When I first had kids, one of the most popular words of advice I was given was, “set up a nightly routine.” I heard it from friends, the pediatrician, and countless blogs and articles. It helps children feel safe and secure and they thrive on routines. But, when does this end? Now that I’m an adult, do I suddenly not need a nightly routine?
Finding the answer to that question was harder than I thought. Trusty Google came up with a million ideas on children and weirdly men’s nightly routines, but nothing that I was really looking for. Knowing that children and men aren’t the only ones that will benefit from having a routine, I decided to create one for myself inspired by one of my 101 things to do in 1001 days – Stick to a nightly routine for 30 days.
Why do we need a nightly routine?
I’m a night owl, and the couple of hours after everyone has gone to bed is probably my favorite time of day. It’s quiet and I can write or binge on Orange is the New Black with no distractions. As much as I love those calm hours, it has a heavy influence on my mornings, and not in a good way. I crawl into bed way too late, after not using my time wisely, and toss and turn until my alarm goes off and I hit the snooze button 20 times.
I want to have better mornings, which means I have to stop being so reluctant to change my nights. Research has shown that having a consistent nightly routine signals to your body that the end of the day is coming and it is time to start calming down making it easier to sleep. There is also the added benefit of higher energy levels and better moods the next day. Better night = Better morning.
When I started thinking about what I wanted my night to look like, the idea of a routine was starting to bum me out and I felt myself resisting. And then, I remembered one of my favorite quotes by Andy Warhol.
“Either once only, or every day. If you do something once it’s exciting, and if you do it every day it’s exciting. But if you do it, say, twice or just almost every day, it’s not good any more.”
I decided to create a nightly “ritual” to turn my routine into something special that I would look forward to each and every night. I also knew I wanted it to be flexible but structured. The most important thing was that it needed to be simple enough that no matter what, I would be able to do it every single night.
How do you create a nightly routine?
The first thing I did was come up with a bedtime for myself. I decided that I was going to go to bed by 11:00 every night. I then made a list of the different things that would make my routine easy, relaxing, and something that I looked forward to. Here’s what I came up with:
One of the biggest changes I made to my routine, was to wear actual pajamas to bed. In the past I would just throw on an old t-shirt, shorts, and call it good. But, there is something about putting on pretty pajamas that tells my body it’s time for bed and really let’s me start to wind down. If you don’t currently do this, I recommend you run to the store, buy some pretty pjs, and see if you notice a difference. (and then tell me if it was helpful or not!)
Here are a couple of extra tips I found to help you have a calmer, yet wildly successful, nightly routine.
- If you want to keep your routine really simple, try choosing one activity to benefit your mind, body, and soul such as reading, stretching, and meditating.
- For better sleep, turn off screens an hour before bedtime.
- If you have trouble turning off your brain, keep a notebook handy and do a brain dump before you settle into bed.
- Avoid caffeine 6 hours before your set bedtime.
- Check out the nightly routine of successful people to gain some inspiration for your own.
Be sure to grab a copy of the Wild Nightly Routine Worksheet to help you plan out your nightly routine.
Join me in my 30 Day Nightly Routine Challenge! Here’s a copy of my 30 day challenge tracker to help you track your progress. Click here to get yours!
Do you currently have a nightly routine? Thinking about starting one? Why or why not? I’d love to hear about yours or why it doesn’t work for you. Leave a comment or reach out on Twitter or Instagram @wild_for_awhile.