The Best Evening Routine for Better Sleep

Often, the difference between a good night’s sleep and a poor night of sleep is not the number of hours that you get, but the quality of those hours. Whether you want to maximize the amount of sleep you get, or learn how to get the most out of the hours that you already manage, the key to better sleep is often your routine. And it starts well before you crawl between the sheets at night. Use these tips to create the best evening routine for better sleep.

The Best Evening Routine for Better Sleep

The Best Evening Routine for Better Sleep

Consistency is Key:

By going to bed and waking up at the same time every day — even on the weekends — you teach your body when it is the proper time to sleep. Within a short time, your body will naturally be attuned to the regular sleeping hours.

Eat Well:

The food we eat can affect our sleep greatly. For example, fatty, heavy, rich, and spicy foods can all wreak havoc with our sleep cycles because of the added burden they place on the digestive system. Eat dinner earlier, ideally you should eat two or more hours before bedtime. If you’re craving a late night snack, good ones that won’t interfere with your sleep a turkey sandwich, whole grain cereal, granola, or a banana.

Drink Decaf:

The later in the day you have caffeine, the bigger the risk that it will cause problems with your sleep. Experts say that caffeine remains in your system up to ten to twelve hours after you consume it. If you’re in the mood for coffee or tea, choose something caffeine-free.

Exercise Early:

Getting plenty of exercise will help speed up your metabolism and stimulate activating hormones like cortisol, which is wonderful as long as you get your workouts in as early in the day as possible. Exercising late at night can hinder your sleep because it can take up to six hours for your body to completely cool down to a temperature that is more sleep-friendly.

Avoid Bright Lights:

Our brains naturally secrete the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin. Melatonin helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle better than anything else. In order to encourage maximum melatonin production before bedtime, keep the lights low. Avoid bright screens like laptops, tablets, and televisions because the light from them can inhibit melatonin secretion. The two hours prior to your bedtime are especially critical, so if you must be on your devices during that time, turn the brightness levels down.

Tess Pajaron is part of the team at Open Colleges, Australia’s online education specialists. When not working, she enjoys traveling to exotic places and reading career blogs. Image via Byrdie.

16 Responses to The Best Evening Routine for Better Sleep

  1. Over the last year I’ve been experimenting with a lot of things to ensure I get a restful night’s sleep.

    I try to get 5-6 hours of sleep every night. If I get more than 7 hours I feel over-rested and groggy, but if I have 5 uninterrupted hours of sleep I’m ready for the day.

    Of course, if I don’t take it upon myself to ensure that I fall asleep quickly and that the sleep is peaceful, not even 10-12 hours of sleep would be enough

    Traditionally I’m not a morning person, but since my son was born getting up before he does has been how I’ve maintained my ‘me’ time.

    Anything I can do to make my mornings more productive helps set the tone for a happy, high-energy day. Not feeling inclined to hit the snooze button is a big part of that.

    One thing that I do to clear my mind before bed is make my to-do list for the next day.

    This keeps my mind from racing when I’m trying to sleep, because I know I won’t forget something I need to do the next day.

    With a settled mind, I usually drift off to sleep very quickly, and my sleep is much more restful as a whole.

    Anyway – Thanks for sharing, love the suggestions here!

  2. Annaliese says:

    I’ve been taking melatonin for years and it works so well for me!!

    xoxo A
    http://www.southernbelleintraining.com

  3. I need to get better about going to bed and waking up at the same time each day! I love hitting snooze in the morning.

    http://www.livinginsteil.com

  4. Anna says:

    I have no problem going to bed at night, it’s just the whole *waking up* part that’s the struggle! Maybe it would be easier if I followed some of these steps in order to ensure a better night’s sleep!

  5. Mindy says:

    Excerising early always lets me get better sleep. I not only get to bed earlier, but totally sleep much better. Xoxo Mindy

  6. Sara Kate says:

    Drinking Decaf is crucial. I had to stop drinking coffee for a month simply because it was really messing with my sleep.

    xo,
    Sara Kate Styling

  7. Jenny says:

    Yes! I really need to get a better sleep routine going.

    xoxo, Jenny

  8. Cristina says:

    Lately I have not been sleeping well! I think I need to start turning off bright lights a little bit before bed to get tired. Also love the tip about going to bed at the same time – I tend to fluctuate, so I need to work on that.

    X,
    Cristina
    cristinawashere.com

  9. Kayla says:

    I follow most of these points and find that they totally do work! I also use melatonin supplements to help regulate my body’s internal clock.
    Kayla || Keynotes from Kay

  10. Brittany says:

    Great tips! I really need to work on my evening routine so I can sleep better.

    Southern Soul

  11. These all make sense. I can’t eat within a couple of hours of sleeping or else I am so restless all night.

  12. Amy says:

    I need these tips after looking at the week I’m going to have… The workout tip is so interesting! I use to workout at night because I get so tired that it helps me sleep, but had to change my schedule around due to classes. Thanks for sharing these tips!
    xoxo
    Amy | Pastel N Pink

  13. Danielle says:

    Great tips! I think it is extremely beneficial to exercise early and eat well. I have been doing this almost every morning since January and have definitely noticed a difference. I did not know to a avoid bright lights, so I will have to try this tonight.

    Thanks for the tips,

    Danielle
    http://www.glamrme.com

  14. Tiffani says:

    These are all so great. I really used to struggle with my sleep, mostly because of my chronic migraines, but these are all things I am sure to implement just about every night!

  15. Chronicling Home says:

    I really didn’t think about avoiding bright lights, but it makes total sense! I normally fall asleep really fast, but for the nights I don’t I’ll remember these!

    Nicole // Chronicling Home

  16. These are awesome tips. I’m on vacation in Bali this week, and I’ve been sleeping so much better because I’ve been spending a lot less time on my phone and computer. I hope I can continue to unplug in the evenings at home because it really makes a huge difference.

    LiveLifeWell,
    Allison

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