Morning routines get all the hype these days. Morning meditations and a cup of coffee are often thought of as the secrets to success, celebrities and wellness enthusiasts consistently share how they spend the first couple hours of their day, and we even created a Morning Routine Challenge over four years ago. But what about the last few hours of the day? I’d like to get justice for nighttime routines, as they’re equally important for the success of your day.
What does your current nighttime routine look like? Do you take an hour-long Epsom salt bath and meditate while jade rolling before consulting your shamanic medicine practitioner about which adaptogen blend is best for your current energy state? Or does your nighttime routine more resemble downing a box of Annie’s Shells and White Cheddar Mac n’ Cheese (the best kind. You can @ me on it) while bingeing Love is Blind until you realize oh sh*t, it’s 1am, and hop into bed in old camp sweats from middle school?
FYI, no judgment either way. Personally, my nighttime routines alternate between varying degrees of both examples (I’m either a hot mess or #extra, there is no in-between). But whatever your current evenings look like, a mindful nighttime routine that calms you down can help you sleep better and therefore, boost your energy the next day. Create the ideal nighttime routine with these 10 tips that can set you up for a better week ahead.
1. Find the right hydrating night cream
The right face cream is not just an act of skincare, it’s an act of self-care. Having a go-to nighttime skincare routine should feel like an act of meditation (if you’re using so many products you have to think about it, you might be overdoing it). We recommend Rehydration Night Crème by Trilipiderm because it’s a one-stop-shop for a multitude of benefits.
Just to name a few of the VIP ingredients, hyaluronic acid hydrates and plumps to reduce fine lines; antioxidant-rich vitamins A, C, D, and E help to boost collagen and fight damage; and plant-based ingredients mimic skin cell structure for a brightening effect. We love it because the cream feels luxurious to put on, and our skin wakes up glowing the next day.
2. Have a work day cut-off
Imagine this: your office day “ends” at 5pm, but more often than not, you find yourself responding to emails, finishing projects, or putting out fires well into the night. Sound familiar? Work-life balance starts with leaving work exactly where it belongs: at the office (or at your designated kitchen-table-turned-desk if you work from home like me). Give yourself a daily cut-off like 6pm or 7pm (if you need a couple of extra hours), and then make sure that’s it for the rest of the night. Your coworkers or clients can wait until tomorrow.
Try transitioning out of your workday with a closing ritual. Maybe it’s Slacking your work wife to have a good night, changing from your work blazer into loungewear (even if you work from home, gotta be the best dressed on Zoom, right?), or maybe it’s physically crossing off the last item on your to-do list (so satisfying!). Turn your last step of the workday into a ritual that signals to your brain that it’s no longer work time. This is a good idea if you find yourself checking emails throughout the night or can’t fall asleep because you’re worried about your to-dos for the next day.
3. Take 15 minutes to tidy up your space
The next morning can only be so productive and successful if you start it with a pile of laundry on your floor or dirty dishes in the sink. Make sure that you wake up every morning with a clean and organized space, so you feel calm, centered, and ready to start the day. Spending just 15 minutes every evening to wipe countertops, do the dishes, and declutter the bedroom of anything that piled up throughout the day (looking at you, stack of random papers) makes a huge difference in your evening routine and your state of mind when waking up the next morning.
4. Make a to-do list for the next day
OK, so we weren’t going to think about work again, right? But before you transition into your relaxation time, make a to-do list so you feel in control of your next day (it will also prevent you from having work stress-dreams, I promise!). Order each work task or chore by importance and priority, and then start with the top-priority task tomorrow. If you’re still feeling stressed about your next day, lay out your clothes, make your lunch, or pack your gym bag. Feeling prepared will help you let go of worries so you can enjoy your night and stay present.
5. Turn off the lights five minutes earlier than the night before
Aren’t you tired (pun intended) of complaining to your coworkers about how little sleep you got the night before, or of feeling groggy and mad when your alarm goes off in the morning? Take control of the amount of sleep you get even if your schedule doesn’t always feel controllable by getting into bed just five minutes earlier than you did the night before. By the end of the workweek, you’ll be getting almost a half-hour more of sleep a night, without even noticing a difference.
6. Read for at least 15 minutes
If you’re serious about using your nights to set up your days for success, consider adding at least 15 minutes of reading. Even Barack Obama spends at least a few minutes of his evening reading to decompress, and Bill Gates spends an hour reading before bed every single night. What I’m saying is that reading before bed will make you a billionaire or the President of the United States (you’re welcome for the tip). Kidding aside (not that I doubt your abilities), reading in the evenings is the perfect screen-free way to wind down and relax. Just keep in mind that what you read will likely be the last thing you think about before falling asleep, so if true crime or horror is your genre of choice, you’ve been warned.
7. Rewrite your top five goals
Whether your current life goals are career-related (getting a promotion, starting a side-hustle, or working for your dream company), health-related (like running a marathon, eating plant-based, or being happier) or personal (like saving money for the down payment on a house), write them down every night. While it might sound repetitive, the more you visualize the outcome you want, the more confidence you’ll have that you can achieve it. Plus, this simple practice keeps your long-term goals in the front of your mind, so you’re less likely to make choices that steer you off track during your day.
8. Do something creative
Creativity can feel therapeutic because not only is it good your brain, but it can be a form of meditation (AKA why adult coloring books have become so popular). Whether it’s playing guitar, cooking an elaborate dinner, sketching a portrait, or playing Scrabble with your significant other (still counts as creative!), make sure you fit creativity into your evening routine. Even if you’re in a creative industry, a different form of creativity is a good way to unwind from your day. Make sure it’s an activity you enjoy, and not something you have to force yourself to do.
9. Turn your bedroom into a sanctuary
Rather than a bedroom that’s one part cluttered wardrobe, one part at-home office, and one part Netflix home-theater (a relaxation disaster), do what you can to make sure your bedroom feels like a peaceful oasis. Invest in quality bedding, light candles or diffuse essential oils, and Marie-Kondo any storage space that’s cluttered. If you want to go the extra mile, turn your space into an at-home spa with comfy throw blankets, towel warmers, and air-purifying plants. Trust me, you’ll have a hard time not getting enough sleep.
10. Be still for five minutes (screen-free!)
Perhaps the greatest skill that’s also the most overlooked these days is stillness. No matter how busy your day is, turn your phone off and aim for a few minutes of total stillness, whether it’s in a bath, snuggling with your significant other (or dog), or meditating on your meditation pillow. Giving yourself even just a short break from crazy schedules and constant screen time will not only improve the success of your next day, but will improve the quality of your life.
How do you end your day that sets you up for success? What does your nighttime routine look like?
This post features a sponsored inclusion of trilipiderm, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.