28 Simple Self Care Night Routine Ideas for Relaxation

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When asked where your “health and wellbeing” lie on your priority list, I would imagine most people would put it somewhere up top.

But, if we all took a moment to analyse how we live our lives, I’m willing to bet many of those same people would be surprised that their lifestyle suggests otherwise.

Truth is, with the demands of modern life, if you want your health and wellbeing to truly be a top priority, it’s essential to carve out time for self-care. And we’re not talking about having a “self care day” every once in a while – we’re talking about daily actions and habits that reflect truly caring for yourself consistently.

This is why I’m such a big fan of self care routines! Routines allow you to engage in repeatable habits that have a consistent impact on your health and wellbeing. In my opinion, they reflect a deep respect for yourself.

And, while morning routines get a lot of buzz when it comes to self care, I believe that we should all be equally big fans of evening routines! Truth is, a good nightly self-care routine can work wonders for your wellbeing, helping you to unwind, de-stress, and prepare for a restful night’s sleep.

So, in this blog post, we’re exploring the importance of a good self care night routine, and I’ll provide you with 30 simple yet powerful ideas to incorporate into your evenings. Let’s get into it.

the ultimate self care night routine

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The Importance of a Nightly Self Care Routine

As the day winds down and we’re preparing to sleep, it’s easy to neglect our true needs in favour of “revenge procrastination” like scrolling through social media, or catching up on emails.

However, taking the time to prioritise self-care before bedtime isn’t just a quirky wellness trend – it’s essential for both our physical and mental health.

According to sleep experts, like those at the Sleep Foundation, establishing a consistent bedtime routine helps to regulate our circadian rhythm, which signals to our bodies that it’s time to prepare for sleep. This can lead to improved sleep quality, which is essential for overall wellbeing.

Not only this, engaging in self-care activities before bed has been shown to have a positive impact on our mental health. Research suggests that practising gratitude and relaxation techniques before bedtime can reduce stress and anxiety, also promoting a more restful night’s sleep. 

Truth is, sleep is one of the most important factors for our overall health and well-being. Don’t believe me? Just read “Why We Sleep” by Dr Matt Walker. With this in mind, anything that promotes better sleep is a win in my book!

Research aside, a self care night routine has been an absolute essential for me in recent years, when I’ve gone through periods of struggling with sleep onset insomnia (the inability to fall asleep).

Many of the self care night routine ideas in this list have been a pivotal part of improving that, and are now non-negotiables for me as the day comes to a close. I think you’ll find many of them helpful too!

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04/17/2024 12:54 pm GMT

28 Self-Care Night Routine Ideas to Help You Unwind and Relax

Whether you’re struggling with sleep, or you’re just looking for more ideas to honour your health and wellbeng, here are some powerful self care night routine ideas to help you unwind and relax.

Winding Down for Night Time

Many people make the mistake of thinking they can go from being fully focused and engaged during the day, to immediately falling asleep when they hit the pillow.

On the contrary, our bodies need to wind down and prepare for sleep through a whole host of biological functions, like lowering our core temperature. But, without cues that the day is coming to an end, it can be difficult for our circadian rhythms to operate optimally.

These self care ideas are perfect for early evening to kickstart the process of winding down for nighttime, and ensure you’re sleepy when you get into bed!

  1. Take a short walk: a short walk outside can help to clear your mind and reduce stress after a long day of work. Plus, exposing yourself to natural light as the sun goes down is beneficial for your circadian rhythm!
  2. Switch to a calming movie or TV show: watching something too engaging in the evening hours can keep your focus and attention high, making it harder to wind down. Instead, save the action movies for earlier in the day, and watch something more lighthearted as the day comes to a close.
  3. Get into comfy clothes: feeling comfy is a signal to your body to relax and unwind, so getting into comfy clothes or your pyjamas can be a positive sleepy cue! If I’m home for the evening, I like to get into my pyjamas after dinner, which signals the beginning of my own evening ritual.
  4. Create a cosy ambience: take the cosiness a step further by dimming the lights. It’s particularly beneficial to switch to warm low lighting (like a red/orange coloured lamp) because harsh blue lighting can negatively impact your circadian rhythm
  5. Do a gentle yoga or stretching routine: gentle movement and stretching can help to release stress and tension that has accumulated in your muscles throughout the day, making it easier to fall asleep at night.
  6. Use an essential oil diffuser: smell is a powerful sense that can impact how you feel. Relaxing essential oil blends (like this one) are particularly beneficial for winding down and de-stressing in the evening.
  7. Snuggle up with a cosy blanket: snuggling under a cosy blanket is a great way to promote feelings of relaxation to help you feel sleepy. One thing’s for sure, most evenings you’ll find me on the sofa under my favourite blanket!
  8. Put away electronic devices: not only is the blue light from our screens damaging to our circadian rhythms, but the information that comes from electronic devices is very stimulating. Try to switch off from technology at least an hour before sleep, and do something less engaging instead.
  9. Read a chapter of your favourite book before bed: one of my favourite alternatives to being on my phone is reading. It allows you to stay engaged in something, without the extra stimulation that comes from a digital device. Just make sure the book you’re reading is low stakes (I do not recommend a gripping thriller right before sleep!!)
woman reading by candlelight at night

Nightly Self-Care Writing Ideas

Ever had one of those nights where you feel exhausted in your body but your mind is just going 100 miles an hour? It can be difficult to switch off when we have a lot going on because our mind just wants to make sense of it all.

Writing can be a form of clearing some of this mental space, making it easier to fall asleep when you get into bed.

Explore adding some of these nightly writing ideas into your self care routine, and see how they make you feel.

