21 Evening Routine Habits to Wind Down


David Em

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The things you do before bed affect your sleep quality and how you feel in the morning. Learn tips and habits to form the ultimate evening routine.

Person reading on a couch.
Photo by David Em/Relaxation Hero.

Sleep is an essential part of life. It gives your mind and body time to rest and recover.

Enough sleep can also prevent sicknesses.

If you’re not getting enough sleep, create an evening routine to help you wind down.

There are different habits you can do to prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep.

Then, you’ll also wake up with energy and be ready for a productive day.

The following are the tips and habits to form your evening routine.

Related: Inspirational Self-Care Quotes

Why you need an evening routine

Bed and nightstand with a lamp on.
Photo by David Em/Relaxation Hero.

If you don’t sleep well or have mental clutter in the mornings, many habits can help.

An evening routine helps your mind and body know the time of day.

It clears your mind while helping you prepare for sleeping and the next day.

When following an evening routine, be consistent with it to get the best results.

It’ll help your body’s internal clock so you sleep well and wake up with energy.

Now that you know an evening routine is significant, the following are habit ideas to help you create one.

Prepare for tomorrow

Evening routine to prepare for the next day.
Photo by David Em/Relaxation Hero.

Get ready the night before to increase productivity and stay calm in the morning.

You already have a lot of pressure in the morning. So, finding ways to do less is essential.

The following are ways to prepare for the next day, the night before.

1. Clean up

There’s a lot to do in the morning. Save yourself some effort and clean up tonight.

Do the dishes, wipe the counters, and tidy up. Pick up things around your home and put them back where they belong.

You don’t have to do a deep clean. Focus on the dishes and surfaces.

It feels good to wind down and sleep in a clean home.

2. Meal prep

Prepare your breakfast and lunch the night before.

While it depends on what you plan to eat, meal prep is an excellent way to save time in the morning.

Overnight oats or burritos are breakfast foods to prepare the night before.

You can save more time by eating yogurt, toast, or eggs.

Lunch foods take a little longer to prepare. Ideas of things you can make are layered salads, pasta, or casserole.

Meal prep is an excellent way to know what you’ll eat and have it ready.

3. Prepare an outfit

Avoid the feeling of not knowing what to wear by preparing an outfit.

It ensures you have clean clothes, and you’ll pair things together that look good.

It’s one less thing to think about in the morning.

4. Plan your day

One of the most significant parts of an evening routine is setting a plan for the next day.

Review your schedule, create a plan, and make a to-do list.

It helps your mind prepare for the next day and prevents you from overthinking.

You can look at it in the morning and focus on execution.

Make a plan the night before to give yourself a head start on the next day.

5. Pack for tomorrow

Whatever you need for the next day, pack it the night before.

It can be putting your laptop in your work bag or packing clothes in your gym bag.

When you prepare the items you need, it frees up time in the morning. It makes it more peaceful and productive.

Packing your things the night before also ensures you don’t forget anything.

After packing, you can put all your belongings near the door. Everything will be ready for you to grab and go.

Winding down for the evening

Evening routine to wind down.
Photo by David Em/Relaxation Hero.

After doing your tasks, eating dinner, and watching a show, it’s time to wind down.

The purpose of the unwinding time is to clear your mind and relax your body.

It prepares you for a good night’s sleep.

The following are different things you can do to wind down.

1. Drink a bedtime tea

Almost all herbal teas are caffeine-free, making it the perfect evening drink.

A warm cup of tea is comforting, tasty, and can offer vitamins.

Avoid drinking too many fluids in the evening, as you may wake up to use the bathroom.

Instead, make yourself a small cup of tea a few hours before bed.

Chamomile, lavender, valerian root, and nighttime blends are excellent choices.

Sip on a bedtime tea to relax your mind and body.

2. Listen to calm music

Calm music will soothe you and help you unwind.

Classical, jazz, soft pop, folk, and chill electronic music are excellent options.

Choose music that makes you feel calm and happy.

It’ll be easier to fall asleep when you go to bed in a good mood.

3. Practice meditation

Meditation is a practice that can reduce stress and make you feel calm.

It also helps you be present and aware of your thoughts and feelings.

You’ll clear your mind and gain clarity when you meditate.

It’s an excellent practice to relax and unwind in the evening.

The best types of meditation for calming down include mindfulness, mantra, and visualization.

4. Stretch or do yoga

Yoga and stretching are two fantastic ways to relax and calm down. They both relieve stress and tension in your body.

It’s also soothing to hold a stretch or yoga pose.

You can do a few stretches or a bedtime yoga sequence like moon salutation.

While you wind down, you’ll also increase flexibility, prevent injuries, and boost mindfulness. You get several benefits in one.

5. Journal

If you have mental clutter, falling asleep will be challenging.

