The Night-Time Routine That Actually Improved My Sleep

I’ve never been one for “routines”. Morning, night, work, whatever. Despite being an incredibly organised person, I always just tend to do things the quickest and most productive way. I’ve probably watched hundreds of night-time routines on YouTube and can help but think, “what… EVERY night?” I just couldn’t fathom someone doing the same things, in the same order, every single night and finding any joy in that. I just wanna get my make up off and get into bed, pronto.

Until something changed a month or so ago and I found myself as one of those people. UGH I WAS A PERSON WITH A ROUTINE (who else is thinking about The Routine from Friends right now?) What happened? How did I get here?

Well actually, I can tell you. Step by step, I found myself adopting a routine. It didn’t happen overnight and it didn’t happen all in one go but eventually I had all the pieces together and realised I had created a pretty effective night-time routine for myself which also happened…

…to improve my sleep.

I know, I can’t believe it either. For the last 15 years of my life, I haven’t slept through the night once. I wake up 4 or 5 times on average most nights either needing a wee or with bad hip pain (idk why, I have big hips okay?) and I’ve always known I didn’t get great quality sleep. It’s still not perfect of course but halfway through January, after doing this same routine more or less every night for a few weeks, I did begin to notice a difference. I wasn’t waking up as much, I was falling asleep quicker and I felt more awake in the mornings too! How did I do it? Well I’ll tell you.

Limiting screen time

In the latter part of last year, it really really REALLY hit me how much time I was spending on my phone (I mean, how could it not when that poxy screen time app was cropping up every day saying I had spent 13 hours on my phone?!) and quite frankly, I was disgusted. Since when did I turn into this person that spends more time looking at her phone than the world around her? What had I missed in all that time I was fixated on Twitter?

So I turned my screen limits back on using the iPhone screen time app. I set it to 3 hours of social media per day and all apps (apart from the necessities) are turned off at 9pm. So no social media, no blogging, no games, no surfing the internet after 9. It was difficult at first but eventually, I found myself actually not picking up my phone way before the 9pm cut off! And within the first week, my screen usage was down by 30%!

Gentle Yoga

The only exception to the screen time was YouTube because I started to introduce night-time Yoga into my routine from Yoga With Adriene. Yoga is one of my favourite things in the world and I’ve fallen it love with it even more (if that’s at all possible) this year. I feel healthier and I definitely feel stronger and I just want to be doing Yoga all the time!

So as well as a more high intensity practice in the morning, I started doing slower, stretchy practices in the evening. I do these in the living room, with the lights on low, in my pajamas and it’s just wonderful. Taking that time for myself each night has been a blessing. It helps me relax, switch off, show some gratitude and then go to bed refreshed, rather than frazzled.

Skincare

After my Yoga, I then started to pick up my skincare routine again. I’ve always struggled with a skincare routine. Partly because I never think anything actually works for me and makes my skin look or feel any better. But I know I shouldn’t neglect my skin for that reason. I still use most of my Superdrug Simply Pure range, which are cruelty-free and ideal for sensitive skin.

Reading before bed

Then after my skincare is finished, I’ll go and grab a drink and get into bed and read for a while. I’ve always loved reading – if you’ve been a reader of this blog for long enough then you’ll remember me in my book blogging days – but honestly, I have fallen out of love with it a bit recently. I basically didn’t read anything from September to December last year.

But thankfully, I did get back into reading in January and read some amazing books which I actually wanted to pick up. Finally! So settling into bed and reading a bit of my book was the perfect addition to my new night-time routine.

Of course this doesn’t happen every single night. If I’m away, ill or particularly busy then that might get in the way but that’s okay – I’m not strict on myself and I don’t punish myself for not doing it every single night. Which I think really helps as well. But knowing that I have this solid routine that I can delve into, if and when I can, is really beneficial.

Do you have a particular night-time routine? What have you found really helps you sleep or relax for the night? Let me know in the comments!

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Twenty-something lifestyle blogger from Essex. Book lover, Slytherin, organisational wizard and enjoys Motorsport, Disney and Yoga.

99 thoughts on “The Night-Time Routine That Actually Improved My Sleep

  1. Oh my gosh I really wish I could limit the amount on my phone before bed but it’s tricky, as that’s when I usually post on instagram! But I’m trying to start reading before bedtime now and that has helped SO much.

  2. The intro made me laugh because I think the exact same way. I wish my brain wasn’t wired in a way that I work better at night. It makes it so hard to switch off. I keep saying I’m going to limit my screen time but I’m failing. An evening skincare routine does really help though! x

    Sophie
    http://www.glowsteady.co.uk

    1. I mean limiting screen time doesn’t always need to mean in the night? I have my social media apps set on for 3 hours a day. So as soon as I go over that, they turn off 😌 if that happens at 2oclock in the afternoon then it’s just shit luck haha!