  1. Reflect on your day: reflecting on your day can help you to process the day’s events, to prevent the need to do that when your head hits the pillow. You might also want to celebrate your wins from the day to help end your day on a positive note.
  2. Create a gratitude list: write three things you’re grateful for to boost feelings of positivity and contentment, making it easier to fall asleep.
  3. Write down your thoughts and worries: if something went wrong in your day, or you’re anxious about something in the future, writing about it can help prevent rumination. Write down what’s worrying you and see if you can come to a beneficial solution that helps you fall asleep a little easier (even if that solution is the decision to revisit it tomorrow).
  4. Write tomorrow’s to-do list: did you know studies have shown that writing your to do list for tomorrow is even more beneficial for falling asleep than writing about what you accomplished today? Writing your to do list can help you organise your thoughts and lessen some of the anxiety about what you need to get done.
woman looking at journal in the evening

Beauty Evening Routine

A beauty routine in the evening isn’t just about taking care of your physical appearance, because many beauty evening routine ideas also have benefits for your physical wellbeing too.

Plus, taking pride in your appearance is an act of self love, helping you to build up feelings of worthiness.

  1. Build a pampering skincare routine: a pampering skincare routine can make you feel a million dollars before you get into bed. I don’t know about you, but that feeling sure makes me feel a little better! At the very least, cleansing and moisturising are a must at the end of the day, to help clear your skin from makeup or environmental stress.
  2. Apply a nourishing face mask: a nourishing face mask can help to rejuvenate your skin and promote relaxation before you get into bed.
  3. Indulge in a bubble bath: you can make your bath even more relaxing by adding soothing bath bombs and essential oils to unwind and de-stress. But more than just an act of self care, the warmth of the bath can actually help to lessen the time it takes to fall asleep. Win-win!
  4. Use a face roller or gua sha: many people like to use a face roller or gua sha in the morning to decrease puffiness, but it can also be beneficial to wind down at the end of the day too. Techniques like this help to stimulate blood flow and lymph, allowing you to release toxins and excess body heat for a more restful sleep.
woman pampering herself doing self care in bathrobe, spraying rose water in front of mirror

Mindfulness Activities for Night

Mindfulness is an amazing tool for training yourself to be in the present moment. Not only is this beneficial for day-to-day health and wellbeing, but it’s also helpful for falling asleep too!

These mindfulness activities are perfect for adding to your self care night routine to relax and unwind, improving your sleep quality and your wellbeing as a result.

  1. Do a puzzle or creative activity: opting for a creative activity in the evening can help to bring your awareness to the present moment, allowing your worries to melt away. Rather than automatically gravitating towards the TV in the evening, explore some other hobbies that encourage a mindful focus.
  2. Practice mindfulness meditation: mindfulness meditation can help to build your “mindfulness muscle”, which can help you become more resilient to stress over time. Practising in the evening can be particularly beneficial to help you transition from being in your mind to a more embodied state.
  3. Try deep breathing exercises: by slowing down and deepening your breathing, you can activate the parasympathetic nervous system and help your body prepare for relaxation and sleep.
  4. Progressive muscle relaxation: many of us accumulate stress and tension in our muscles throughout the day, without even realising it! Progressive muscle relaxation can help you to engage your mind-muscle connection, making it easier to relax your muscles and enter a relaxed state.
  5. Practice yoga nidra/NSDR: yoga nidra is one of my favourite ways to enter a deep state of relaxation. Practising it regularly has made it so much easier for me to fall asleep too. If you struggle with falling asleep, I recommend exploring different guided yoga nidra sessions on Insight Timer.
  6. Listen to calming music or nature sounds: listening to calming music or nature sounds can help you to find present-moment awareness, particularly if you’re someone who struggles with falling asleep in silence!
woman laying down doing yoga Nidra with lavender eye pillow on

More Relaxing Night Routine Ideas

If you’re looking for extra relaxing ideas to add to your nighttime routine, look no further. These relaxing night routine ideas are particularly beneficial if you’re somebody who struggles with stress and anxiety, which affects your sleep.

Explore adding some of these into your night routine to release stress and tension from your day, making it easier to relax and fall asleep.

  1. Sip on a cup of herbal tea: sipping on a warm beverage can be very soothing to your body and mind. Chamomile is particularly beneficial for promoting feelings of relaxation and helping you unwind in the evenings.
  2. Take adaptogens: adaptogens, like ashwagandha, can help your body cope with daily stress and enter a state of relaxation more easily. As part of my own self care night routine, I take a natural sleep aid supplement two hours before sleep, to help my nervous system find balance.
  3. Do a gentle self massage: massage can help to release muscle tension. If you’re somebody who carries a lot of stress in their body, using something like a foam roller or massage ball can also help you to release some of this energy in the evening.
  4. Use a weighted blanket: for those who suffer from stress and anxiety, weighted blankets are a godsend. Using a weighted blanket like this one in your evening routine can help you feel grounded and make it easier to fall asleep.
  5. Practice positive affirmations: positive affirmations can be a beneficial addition to your evening routine if you find your mind tends to go to negative places at night. Before you get into bed, explore reciting affirmations that boost your mood and self-esteem, as a preventative measure to help you access a more positive state of mind for sleep.
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I hope that these self care night routine ideas are beneficial for helping you to unwind, de-stress, and prepare for a restful night’s sleep.

Remember, consistency is key when it comes to establishing a bedtime routine that works for you. So, why not start tonight?!

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Esther is the founder of Through the Phases, a wellbeing and healthy lifestyle blog dedicated to sharing mind/body/soul practices for self-exploration, healing, and fulfilment. She has a degree in Psychology, is yoga teacher trained (200hr), and is currently pursuing a Neuroscience MSc to further study the mind-body connection. Read more about her story here.

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