The Bedtime Routine That Regulates My Sleep

Up until January of 2019, I did not have a bedtime routine nor an actual bedtime like I do now. I worked two jobs for 6 years – the second job was always as a restaurant server so my schedule tended to be all over the place. Even though I had a day job during the week, I would to just go to bed whenever I felt like it – meaning that I was often not getting sufficient sleep. Somehow, I managed to get by for all of those years…

The problems with my nonexistent sleep routine really started to interfere with my life when I accepted a full time position that allowed me to drop my second job. I was free from working late into the evenings, although now I was often required to be at my desk by 7:30am. At first, that was a NIGHTMARE for me as I typically didn’t go to bed until after midnight. But once 2019 rolled around, I decided that enough was enough and it was time to get my act together! I did some research and found that I needed to put together a bedtime routine in order to be able to go to sleep on time which then makes waking up so much easier.

Because I chose to start making a conscious effort to go to bed at a decent time, I began to wake up feeling refreshed and energized! After consistently sticking to this routine, over time I’ve become the morning person that I’ve always wanted to be! I can confidently say that I’m now “that person” – the one who wakes up at 5:00am to get a workout in before heading to work. Ask me three years ago if I would do that and I would’ve laughed in your face! So if I can make a massive change like this, so can YOU.

Below is my personal bedtime routine that I adhere to on a regular basis in order to fall asleep at the appropriate time to get adequate sleep…

  1. At 9:00pm, my iPhone’s bedtime mode turns on and I no longer touch my phone until the next morning when my alarm goes off. (learn more and how to use the iPhone’s Bedtime mode here)
  2. Hop into the shower and wash the day away
  3. Take any nightly medication along with a melatonin tablet if needed
  4. Heat up the teapot and brew a cup of caffeine-free herbal tea
  5. Foam roll and/or do a little light stretching
  6. Crawl into bed!
  7. Write in my Gratitude Journal what I’m grateful for from the day that just ended
  8. Read a book for 15-20 minutes (sometimes more if I’m waiting for the melatonin to kick in)

Tips for creating your own bedtime routine

Establish when you need to be asleep. For example, if you need to be awake by 6am everyday to begin getting ready for work and your body requires roughly 8 hours of sleep each night, you’ll want to make sure you’re asleep by about 10pm each night. While it used to be recommended that everyone needs 8 hours of sleep per night, this is not always the case. I, for example, only need about 6.5-7 hours of sleep to wake up feeling fully rested. Therefore, if I needed to be awake by 6am, I’d make sure to try to be asleep by 11pm each night. If you’re unsure of how much sleep you need each night and you own a smart watch, such as a FitBit or an Apple Watch, try sleeping in your watch for at least a week (preferably a month or longer) to allow it to collect data for you which will help you determine how much sleep you should try to aim for each night. For Apple Watch owners, check out this article to learn more about the sleep tracking capabilities. For FitBit owners, use this article

Decide how long of a “wind-down” period you need. For those of you who can easily fall asleep, you may not need a full hour to wind-down before bed. However, Rise Science Medical Reviewer and Sleep Doctor, Dr. Chester Wu, states, “I recommend my patients avoid screens about an hour before bed.” That said, if you need to be asleep by about 10pm, it would be best to start winding down around 9pm. 

Determine whether you prefer to shower at night or in the morning. When I originally wrote this article back in 2020, I was taking showers at night because I exercised in the evenings after work. However, since then my life has changed and I now work out in the morning before work, therefore I’ve now switched over to morning showers. This has caused my bedtime routine to change and I’m now making more time for reading or journaling in place of taking an evening shower. Determining when you plan to take a shower each day will help you better plan out your bedtime routine.

Find light activities you can do in bed that do not involve electronics. My go-to bedtime activity is reading a physical book (what can I say? I’m a huge nerd!). For those of you who aren’t into reading, there are plenty of other options! You could spend this time journaling, doing a crossword or sudoku puzzle, adding beautiful hues to a coloring page, practicing your crochet/knitting skills, etc. I also find that putting away my phone an hour before bed allows me to unplug from the world, something we all need to try to do on a regular basis.  

Make note of any additional tasks you need to accomplish before crawling into bed. This could include drinking a calming nighttime tea, brushing your teeth, washing your face or doing a daily face mask, brushing your hair, etc. Remember, you don’t have to spend the whole hour before bed reading, you can spend this time doing other non-electronic tasks and activities instead. 

Final Thoughts

Remember, there is no right or wrong way to establish a bedtime routine – there’s just the way that works best for you! Additionally, no routine is set in stone. If your schedule changes (say you changed jobs or started taking evening classes that run late), you should adjust your routine alongside your new schedule.

I hope you find some of these tips useful and consider creating a bedtime routine of your own! For more useful tips, click here to receive a free copy of The Ultimate Guide to the Best Nights Sleep. I promise you, it’s totally worth it. 😉


Ready for more? Check out one of these articles below to continue the fun!

Published by Bailey Reber

Hi friends! Welcome to the world of Hey Bails, where you will get a glimpse of all the things I get myself into! Explore the world with me, check up on my progress learning the Hindi language, hear about my journey with mental health & bipolar 2 disorder via my podcast (Distressed to Joyful; Bailey's Way) and learn how to do a variety of DIY projects with me, such as crafting and beauty tutorials. So, what are you waiting for? Let's start having FUN!

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