⌄ Scroll down to continue ⌄
Last Updated on

Habit, Productivity, Sleep & Rest

Night Routine Guide to Sleeping Better and Waking Up Productive

Written by Leon Ho
Founder & CEO of Lifehack
Reviewed by Olivia Arezzolo
Olivia Arezzolo is Australia’s leading Sleep Expert, Speaker and Author.

Fact Checked. Our dedicated editorial team tirelessly evaluates every article we publish to ensure the information is factual, up-to-date and free of bias.

⌄ Scroll down to continue ⌄

I’m sure you’ve come across “morning routines” being talked about as something very important if you want to be healthy and successful. However, I’m guessing you haven’t heard of “night routines” being talked about so much.

Bedtime routines are not popular, as sticking to a healthy routine isn’t easy, especially at night after a whole day of work. Let’s be honest, all we’d really like to do after work is relax. Routines? Not so much!

I understand your feelings about this issue as I used to think this way, too. But after reading this article, I’m confident you’ll change your mind – as you’ll learn about the fantastic benefits of a bedtime routine (e.g. no more sleep issues, a smoother morning, and a more energetic day).

I’m going to provide you with some great tips (and some exact steps) to make the perfect night routine.

Why a Night Routine Matters

Your nighttime routine is as important as your morning routine.

By creating a routine for the morning, you don’t have to put much effort into thinking about what you need to do to get ready before leaving your home for work. Clearly, having a morning routine is beneficial. And guess what? Having a night routine is beneficial too.

Here are some three benefits of having a decent bedtime routine:

  • You’ll have a more restful and higher-quality sleep.[1]
  • You’ll be able to tackle the morning in a smoother and more productive way.[2]
  • Your brain will be sharper throughout the next day.[3]

So, what are the ideal components of a night routine? I’ll reveal these now.

The Ultimate Night Routine (With Exact Steps to Follow)

Before You Head Home…

1. Get Rid of Caffeine After 4:00PM

Your night routine begins well before your head hits the pillow. If you work a 9 to 5, you need to think about how everything you do after 4:00pm affects your sleep.

For example caffeine stay in your system for an average of 3.7 hours.[4] If you’re accustomed to having a cup of tea in the evening, make sure it’s an herbal, caffeine-free tea. Otherwise, you might be jittery until 10:00pm or later.


2. Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can make you feel sluggish and tired when you want to be awake. You can’t go wrong with having some good old-fashioned H2O throughout the evening.[5]

3. Decide When the Work Day Ends

To have a solid night routine, you must decide when you’re leaving work. It’s easy to lose track of time and stay too late. Establish a cut off time for work-related emails and phone calls as well.

If you don’t set boundaries, it’s hard to enjoy life and get a good night of sleep. [6]

Immediately After Work…

1. Avoid Alcohol

If you’re heading out with friends, be mindful of your alcohol intake. Alcohol may make you drowsy, but your sleep won’t be restful. Skip the booze altogether, or stop consuming it at least three hours before bed.[7]

2. Have a Healthy Dinner

Aim to have your dinner a few hours before you go to bed. Overeating or having heavy or rich meals around bedtime may lead to sleep deprivation.[8] When you need a snack closer to bedtime, reach for something light and healthy.

The time immediately after dinner is a great opportunity to pack a lunch for the next day. Pull items from the freezer and package leftovers from dinner into individual servings.


Check out here for 19 Quick and Healthy Dinner Recipes For You To Choose.

3. Take Time to Tidy

Being in an organized environment will help you feel relaxed and in control. Cleaning dishes and countertops after dinner is an absolute must.

You can also take some time to put things away if you’ve used them during the day. Be mindful of clutter in your bedroom. Waking up in an orderly space will work wonders for your mood.

4. Prepare for Tomorrow

Get out tomorrow’s outfit and gym clothes as you tidy. Clear unnecessary items out of your bag and set out everything you need to take with you. Taking these steps means you’re less likely to derail your day by forgetting something, and you’ll prevent decision fatigue from setting in early tomorrow.

When you don’t have a million things to do upon waking, it’s easier to fall asleep. Waking up won’t seem like a chore if you set yourself up for success.


5. Take Time for Yourself

Perhaps you watch an episode of your favorite show or play video games. Set a time limit for these activities. It’s too easy to binge-watch TV or stay up late playing games if you aren’t mindful of the time.