Write down your thoughts in a journal without filters. As you write all that you feel, you’ll experience relief.

It also helps you work through your thoughts and overcome obstacles.

Journaling can be an excellent way to celebrate your day. You can write about your accomplishments and things that made you happy.

It’s a calming activity that’ll prepare your mind for bed.

6. Read a book

Read a book to reduce stress and calm down before bed. The type of book also matters.

Avoid inspiring or horror books, as they’ll prevent you from sleeping.

Relaxing books that slow your heart rate is essential.

Begin reading 15-30 minutes before you want to sleep. It’ll give you enough time to relax and get into the book.

7. Spend time with family or pets

After a long day, invest quality time in your family, partner, or pet.

You can cuddle, talk, play a game, or read together.

It’s also good to express gratitude to increase feelings of love and appreciation.

Spending time with those you love will help you wind down and boost your happiness.

8. Put away electronics

A cut-off time for electronics makes a significant difference in your sleep quality.

Put away your devices at least 30 minutes before going to bed.

Blue light and mental stimulation can distract and prevent you from feeling sleepy.

The goal isn’t to be alert in the evening. Instead, you want to unwind and be ready to sleep.

So, find the ideal time to put away your electronics to get quality rest.

It should be at least 30 minutes. The longer, the better.

Get ready for bed

Evening routine to get ready for bed.
Photo by David Em/Relaxation Hero.

After winding down, you’ll start to feel sleepy. Now, it’s time to get ready for bed.

The following are ways to make the bedroom comfortable and relax further.

1. Dim the lights

Light makes you feel alert. As you get ready for bed, dim the lights. If you can’t, turn off as many as you can.

Create an environment that prepares your mind and body for sleep.

After dimming or turning off the lights, close your curtains to darken the room.

2. Shower or take a warm bath

A shower ensures you’re clean and comfortable before bed.

You can also take a warm bath if you have more time. Soaking in a tub is relaxing and helps you sleep better.

Whether showering or bathing, you’ll prepare your body for a good night’s sleep.

3. Brush your teeth

Dental care is essential because it protects your teeth, gums, and well-being.

Brush your teeth, floss, and use mouthwash before bed. It cleans your mouth and teeth from dinner.

Practicing good oral care also prevents bacteria and build-up from occurring at night.

4. Cool down your bedroom

If your bedroom is too warm, you’ll have trouble falling asleep. It makes you uncomfortable and sweaty.

Before going to bed, cool down your room. Use air conditioning, a fan, or open your windows.

The ideal temperature depends on what you find comfortable. It can be between 63 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cooling down your room prevents you from tossing and turning all night.

Instead, you’ll sleep through the night and be comfortable.

5. Try aromatherapy

Aromatherapy uses essential oils to relax you and help you sleep better.

Use calming scents like lavender, ylang-ylang, and chamomile.

You can put a few drops in a diffuser or smell the bottle.

Aromatherapy is an excellent way to prepare for bed because it eases your mind and body.

6. Practice gratitude

Gratitude fills you with positive emotions. When you acknowledge the good things in life, you feel better.

It helps you to focus on the present and have a positive outlook.

Gratitude is also a fantastic way to prepare for bed. You can improve your sleep quality by being thankful.

It works because it relieves stress, which can keep you up at night.

Before trying to sleep, adopt an attitude of gratitude.

7. Do progressive muscle relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation is an exercise that targets different muscle groups.

You tense and relax each muscle, increasing awareness and feelings of calmness.

Start with your forehead and work your way down to your feet. Tighten each area for 15 and release over 30 seconds.

You’ll start to get sleepy and calm as you release tension.

8. Calm your breathing and go to sleep

Breathing exercises are an excellent way to fall asleep.

Once you get under the covers, try a breathing technique to doze off.

The 4-7-8 breathing technique is one of the most popular methods.

You can do it by inhaling through your nose for 4 seconds. Then, hold your breath for 7 seconds and exhale for 8 seconds.

Belly breathing is another excellent method.

Put one hand above your belly button and the other on your chest. Then, inhale through your nose.

Make sure your chest stays still, with only your stomach rising. Then, exhale and feel your belly fall.

Repeat for 15 to 20 breaths.

Breathing exercises relax your mind and body. You’ll be ready to sleep soon after.

Final thoughts

The steps you take leading up to going to sleep are significant.

They help you wind down for the night and prepare for the next day.

There are many ways to relax after a long day.

Use the evening routine habits to help you fall asleep and be your best tomorrow.

Related: The Most Calming Colors

Featured image by David Em/Relaxation Hero.

David Em.

David Em

David Em is the Founder of Relaxation Hero. He created this site to provide tips and resources to help you relax. Outside of Relaxation Hero, David is the CEO of Everyone Media Group. He also enjoys hiking, running, and traveling.