By now, we probably don’t have to tell you that sleep is foundational to a happy, healthy life. This is why it’s important to create a healthy nightly routine. Researchers have proven again and again that sleep is crucial to health and well-being, effectively helping us regulate emotions and enhance brain function while supporting all the body’s crucial systems, from the heart to the immune system.
Yet many of us aren’t getting enough quality sleep, in part because we’ve settled into poor bedtime habits. Forging a healthy evening routine translates to better sleep, but — by integrating facets like good skincare and dental hygiene — it also helps you look and feel better as you go about your life.
A healthy nightly routine
Here are some great habits to add to your nightly routine that will help you look and feel your best the minute you wake up.
1. Wash Your Face
If you struggle with temperamental skin, don’t risk hitting the hay without cleaning your face. As you sleep, the bacteria, sweat, and particles that have settled on the skin throughout the day — including your makeup and pollutants from the air — can sink deep into the pores and cause breakouts. There’s a reason they call it beauty sleep!
2. Whiten Your Teeth
Why not let those nighttime hours work for you? Consider using a teeth whitening system that easily integrates into your pre-bedtime routine.
For example, you can brush, floss, and then use your favorite whitening pen to address stubborn stains while you snooze. Whitening every night leads to a bright, flawless smile, and it can even help you remember to brush, floss, and rinse so the bacteria in your mouth don’t linger and cause decay.
3. Turn Off the Phone
Expert after expert after sleep study after sleep study has come to the same conclusion in the past few years: our phones are keeping us up. The blue light that emits from our screens tends to mess with our circadian rhythms and, on top of that, we tend to get stuck in distracting scroll sessions right before we drift off. A better idea? Read a book or a newspaper. Just make sure to keep it light and positive (no current events or true crime, please).
4. Tidy Up
In the few minutes before you get in bed, look around and make sure that there’s not a mess in your bedroom. There should be no clothes on the floor or unused dishes on the nightstand. It sounds pointless, but it can do a lot for your state of mind before your sleep hours. If you’re in a cluttered space, you’ll have a cluttered mind that’s hard to quiet.
5. Prep the Bed
We know it sounds silly: Why make the bed when you’re just going to mess it up? In reality, most of us like things just so when sleeping. There’s a certain order pillows that should be stacked, a certain perfect harmony between top sheet and comforter. If these things aren’t exactly how you like them before you start to drift off, they’ll just keep you up.
Pre-bed meditation is a bit of a debated topic. On one hand, you don’t want to be so relaxed that you fall asleep or lose concentration while you meditate.
However, taking 15 to 20 minutes to quietly decompress can seriously boost your quality of sleep. On top of that, meditation will help you find inner joy and peace that will translate to your waking hours.
7. Avoid Drinking
If you tend to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, it can be majorly beneficial to cut off the liquids after a certain hour — say, an hour or two before bedtime. And, it goes without saying, but don’t consume any stimulants, including caffeine or alcohol, if you’re planning on getting rest anytime soon.
What if the surrounding life started transitioning into sleep mode at a certain hour without you even having to do anything? Actually, that’s totally possible if you get your gadgets to do it for you. Some awesome ways to integrate automation into your sleep routine include:
- Set a “bedtime” on your phone so it knows when you’re supposed to go to sleep. It will remind you and you may switch your phone to night mode.
- Use a smart light bulb and program it with your phone to dim at a certain hour. You can even set it so that it fades on in the morning, ideal for those of us who like to sleep with the blinds closed.
- Ask Siri, Alexa or Google to play sleep sounds as you drift away. This can help drown out music and ambient noise so you sleep soundly.
- Use your smartwatch or fitness band to track sleep. These devices can use heart rate or motion to determine when you’re asleep, which can leave you with a ton of raw data to analyze and optimize.
9. Pick Out Your Outfit for the Next Day
Remember when your mom would make you set out your outfit before going to bed so that you’d make it to school on time in the morning? She had the right idea. Pre-planning your outfit can save you a ton of time in the a.m. and can help eliminate some of that get-ready stress that keeps you hitting snooze.
10. Turn on the Humidifier
Dry air can be a huge issue for your allergies, sinuses, and skin, so it definitely doesn’t help matters when you sleep in it for hours on end each day. Fill up and turn on your humidifier each night before bed to pump some humidity into the air so you wake up feeling fresh and energized.
Sleep Well, Live Well
A good night’s sleep is genuinely invaluable, one of the small things that can drastically improve your quality of life. And good sleep starts with a good evening routine, so it’s never a waste of your time to make a few small changes so you sleep well.