One Hour Before Bed…

1. Step Away From the Screens

Cut off all screens at least 30 minutes before bed. The blue light from electronics interferes with the production of melatonin, a hormone necessary for restful sleep.[9]

2. Read a Book

A better alternative to looking at your phone is to read a book. Reading can ease stress in the human body and calm your nerves.[10]

3. Reflect on Your Day

Consider what worked and didn’t work today. This helps you appreciate your accomplishments and shape a better tomorrow.[11]

Start by acknowledging one or two things you wish you had done better. End your reflection by thinking of a few wins you had. Even if you had a bad day, make an effort to end by thinking about something good that happened.

Write lingering thoughts or reflections in your journal. This keeps you from going to bed with a head full of worries. Find out how you can start journaling here.

4. Plot Out Tomorrow’s Schedule

Write your top priorities for tomorrow in a planner or notebook. When you get to work, you’ll already know what to do.

5. Give Some Gratitude

Write down at least one thing you’re thankful for each day. Making gratitude a part of your routine can help you lead a healthy and happy life. Here are 60 things to be thankful for if you want more ideas.

You can try to mark down your mood every day, and you may have plenty to be happy about. Tracking your moods has helped people manage their lifestyle choices, make health decisions if necessary, and learn more about themselves.


Ending the day on a positive note sets you up for a restful slumber.

Right Before Going to Sleep…

1. Take Care of Hygiene Rituals

Besides brushing your teeth and washing your face, take a warm bath or hot shower before bed.

The optimal body temperature for sleep should be between 60 and 67 degrees.[12] As soon as you step out of the bath or shower, your body temperature drops rapidly to re-regulate with the temperature of the room. That quick change physiologically can cause sleepiness.

2. Practice Bedtime Yoga

Bedtime yoga activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which triggers relaxation.[13]

3. Go to Sleep at the Same Time Every Night

As an adult, you’re recommended to sleep for 6 to 10 daily.[14] If you have to wake up at 7 am the next day, it’s better to go to sleep around 11 pm.

Find a time that is suitable for you and stick to that sleeping time. You can set the alarm one hour before bed to remind you to start your bedtime ritual.


How to Stick to a Night Routine (The Easy Way)

When I just started my night routine, I started off with a positive mindset and thought that it would be easy to stick to my new bedtime routine.

I was wrong.

On the first few nights, I experienced multiple issues while attempting to stick to my routine. These included avoiding caffeine after 4 pm because I liked drinking coke, stepping away from the screens while still reading some articles online, and going to bed on time.

But I was determined to get on track with my night routine because I wanted to sleep better and wake up more energetic and productive the next day. By the fourth day, I was making genuine progress.

I stopped consuming coke and started to drink more water instead. I reflected on my day and kept track of my progress on what I had followed and missed in the routine. I started to go to bed on time and could sleep a lot better.

By the end of the week, I had successfully overcome many problems I had when I started out and could continue to stick to my night routine.


Sticking to a night routine was a ‘mind game.’ In other words, our minds are so full of the daily stuff that we find it hard to wind down at the end of a day – especially at a specific time. But with effort, this could be overcome, and a new, healthy routine could be implemented.

Night Routine Guide to Sleeping Better and Waking Up Productive

Tips to Creating a Night Routine

Recommended actionable tasks to benefit immediately
5 Actions
Night Routine Guide to Sleeping Better and Waking Up Productive
Have a Clear Plan: Think about what you want to include in your night routine and then write it down. Make it as clear and simple as possible, so you’ll have the best chance of following it.
Night Routine Guide to Sleeping Better and Waking Up Productive
Create Reminders and Alarms: Use digital alarms to remind you when to go to bed and start your night routine.
Night Routine Guide to Sleeping Better and Waking Up Productive
Start Small: If you set too big a goal, you’ll be lining yourself up for failure. It’s far better to choose smaller and easier-to-complete goals that will give you a sense of achievement.
Night Routine Guide to Sleeping Better and Waking Up Productive
Track your progress: You can do this by getting a physical or digital calendar and ticking off each day you practiced your routine.
Night Routine Guide to Sleeping Better and Waking Up Productive
Make It So Easy That You Can’t Say No: You can do this by making sure you are prepared for each activity. For example, if you want to have healthier dinners, plan your meals ahead of time on Sundays.

Final Thoughts

Starting a routine is a gradual process and might seem difficult at first because it can be very hard to break bad habits. However, with consistent effort, you’ll get there.

Before reading this article, night routines may have seemed alien to you. However, I’m confident that you can now see the tangible benefits of them.

Once you begin implementing your own bedtime routine, you’ll see the benefits start to materialize in your own life.

Featured photo credit: Julian Hochgesang via unsplash.com


⌄ Scroll down to continue ⌄
⌄ Scroll down to continue ⌄
⌄ Scroll down to continue ⌄
⌄ Scroll down to continue ⌄
⌄ Scroll down to continue ⌄