Last Updated on August 4, 2022
It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Hours are spent running from place to place and our minds are constantly shifting from task to task.
At the end of a long and busy day, it can be difficult to wind down. Rather than focusing on relaxation, we are often preparing for the next morning and all of the to-do’s that are waiting for us. Our brains are busy organizing a mental checklist so we can complete the next series of tasks – without taking the time to pause and appreciate the things we’ve already achieved.
Relaxation is a critical part of self-care and a necessary (and well deserved) part of our day. This is especially true at night. A good night’s sleep will help to ensure you are ready for what’s to come. Sleep quality, however, is often compromised by our inability to let go and relax.
If you want to know more about how to relax in the evening, you’ve come to the right place, my friend. In this article, we’ll share strategies for creating an evening routine that will help to ensure a restful night.
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The Benefits of Slowing Down in the Evening
Why is slowing down in the evening so important? Well, it is known that most adults in the United States do not get the amount of sleep needed to keep their brains sharp and their bodies healthy. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one in three adults does not get enough sleep regularly in this country.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that individuals aged 18-60 years get at least seven hours of sleep each night. This is the minimum amount needed to promote optimal health and wellbeing. While many things can affect one’s quality of sleep, slowing down in the evening can help.
There are many benefits associated with winding down at the end of the day with a relaxing evening. First, creating an evening routine that soothes a stimulated nervous system can set us up for better sleep. If we go to bed with an activated nervous system, it can make it more difficult to fall asleep and achieve a deep, restful slumber.
Second, slowing down in the evening can help us process our day. It provides us an opportunity to reflect on our achievements and practice gratitude. Additionally, it allows us to filter out our worries, so we do not bring them to bed with us. A concerned mind makes it much more challenging to get a restful night’s sleep.
Create an Evening Routine for Consistency
Creating an evening routine can help foster relaxation and better prepare us for a good night’s sleep. Evening routines vary from person to person but typically involve a few calming activities like meditation, journaling, or taking a hot bath.
What brings relaxation and peace to one may not bring the same sense of calm to another, so everyone’s evening routine is going to look and feel a bit different. The most important thing is having one!
However, don’t get discouraged if you’ve never established a routine or have fallen out of an existing one. It can be difficult to get back into the flow, but not impossible.
Coming up, we’ll provide eight suggestions for crafting a sustainable evening routine that’ll get you where you need to be.
How to Relax in the Evening: 8 Healthy Options
Whether you are looking to establish a bedtime routine or revisit one, here are eight inspiring ideas and tips to help you get started on a path to ongoing self-care and a healthier lifestyle.
1. Set a Consistent Time to Go to Bed
The setting, and sticking to, a regular bedtime is not just for kids. Adults need a consistent bedtime, too! This helps your body adjust to a set schedule, so it knows when to go to sleep and it knows when to wake up. Going to bed at the same time every night prompts your mind and body to recognize it is time for sleep, which helps with relaxation.
Many people find it helpful to set an alarm on their phones to remind them of their selected bedtime. Over time, this new routine will become a habit.
2. Make the Bedroom Your Sanctuary
Creating a cozy oasis can help you achieve a relaxing environment and secure a good night’s sleep. It is an element of good sleep hygiene, which enables you to get quality rest night after night.
What are some things you can do to make your bedroom your sanctuary? Warm colors can help. If you have an opportunity to paint your room, you should pick a color that is soothing and not visually stimulating. A comfortable, clutter-free layout can support good sleep, as well.
Be sure to minimize outside noise and use a fan or sleep machine if you find white noise to be helpful. The temperature of your bedroom should be cool and comfortable. If it is too hot or too cold, it will not be conducive to good sleep.
3. Sip on a Warm, Calming Drink
Another healthy option to consider for your bedtime routine is sipping on a warm, calming drink. Herbal tea, for example, is good if it is caffeine-free. A warm cup of milk, hot cocoa, or warm bone broth can be viable alternatives.
If you enjoy tea, try sipping on a cup of chamomile tea in the evening to help de-stress and enjoy a calmer evening.
A warm liquid before bed can help you feel calmer and more relaxed. It is important to avoid caffeinated drinks or drinks that include a lot of sugar right before bed as this will interrupt your body’s natural ability to prepare itself for sleep.
4. Journal – Get Thoughts out of Your Head
One of the reasons many of us struggle with proper rest is because our minds race. Often, we lay in bed and are unable to shut off our brains. As hard as we try, they continue to replay the events of the day and entertain all our pending “to-do’s.” This can be exhausting!
A good strategy for helping the mind relax is journaling. It can be helpful to keep a pad of paper and pen or pencil handy by your bedside to jot down any thoughts or items you wish to remember. This allows you to get it out of your head and onto paper, so you don’t have to keep thinking about it. The less on your mind, the better quality your sleep will be.
5. Evening Skincare Routine
Another helpful strategy is to adopt an evening skincare routine. This can mean washing your face and putting moisturizer on at a certain time every night. Perhaps there is a particular soap or skincare product you use at night to support your skin while you sleep.
Not only can the warm water feel good on your face as you pamper yourself, but this simple routine can trigger feelings of sleepiness. It prompts your mind and body to wind down for the evening and prepare for sleep.
Encourage a good night’s rest by giving your body a relaxing bubble bath, with some essential oils and background of soothing music.
6. Step Away from Electronics
This is probably one of the most critical sleep time strategies you could employ! Our bodies naturally follow a 24-hour schedule. It is natural for us to be awake when it is light out and asleep when it is dark.
Certain types of household lights, as well as the blue light that is emitted from electronic devices, can interfere with our body’s natural schedule. It’s best to avoid electronics (televisions, phones, tablets, etc.) for at least half an hour before bedtime.
You may want to keep your electronics in a separate space or a drawer, so you’re not tempted to use them in the bedroom. Making your bedroom a phone-free zone is recommended.
If you must use a device or have it near you, put it on night-time mode which can help reduce the amount of blue light emitted. While this can be a difficult thing to do at first, it will become a more comfortable habit over time.
7. Meditation, Prayer, Light Yoga
Many people turn to meditation or prayer to help them unwind, calm their minds, and foster a sense of peace. These are two great no-cost, easy-to-do activities to add to your bedtime routine.
If meditation or prayer is not for you, light yoga may help. While physical movement may seem counterintuitive to getting a good night’s sleep, it can help calm your nervous system, refocus your mind, and help you stretch out.
There are several free apps and online resources that you can reference to support you in this part of your journey.
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Lastly, reading can be another great strategy to add to your repertoire. While many people nowadays read on a tablet or other electronic device, how about picking up a good old-fashioned book before bed. (what a novel idea!) This will help to prevent the blue light we mentioned earlier.
Reading helps us escape from reality. It can help us calm our minds as we get lost in the storyline of our favorite characters. It is an effective way to lure yourself to sleep.
Best of all, a good night’s sleep helps us remember what we read. While reading can help us sleep better, better sleep can help us process, learn, and retain information more efficiently.
Final Thoughts: How to Relax in the Evening
Good sleep is critical to our health and wellbeing. According to the Sleep Foundation, sleep is an active process and essential function that allows our minds and bodies to refuel and recharge.
Sadly, many of us struggle with sleep. It can be difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Our minds may race, and we may be unable to settle down for the night. This can compromise our ability to function properly from day to day.
Creating a calming bedtime routine that helps you relax in the evening does not have to be hard. While we suggested eight ways to help you get started, there are many more strategies you can explore to set the stage for a good night’s sleep and optimal health for years to come.