  3. I always used to read before bed but haven’t done so in ages. It’s great though how we can get into a routine quite quickly and also benefit from it. 🙂

    Sarah 🌺 || Boxnip

  4. Having ADHD, I’ve always struggled with sleep but recently, I’ve found that Lush’s Sleepy lotion and good old Melatonin really helps me out. A routine doesn’t seem to work for me but I have found individual products that do 🙂 at the end of the day, I say whatever works, do it! x

    Melanie || http://www.melaniewithanie.com

  5. Great post – Ive started listening to audio books when I go to bed – mainly by Stephen Fry and find they help me fall asleep but I can only listen to books I’ve read or heard before!!! Otherwise Im too engaged

  6. That’s great you now have a routine that improves your sleep!
    For my nighttime routine I have the same skincare routine then I go to sleep around the same time. I haven’t had a problem with screen time affecting my sleep but I know that can be a problem for many people.

  7. Reblogged this on M J Mallon YA/Paranormal Author and commented:
    I’ve had terrible problems with insomnia most of my adult life until I discovered tai chi. I sleep pretty well now. But I know how horrendous it can be and how sleep deprivation often goes hand in hand with anxiety problems. So glad you found a routine that works for you Jenny. A great share 🙂

  8. I’ve had terrible problems with insomnia most of my adult life until I discovered tai chi. I sleep pretty well now. But I know how horrendous it can be and how sleep deprivation often goes hand in hand with anxiety problems. So glad you found a routine that works for you Jenny. 🙂

  9. I really need to start reading again, it’s something I’ve fallen out of love with as well but I know I’ll really enjoy it once I get back into it. I don’t go on my phone in the evenings but I have a bad habit of having a quick scroll through just before I go to sleep so that’s something I need to get out of the habit of doing. Loved this post!x

    Elin | https://myblurredworld.com

    1. I think if you manage to get through the WHOLE evening without your phone then your will power is definitely strong enough to resist that last quick scroll 😌 everything can wait until morning!

  10. Mine’s kind of similar to yours, although I have to add the yoga thing too sometime. I drink my chamomile tea (knocks me out every. time.), brush teeth and skincare and then read before I go to bed! I have to make sure I read a physical book though or else I would just stay up until I finish it 😂

  11. I kinda wish I had more of a routine, especially at night. But I guess I kind of do, I get home from work around 6pm and then I cook dinner and eat it, do blog stuff until 9pm and then I stop and actually give myself an hour to totally chill out and not use my brain too much! I have often struggled with sleeping but I tend to use a meditation app some evenings to help relax me before going to sleep!

    Chloe xx
    http://www.chloechats.com

  12. I have always been a good sleeper. I always slept right through the night, but for me the night did not last long and most of the days I would burn my energy very fast. That was until I implemented a before bed routine similar to yours. Yoga, skin care and reading before sleep. Now I am more active and my energy dosent burn out so quickly. Great post Jenny.

  13. Jenny your tips are amazing and so useful, because I’ve been needing this post for a long time! My issue isn’t actually the quality of sleep itself, I sleep the whole way through and I have the best sleep ever! However I over-sleep and I tend to sleep late. I haven’t had a routine for a while and I really need to have one!

    With screen time, mine tends to be random, I haven’t thought about limiting it, I get worried because my work is social media but at the same time, there’s no difference in restricting it to certain hours!

    I do yoga at my class in the gym, and my friend introduced me to Adrienne, she’s really good! I really could do with it before bed. In fact I’m going to do it tonight!

    I need to stop watching silly Facebook videos and get into a good book.

    Thank you so much for these tips!

    Monica @ http://www.thewongblog.com

    1. I work for myself too so I need to be online but you also need to be strict with yourself when it comes to screen time. If you had a “regular” job, you wouldn’t spend all night in the office? 😌

  14. Like you I’m also someone who wakes up constantly in the night- my bladder is tiny! I’ve found that reading definitely helps as well but it can also keep me up if it’s a really good book 🙈 I’ve tried yoga before and found it really calming and relaxing but I’ve never thought of doing it at home before bed, I’d happily give it a go if it helps. Glad to hear you’ve found a routine that’s improved your sleeping habits, thanks for the tips! 😊 x

  15. This is a lovely routine – I don’t have an iPhone so I use Offtime to limit my screen time which works really well, however since I’ve got into blogging I can’t seem to get off social media! Definitely need to work on that again. I also limit screen time from 9pm onwards and will either read a book like you, do some puzzles, or do something creative but not too imaginative like drawing or writing up recipes and things.

  16. Having kids (especially one with additional needs that affect their sleep and evenings) means my routine is a bit nonexistent at times but I love a bubble bath & moisturise, just a bit of self care. Yoga or using the Calm app is also good as it has bedtime stories on there! Love it!

