With more time at home, it’s time to upgrade your nightly routine. The days are hectic enough. The nights should be peaceful—and restful! And while you can’t control the forgotten project that is suddenly remembered at midnight or the odd noise your partner is making—are they snoring or choking?–you do have control over how you prepare for a good night’s sleep. Use these tips to improve your bedtime routine:
- Don’t stay up planning tomorrow. Get ahead of tomorrow’s to-do list by taking just a few minutes each night to prepare for the next day, easing your stress in the night. Pick out your outfit for the next day, pack up everything you’ll need for work, like your technology, keys, and wallet, and prepare breakfast and lunch. Once you go to bed, there will be less on your mental checklist (and more time in the morning).
- Once chores are out of the way, focus on a calming ritual. Light a candle or diffuser for some nightly aromatherapy, making sure to choose a soothing scent like lavender or the oddly relaxing fresh linen sheets. Or make a cup of warm milk, possibly adding in spices for golden milk or moon milk. Choose something that you truly enjoy as a way to relax. No one needs to know if you use a homemade mask after a shower or if opera is playing on your headphones as you lean back in your favorite chair.
- Read a book or magazine, making sure to avoid scrolling on your phone. Staring at a screen may make your eyes tired, but it will keep you wide awake at bedtime as your brain wonders what that post from Linda meant.
- Turn off harsh, bright overhead lights in the evenings. Think back to how tired you become in the winter months as the sun sets earlier and earlier. You can recreate this by dimming the lights throughout the evening. A bedside lamp with an amber bulb or string lights will help your body adjust and feel more tired at bedtime. Once bedtime hits, if there’s still too much light, reach for a sleep mask or invest in black-out curtains.
- Update your PJs. Pajamas don’t have to be made with the finest silk and have your initials embroidered on a fake pocket to help you get a good night’s sleep. Choose PJs that are a little loose with fabric that doesn’t irritate your skin. If you wake up in the night somehow twisted in the legs of your pajama pants, switch to shorts or joggers. If your feet always peek out of the covers, grab some comfy socks. For those who sleep hot, have a robe or sweater to wear before bed during colder weather.
- Make sure your bedding is doing its part, too. Have sheets appropriate for the season, with extra covers available to layer on if needed. If you sleep hot, look into a cooling mattress cover or pillow, or use a fan. A fan will not only keep the room cold, but it will also act as white noise.
With these tips, all that’s left to do is set a bedtime and prepare for a better nightly routine.