The ultimate bedtime routine checklist for adults

Struggling to fall asleep in lockdown? As our work and home lives continue to merge it can be hard to switch off from the world and get a good night’s kip.

While bedtime routines feel like a thing reserved for anyone under the age of 10, getting into some healthy habits can hugely improve your sleep quality. So, here is our ultimate bedtime routine checklist for adults.

Bedtime routine checklist for adults for better sleep

1. Set a time to start winding down

How many of us are guilty of moving from the sofa to the bed and then wondering why we can’t get our minds to shut up? Sitting in front of the telly until the last minute might feel relaxing but it can actually be harming your ability to fall asleep. Your brain needs time to slowly wind itself down, it doesn’t happen straight away.

Instead, set yourself a time start turning in. This could be an hour before your usual bedtime or longer if you feel you need it. In this time, you can start to slowly decompress after the day and take a few quiet moments to truly switch off.

2. Take a bath or shower

For some people, taking a bath or shower at night rather than in the morning can help them get in the right zone for sleep. Baths are especially good for this so if you’ve got one, make the most of it.

This is a great time to read a book, listen to music or catch up on your favourite podcast. Whatever it is you like to do, a bath is a great opportunity to disconnect from the world. Coupled with some candles and a warm drink, a bath is the ultimate pre-bed activity. Or you could take a glass of wine with you – suppose it depends on the kind of day you’ve had!

bedtime routine reading in bath

3. Lower the lighting and get into your PJ’s

Before hopping straight into bed, try lowering the lights in the room. If you’re in your lounge, turn off the overhead lights and just use lamps. Bright lights and screens can mess with our circadian rhythms which could be why you’re finding it hard to sleep well.

By creating a cosy atmosphere, you will naturally start to feel a little drowsy which is the perfect time to drag yourself to bed. It’s also a good idea to slightly lower the temperature in your bedroom. While it’s tempting to crank up the heat, especially in winter, your body actually better adapts to a slightly cooler temperature. This makes your bed feel super toasty warm and you’ll find yourself relaxing a lot quicker.

4. Turn off electronic devices

This is a classic on any bedtime routine checklist for adults; turn off your phone.

While an expert will always recommend turning off your electronic devices, how many of us really do it? In reality, the best we will probably achieve is putting our phones on silent – which is totally fine!

You don’t’ need to cut yourself off completely, just make sure that your avoiding screens for about half an hour before you plan to sleep. We should all be looking for ways to reduce our screen time and this is most likely one of the biggest contributors to your sleep problems. The blue light emitted by phones and computer screens seriously messes up our REM cycles and this hugely affects sleep quality. Stop scrolling aimlessly though Instagram or TikTok and reach for a book instead.

bedtime routine mindfulness journal

5. Create a to-do list or mindfulness diary

Following on from the last point, maybe you’re not a huge fan of reading. So, what do you do in that half an hour before tucking up in bed? Well, a lot of people find it useful to write out a to-do list for the next day. This is really helpful if you have anxiety as it can help to order your thoughts before trying to sleep.

Similarly, you could start a mindfulness diary. This doesn’t need to be anything super heavy if you don’t want it to be. Some people find writing out a few highlights from their day a great way to end the evening on a good note. These can be simple things like making the perfect cup of tea or getting out for a walk at lunchtime. Don’t worry about making it super poetic and meaningful, it’s only for your eyes and it’s a fab method to keep a positive mindset.

What do you think of our bedtime routine checklist for adults? Do you do any of these already or do you have something else you find helpful?