  17. Thank you for sharing! My sleep is all over the place at the moment. I am guilty of sacrificing sleep to get stuff done which isn’t good! Reading is a great way to wind down before bed. I like to read in the bath to really relax 🙂 xx

  18. I feel like I need to create some kind of sleep routine. I sometimes have problems falling asleep, although once asleep, I usually stay asleep until my alarm goes off.

    I should definitely turn screens off an hour before bedtime, as scrolling on my phone straight before going to sleep can’t be good!

    Reading instead could be a good idea. Think I’ll have to give it a go – great post! 🙂

  19. Limiting screen time, and especially before bed is a great idea and one I’ve adopted into my own night time routine as well. I also use lavender scented products to make me feel sleepy and an eye mask – my neighbours often leave their porch light on and it shines through any cracks in my curtains.

      1. I’ve always had issues with light, even a little bit or a TV being left on bugs me. But noise I’m fine with.

  20. Setting a screen time limit is such a good idea, it’s something I should probably try, there must be an Android equivalent app. I’m usually returning Insta likes and comments last thing at night and then wondering why my mind is racing… I do read for an hour or so in bed before lights out though and that is helpful. Fab tips here, Jenny, and not punishing yourself if your routine slips occasionally is spot on too 🙂

    Lisa | http://www.lisasnotebook.com

  21. These are all really great strategies! I’ve tried reading before bed or drinking water, but it seems putting cooking videos on through Netflix knock me out like a light! lol

    In Asian Spaces|https://www.inasianspaces.com

  22. Limiting screen time was an important one for me! I used to get into bed and spend hours browsing through social media and Reddit. But ever since I got my Kindle, I just read before bed and it makes me sleepy in a good way since the lighting doesn’t hurt my eyes. Great post 🙂

    1. Yep I agree! Social media is addictive and as soon as you’ve finished scrolling through one platform, you click straight into the next one. It’s ridiculous and totally unnecessary especially right before bed! 🙈

  23. I have been waffling on the idea of crafting a before-bed routine for many moons now. You have inspired me to give it a try. Thanks for the excellent (and inspiring) post!

  24. I love this. Ive gotten to a point where I do not use any apps on my phone once I am in bed, I will only return text messages but I still read my kindle which is a screen so I am not sure if I am helping myself or not. I love this gentle yoga! I want to try this!

    1. I do the same – my screen limits are only on social media, so I don’t spend hours aimlessly scrolling. But my texts, calls and WhatsApp are still on, in case of an emergency 😌 I’d say a Kindle is fine – it’s not a harsh screen and if that’s how you read then good for you! 😌

  25. This sounds like such a peaceful and relaxing night time routine, Jenny. I think limiting screen time really helps, my weekly screen time has been creeping up lately so I think I need to set a limit myself. I love the idea of gentle yoga as a way to calm down and switch off from the day. My routine involves having a nice long bath, but doing some yoga afterwards would probably be better for me instead of my evening Netflix binge, oops. Thanks for sharing and I’m so glad you are feeling the positive effects! ❤ xxx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

  26. I’ve always wanted a night-time routine, at one point we had a switch-off time at eleven where we all went bed. It worked for about two weeks and then people started to ignore it and we’re all back to square one. I have also found that I use my phone too much I am always either on Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.

    I think these are some good ideas to incorporate into a bed-time routine, I especially like the idea of yoga and reading.

    Great post!

    Jess xxx || https://littlepinkduckblog.blogspot.com

    1. It can be tough to settle into a routine that works for you but incorporating small elements at a time is helpful 😌 Maybe start with your phone and go from there? If you have an iPhone, there’s a screen time app which is super handy!

  27. Great routine hun. 🙂

    I’ve started practising a few yoga poses but intend to commit to it properly next month. Will definitely be checking out your yoga recommendations. xoxo

      1. I hope you find a solution soon. I noticed once I got an otty mattress my hips woke me up less. I like to sleep on my side which is pretty hard in hips, so use a pillow between knees, takes the strain off them x

  28. Uhg I feel your pain — isn’t it the worst when you can’t get a good night’s sleep?? I’ve struggled with delayed sleep phase for most of my life and nothing ever seemed to really work, though a little yoga before bed has seemed to help. You’re so right about screen time though. I didn’t realize there was an actual app to limit it — I’ll definitely be giving that a try. Thanks for the tips and great post!

  29. Yoga is the best. I love reading before bed always have. I hate it when I’m really tired but as soon as I lie down in bed I can’t sleep. I wake up. A routine is a good idea, I started to get into a routine of doing yoga in the morning but didn’t want to get up earlier before work. After trying it though when I’ve woken up achy etc I’ve wanted to do yoga. It is the best to help relax, sleep and wake up.

    1. I have no problem getting to sleep, it’s just waking up a billion times which is my problem haha! There’s plenty of really short but REALLY yummy yoga practices you could do before work which don’t take up much time! 😌

      1. I’ve found a few that take five minutes but I’ve been struggling to get up in time and it takes me ages to leave the house. I have a bit of OCD about things.

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