Nighttime WindDown Time: My Routine to Relax Before Going To Bed

woman strettching muscles before bedtime

I have always been an early to bed, early to rise kind of person. Some people, including my husband, can find my chipper mood a little irritating early in the day. My cats, on the other hand, love that their cat mom is an early riser. Over the years, I have developed a routine of six relaxing things to do in my nighttime winddown time routine.

In a perfect world, my body would get eight to nine hours of sleep. That doesn’t always happen, but I do try my best. Each person is unique and has their sweet spot of just the right amount of sleep and once I found mine, then I can make it through my day with lots of energy and very little caffeine.

Before we look at the sleep hygiene environment and habits I have set up for myself the last few years here are some other lifestyle posts I have written that you might like to check out.

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brunette woman sitting on the edge of a bathtub wearing a white robe preparing for her nighttime winddown time

Relaxing Habits That Make My Nighttime Routine Work For Me

Long before I read one of my favorite self-help books ever, Atomic Habits, I realized that I had to have a nighttime winddown routine to set myself up for my beauty rest. I will admit that some days I don’t get to do ALL the things, but I always get most of them in. When I do get to have my perfect version of a calm evening before going to bed I sleep so much better. With that good night of sleep, the next day is always so much better. So how do I do my version of nighttime winddown?

Setting the Mood For Nighttime Winddown

For me, just slowing down at the end of the work day or even on the weekends makes a world of difference. Yes, there is just something about shutting my computer off and turning out my office lights that signal my brain to slow down. Slowing down usually means pouring myself a Topo Chico or mocktail, cooking dinner, and enjoying dinner. Maybe a little playtime with my cats. All of this before I start my nighttime winddown routine.

Here are the six relaxing things that I find helpful before going to bed so that I set myself up for a good night’s sleep.

1. Put Away Screens

I have found that having notifications “on” only for texts and calls makes me a much more productive and calm person. Fortunately, I can also just turn my phone off 95%+ of the time around 7pm. This makes it so that I have put away screen time well before I go to bed. Yes, that means that I don’t check email or scroll the internet on other devices either. I know how easy it is for me to go down a “rabbit hole” with those things and then my mind starts whirling again.

I learned these things about myself when I read the book Dopamine Detox. It is a quick read that really helps your figure out how to be more productive with your time and what triggers you so that you can’t focus or relax.

Most of my friends and family know that I don’t answer the phone or texts after 7pm. That is something that really helps me relax.

2. Cup of Tea/Tub Time

Oh, how I love a relaxing cup of tea in the evening. Even in the heat of the summer. There’s something about holding that mug and slowly sipping that just helps with the winding down from the day. Almost as if every sip helps the thoughts from the day slip away. My favorites are this honey lavender tea or this chocolate lavender and mint tea.

Tub time is another thing that just really relaxes my mind and body. I don’t do it as often as I should, but boy the days that I do I can barely finish the rest of my nighttime winddown routine. A 15-20 minute bath in Dead Sea Salts or some good-smelling Epsom salts is just heavenly to my body.

3. Skincare Routine

Every night before bed I make sure that I cleanse and moisturize my skin. Not just my face, but my entire body. Our skin is our largest organ so we have to take care of it.

4. Time To Stretch/dim the lights

There’s nothing more relaxing just before turning into bed for me than dimming the lights to stretch. Between working out regularly and sitting at a desk for many hours most days, my body needs some TLC.

I always start out with a foam roller for my back and legs. Depending upon which body parts need the most work I like to use a yoga strap and muscle roller stick for my legs. My glutes are always tight and rolling around on this Orb really gets into those tight spots.

I also like to do reclining butterfly pose at the end of my stretching time with a bolster. This final pose with some deep breathing really signals my mind to calm down.

5. Journal/Read

This year I started using the 5 Minute Journal. I look forward to this simple gratitude journal every morning and evening. Doing this not only starts my day with gratitude, but it ends my day with gratitude. If I can still keep my eyes open there is always a book on my bedside table. Reading has always been something that brings me joy so if a good book is there I tend to reach for it, even if I can only read 10 pages.

6. Set My Alarm For Morning/Sleep Music

Sunday night thru Thursday night I set my alarm for 5:30am. Many days I wake up before my alarm goes off. To me, that is a signal that the prior night’s routine worked like a charm.

I do like to say a few positive affirmations before I go to bed. If you are not familiar with this ritual here’s a great article to get you started. I also enjoyed this book about how to write your own nighttime affirmations. Then I turn on some sleep music that will automatically shut off after forty five minutes so that I drift off into a peaceful sleep.


Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post. I genuinely appreciate every read, share, and follow. I hope that maybe you found one little thing that you can tweak for your bedtime routine so that your nighttime winddown works better for you. There’s nothing better than a good night’s sleep.

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Updated August 2023.

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  1. Beth, thank you for sharing your nighttime rituals. I see several that I’m definitely going to add to mine. Especially love the idea of stretching before bedtime to work out the day’s kinks.

    1. It really helps me sleep better. I think part of it is just slowing down versus just hopping into bed.

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