in the ingredients, refer to your Instant Pot manual or do a Google search on cooking times.
  • Clean some veggies and put them in containers for easy access the next day.
  • Decide what meals you want to make for the week and write your grocery list.

👉 Try my printable weekly meal planner to help you get started.

6. Make a To-Do List for the next day

This is perfect to get things off your mind so you aren’t worrying during the night.

Make sure to write everything that comes to mind on the list – personal, work, family – that way you can refer to it in the morning.

7. Lay out your clothes

Get your workout clothes and office clothes ready. Even if you work from home, deciding what you’ll wear the next day still makes your morning easier.

8. Do a Small Chore

Take care of a chore that will make your morning easier – dishes, school lunches, clearing the counters.

Move Your Body

9. Get a little exercise

Doing some light exercise before bed is a great way to relax.

According to this review of 23 studies, evening exercise can improve sleep as long as it’s not strenuous.

Moderate exercise can be anything from a walk around the block, to stretching, or yoga. Focus on something that relaxes you and puts you in the mindset that the day is unwinding.

I like to go on a nightly walk with my dog, especially when it’s dark. I do this in the height of summer and the coldest winter nights. The night air is super relaxing and it also means my dog doesn’t bark at squirrels, which is also relaxing!

10. Stretch

I’ve really gotten into stretching before bedtime recently. It’s a great way to release tension that’s built up over the day and it’s truly relaxing.

You can stretch while on your bed, sitting at the side or standing beside your bed.

Relax and Unwind

bath and candles

11. Have a warm bath or shower

During your relaxing evening bath or shower treat your senses to some essential oils. You can put a few drops in the bath (lavender is perfect for bedtime).

Aromatherapy shower steamers have also become quite popular. Just place them in your shower and let them steam their natural essential oils. They are extremely relaxing and the perfect way to wind down.

12. Treat yourself to a cozy drink

There’s something about a warm drink at the end of the day. It feels like a warm hug from the inside. Try some herbal tea, hot chocolate or turmeric golden milk tea.

13. Light a candle or diffuse some essential oils

These little habits don’t take much effort but they can have a big impact on your well-being. Lavender is great to diffuse before bed for it’s calming properties.

14. Have Some Cuddle Time

This could be with your pet, child or partner, or even a big pillow. If you’re anything like me a little cuddling is a wonderful way to relax and feel connected.

15. Listen To Some Calming Music

If you’ve ever been for a massage think about the music they play there – pure relaxation. You could listen to something like that or anything that helps you wind down.

Make Your Bedroom Perfect for Sleeping

16. Have water beside your bed

Dehydration at night is quite common as your body loses fluids from mouth breathing and snoring. This is even more common for people with sleep disorders. Therefore keeping a tall glass of water beside your bed will help.

Also, make sure to be fully hydrated during the day to prevent getting thirsty overnight.

17. Fresh sheets

You know that feeling of freshly cleaned sheets when you slide into bed? Isn’t it great? I don’t know if it’s just me, but fresh sheets always make my sleep that much better.

If you’re having a tough time sleeping this is just one more thing you can do to improve your night.

18. Try a Weighted Blanket

Using a weighted blanket is a great way to reduce stress. According to The Sleep Foundation…

“Many people find that adding a weighted blanket to their sleep routine helps to reduce stress and promote calm. In the same way as a hug or a baby’s swaddle, the gentle pressure of a weighted blanket may help ease symptoms and improve sleep for people with insomnia, anxiety, or autism.” (source)

19. Use a Fan or Noise Maker

As I mentioned in my evening routine, I always use a fan or white noise machine. Not only does it block out noises, but it’s also extremely soothing – perfect for kids too.

20. Make sure the temperature isn’t too hot or too cold.

Having the perfect body temperature for sleeping makes a big difference in how you sleep. It’s recommended to have your thermostat set anywhere between 60 – 65 degrees Fahrenheit (16 – 18 Celsius).

21. Keep a notebook beside your bed 

You can write something down if you need to at night – this is key for those of you who ruminate or have active minds all night long.

The act of writing down a thought means you can let it go, you can get back to sleep.

More Nighttime Routine Tips

When creating your ideal nighttime routine there are a few habits to try and avoid.

Now, breaking bad habits can be tough, but being aware of any bad habits you do have is the first step, so here are some things to watch out for.

22. Ditch Electronics

woman on phone late at night

Using electronics at night can also affect your circadian rhythm due to the artificial blue light exposure. This includes all screen time, including your TV.

Instead, pick up a book, listen to an audiobook or to relaxing music

23. Avoid late-night eating 

If you are a little hungry at nighttime opt in for a light healthy snack – fruit, turmeric tea, a handful of nuts.

Just make sure to avoid anything heavy which can give you an upset stomach during the night.

24. Go To Bed at the Same Time every night

Getting to bed at the same time every night helps your circadian rhythms. 

According to The Sleep Foundation, your circadian rhythms are…

“24-hour cycles that are part of the body’s internal clock, running in the background to carry out essential functions and processes. One of the most important and well-known circadian rhythms is the sleep-wake cycle.“

By following a consistent sleep schedule your body can stay within a consistent circadian rhythm.

When your circadian rhythm is off your sleep can be affected.

The Sleep Foundation mentions that…

“A disturbed sleep-wake circadian rhythm can give rise to serious sleeping problems. Without the proper signaling from the body’s internal clock, a person can struggle to fall asleep, wake up during the night, or be unable to sleep as long as they want into the morning.

Their total sleep can be reduced, and a disrupted circadian rhythm can also mean shallower, fragmented, and lower-quality sleep.”

25. Make sure you get the right amount of sleep

This can look different for everyone, but 7 to 9 hours of sleep is often recommended.

Getting enough sleep at night which includes proper deep sleep can make all the difference the following morning.

My Ideal Evening Routine

My evening routine goes a little something like this…

  • Have a light snack or hot drink
  • Walk the dog
  • Tidy up the kitchen
  • Brush teeth, wash face
  • Light a candle
  • Gratitude journaling
  • Read a book or do a puzzle on my iPad
  • Pass out

I know that doing a puzzle on my iPad is going against the recommendation to turn off electronic devices, but I personally find that a puzzle relaxes me and makes me sleepy, so it works. Although I would like to test not doing this and see how it impacts my sleep for the better.

Before I hit the sack I always light a candle before and turn off the lights. This makes me feel really relaxed. I use this time to listen to a book or journal.

I also rely on a fan in the summer and a white noise machine in the colder months which lulls me to sleep. 

What small things can you do to improve your evening routine?

Would you like to create a new routine at nighttime? As you can see there are many different things you can do to create a healthy bedtime routine.

Share in the comments what your nighttime routine looks like or a new routine you’d like to try.

Related Resources About Routines

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  1. I definitely need to work on my nighttime routine. I have very poor sleep hygiene habits. I found this very helpful, and will try to incorporate some of these into my nightly bedtime routine. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Ashley, Thanks for sharing. I hope some of these ideas will help you wind down and get a good night’s sleep.

    1. I’m with you Tianna – it’s so relaxing. Glad you have a nighttime routine that’s working for you 🙂

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