Establishing solid night time routine habits before bed is crucial for our mental health and cultivating a positive mindset.
Just like waking up with a positive morning routine, going to bed on a good note will not only help with positive thinking but your mental health in general.
This is also known as practising proper sleep hygiene.
By putting a positive evening routine in place and practising it nightly, your brain knows when you’re getting ready for bed and will start to prepare you for sleep.
If you struggle with keeping to a sensible sleep pattern, practising proper sleep hygiene is invaluable.
Here are my best night time routine habits for improved sleep, mental health and mindset.
Writing down and unpacking your thoughts, feelings, and worries from the day is an excellent way to decompress.
While journaling in the morning is also great for your mental heath and mindset, journaling before bed is the perfect way to get everything down on paper so it’s not bouncing around your brain.
How many times have you laid down in bed and then just stared at the ceiling for hours worrying about stuff that happened today, stuff that happened 10 years ago, or stuff that’s not even happened yet?
Yeah… anxiety is rad…
By mentally unloading all of your worries and anxieties down in a journal, as well as practising gratitude, which has been proven to help you think more positively in general, you massively reduce the risk of going to bed with a brain full of metaphorical wasps.
I have a whole course and workbook called Master Your Mindset With Journaling, which teaches you how to do exactly that, if you really want to create a positive journaling habit.
#2. No alcohol
As a former drinker, I know the impact alcohol can have on your mental health and mindset all too well.
Alcohol reduces REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.
REM sleep is thought to occur around 90 minutes after you’ve fallen asleep and is also believed to be restorative.
It’s basically when your brain sifts through and files away everything that’s happened that day.
If you miss out on REM sleep, you’ll feel drowsy the next day.
This will impact how you feel and how you act towards yourself and others.
The more you drink, the worse the quality of your sleep will be.
Maybe bear this in mind next time you consider a little nightcap… or make sure you don’t drink when you’ve got important goals to achieve the following day.
#3. Plan for tomorrow
Planning out my schedule for the next day is always a must the day or night before.
Setting out and planning everything you need to do the next day and by what time not only prevents you from laying there in bed mulling over all the tasks you have to get done and worrying that you might forget some, it also allows you to be super-productive when you do get up.
#4. No electronic devices
The blue light given off by electronic devices such as phones, laptops and TV screens is said to negatively affect your quality of sleep.
Therefore, while some devices do have a warmer light setting that automatically comes on after a certain time in the evening, it’s still advised that you put down the phone, tablet or laptop an hour or so before you hit the hay.
Try reading a book instead, or even meditating.
Meditating is great any time of day. But it’s especially awesome right before bed.
It quietens down your racing thoughts, calms your anxiety, and gets you into the right frame of mind to go to bed.
Perhaps try a free app or guided meditation video on YouTube.
#6. Don’t go to bed hungry or thirsty
Make sure you’re fuelling your body properly at dinner and, if you tend to get peckish before bed, have a small snack.
Going to bed hungry or thirsty is one of the worst feelings and can prevent you from falling asleep or getting a good quality of sleep.
However, it’s wise to avoid caffeine or really glugging down water before bed as having to get up for the loo will disrupt your sleep. (Plus, caffeine is a known stimulant.)
#7. Make an inviting sleeping area
Make sure your bed is inviting and cosy-looking.
Cushions, throws and blankets don’t need to be expensive and really make a difference to how inviting your bed looks.
I also like to have fairy lights on and a scented candle… although make sure you blow it out before you actually go to sleep.
#8. Go to bed at the same time every night
Establishing a proper sleep pattern is so important for your mindset.
Ensuring you’re getting the right amount of sleep (usually between 6 – 9 hours) and getting a good quality of sleep at least MOST of the time really has a huge affect on your mental health and positivity.
It’s tough to think positively when you’re tired and your body doesn’t know whether it’s coming or going.
A few years ago, I had a particularly bad bout of insomnia and while it fortunately only lasted a couple of months, it was the worst I’ve ever felt mentally.
Our bodies simply can’t function without proper sleep – it’s when it heals and processes our thoughts.
It’s not a luxury – it’s a necessity.
Adjusting your sleep pattern doesn’t have to be a massive shock to your body either.
If you’ve found yourself somewhat nocturnal, just try going to bed half-an-hour earlier for a week, then half-an-hour earlier the next, and so on. Meanwhile, set an alarm to get up half-an-hour earlier in the morning.
Make sure you’re firm with yourself and actually get up when your alarm goes off.
With all this said, if you really struggle to sleep and think you might be suffering from insomnia, please see a doctor.
#9. Don’t get into bed unless you intend to sleep
I’m so bad for this. My bed is too damn inviting!
Try not to get into bed and lay down unless you’re actually going to sleep. Otherwise, your brain might struggle to actually switch off when you’re going to SLEEP sleep, since it’s so used to being there.
This is pretty hard for me, especially when I’m depressed, as I tend to want to just hang around in bed all day. And, to be honest, once in a while this is fine. There’s nothing wrong with having a mental health day.
Just don’t allow it to become a habit.
#10. Practise self-care
Self-care doesn’t necessarily mean having a long bubble bath or doing yoga before bed (although this would be lovely). It means looking after your most basic needs and taking care of your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing every. single. day.
This might mean putting on a face mask, or simply having a shower and washing the day off your skin.
It means having dinner, drinking water, taking your medication, talking with someone you trust or a therapist, and perhaps binge-watching one of your favourite TV shows.
Make sure to make time for self-care and make this a habit.