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Have you heard the saying, “A great day starts the night before”? It’s true! My nightly routine sets me up for a better day, and more specifically a better morning.
For me, there is nothing better than waking up to a warm cup of coffee and sitting down to journal, but if I don’t do my nightly routine, I am in far less control of the morning.
In this post you’ll learn what I do, things to avoid, and how I established my nightly routine.
You deserve more than scrambling as soon as you start the day, so let’s change that, shall we? Let’s start by answering a few common questions.
How do you start a nightly routine?
To start a nightly routine, you need to plan it. Whether you set a reminder on your phone or commit to doing one thing each night, the most important thing is to take action by doing at least one thing.
The one thing you do could be as simple as brushing your teeth at 8pm every night or putting your phone away for the evening at 9pm.
The important thing is that you make your first thing something easy to implement and stick with day after day.
Why does a nightly routine matter?
A nightly routine matters for many reasons.
- If you want to live with more intention, having a nightly routine can help you accomplish that.
- If you want to reduce the time it takes to get ready the next morning, a nightly routine can absolutely handle that.
- Planning out your day the night before is a great way to improve your quality of sleep and a nightly routine should include that.
You can receive many benefits from a nightly routine, and you should take advantage of it!
When should you start a nightly routine?
I have two answers for this:
- Right now! Don’t wait another day to start your nightly routine.
- Start it early enough in the evening to allow you to go bed when you desire.
My Nightly Routine
As I walk you through my personal night time routine, I want you to write out what you could do the night before to have an easier, more successful morning. Because when you have a successful morning, you typically have a successful day!
Here is my evening routine that allows me to do just this:
Reflect on the day //
I want to know how my day went, if I accomplished all I set out to do, and anything that didn’t go according to plan. By reflecting on my day, I can determine all of these things.
This allows me to see how my energy evolves throughout the day so that I can tweak my days accordingly and, if I find a harmful cycle in my daily routine, I can bring awareness to it through reflection and adjust.
I also like to take time to think of all I’m grateful for from the day, because it helps me close out the day on a positive note.
Plan the next day //
Once I finish reflecting, I plan my next day. Usually, I plan my week in advance, but I like to tweak it the night before to ensure I stay on track with my goals. Also, some things may come up throughout the week and taking time to create space for that is important to me.
This step is probably the most important for my mental health, because it allows me to relax and not think about what I need to do once I finish planning.
Clean kitchen and tidy the house //
I maybe a broken record for continually saying this, but going to bed with a clean kitchen introduces me to a wonderful morning! There is nothing like waking up to a clean kitchen, because it already feels like a major task is complete for the day.
By also tidying the house, I’m allowing myself to reset for the next day, which also helps to improve my quality of sleep.
Load and schedule the dishwasher //
I wanted to include this separately from the previous point to share something of value with you.
When you schedule your dishwasher to run in the middle of the night, you are reducing your energy consumption and utility bill. During the evening hours, you’re being charged for “prime time”, because that is when most people are home and using electricity.
It is more expensive than using energy in the middle of the night, because far less people are using electricity at that time.
The other beautiful thing about this is that you can open the dishwasher in the morning and unload the dishwasher so that loading it again is effortless.
Prep Coffee //
While I love when I wake up early to start my day, it isn’t the easiest thing to accomplish. By prepping my coffee the night before, I give myself a great reason to get out of bed. It is truly my favorite thing to wake up to now.
Quick tip: If you can hear your coffee pot brewing in the morning, set it to start 5-10 minutes before your alarm goes off. This can gently wake you in a much happier way than a buzzing alarm.
Pick tomorrow’s outfit //
Our brains can only make so many decisions a day, and I don’t want to waste my prime time decisions on what I’m going to wear.
Related Post: Create a Capsule Wardrobe; My Project 333 Experience
Wash my face //
When I wash my face, I’m telling myself that my day is complete and it is time to wind down my thoughts. It is also helpful to prevent wrinkles and keeps my pores clean.
Fun fact: Did you know that when you go to bed with makeup on your face, you’re aging your skin by a full week? Scary right?!
Related Post: Minimalist Beauty Routine
Read a book //
I opt to pick up a book before bed versus my phone. I enjoy reading and learning new things, but I especially love how calming it is for my body.
Normally, I try to read for 20 minutes, but sometimes I read a bit longer depending on where I am in the chapter or how tired I am.
Related Post: Homesteading Books: My Current Collection and Wish List
Stretch a little //
Right before I get cozy for sleep, I do a few light stretches to keep my body flexible. I’ve noticed a large improvement in how I feel in the morning by doing this, which is great motivation to keep doing it.
When I say light stretches, I focus on my neck, arms, and back mostly. Just some gentle movements that feel good.
Things I avoid in my nightly routine
There are many things that are great for a nightly routine, but there are a few that can harm it, too.
Here are the things I specifically avoid:
Getting on my phone at bedtime //
Besides the effect blue light has on my eyes [even with using night mode], the apps are stimulating. My brain forgets it is bedtime and any chance I have of going to sleep at a decent time is forgotten.
Related Post: Smartphone Detox: It’s Time to Simplify Your Life
Snacking is another thing that stimulates the body and prevents it from sleeping well. I avoid food a couple of hours before bed to ensure that my stomach has adequate time to digest my supper.
I actually cut off caffeine at lunch time, because I’m pretty sensitive to it. If I’m having a super low day, I may have a 2pm coffee, but outside of that very rare occasion, I avoid caffeine.
How I established my nightly routine
I’ve worked to improve my nightly routine for the past couple of years. What I’ve explained to you didn’t happen over night. It took being consistently intentional with my routine, trying different things, and habit stacking.
Starting small //
My nightly routine started with going to bed with a clean kitchen. I just wanted to ensure that I didn’t wake up feeling like I had a mountain of things to accomplish first thing in the morning.
Once that became effortless for me, I added another thing. I continued this cycle until I created the routine you are reading about today.
Setting reminders //
When I really wanted to uplevel my nightly routine, I set a few reminders in my phone to help me.
One that I still use today is also in conjunction with my alarm. It is the bedtime feature in my iPhone Clock App. It tells me goodnight thirty minutes before my optimal bedtime. This helps me calm down, especially if I’ve gotten carried away in a conversation with my husband. It doesn’t end the conversation, but keeps me mindful of how chatty I am.
Early wake up time //
Believe it or not, having an early wake up time helped me establish my nightly routine.
I’ve not always been an early riser. In fact, it is something I am consistently working to improve.
I started asking myself, “What I can do today to make tomorrow easier?” I came up with a list of ideas that helped me actually wake up early, which is how preparing my coffee ended up in my nightly routine.
Morning reflections //
Just as I reflect on my day, I reflect on my nightly routine. I think about what I enjoyed, how I slept, and how that improved my chances of success for the day ahead.
The consistent reflection of my routine allows me to tweak things so that I always get the maximum benefit from it.
If you’re ready to start your own nightly routine, I encourage you to start small and do as much self-reflection as possible. Getting to know what will help you sleep well and have a better morning will help you know exactly what to include in your nightly routine.
To make this easier for you, check out my 30 Journal Prompts for Self-Discovery Workbook! It’s located in my FREE Resource Library that includes several other resources you’ll find helpful, too!
Having an intentional nightly routine not only helps you succeed with a better morning, but it is also a great form of self-care. You’re giving your mind and body what it needs to have a better tomorrow, and that goes a long ways to living a more intentional life.
Don’t be a scrambler in the mornings. Instead take action the night before to create a better morning for yourself, and as a result, create a great day!