How to De-Stress Before Bed with 8 Wind Down Routine Tips

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Many of us experience stress, some even have chronic stress. Whether we are dealing with anxious thoughts and/ or stressful situations, stress can rob us of joy and leave us feeling overwhelmed. The good news is we can help our bodies respond to stress, and one way to do this is by learning how to de-stress before bed.

a woman sleeping in a bed with white sheets

By implementing 1-2 new practices, you can make a big impact with these tips to help you de-stress before bed. There are a number of things we can do to de-stress, but I think the more simple it is, the better. We have enough to think about already, we need to make de-stressing simple and something we can look forward to at the end of each day, not something that we feel like we have to do or that won’t help our mental health.

We all have to-do lists that are a mile long waiting for us the next day, the goal is to be able to quiet the mind, and the body at the end of the day so we can experience a good night’s sleep that leaves us feeling ready to conquer a brand new day.

Here are some tips that can help you de-stress before bed:

1. Create a relaxing nighttime routine

A relaxing bedtime routine can help you wind down and signal to your body that it’s time to sleep. Take a warm bath with magnesium bath flakes, read a good book, or listen to soothing or classical music. Also, taking 5-10 minutes and putting your legs up the wall can be relaxing as well. Minimizing any input from TV, electronics, or even other people before bed can help calm the body and the mind.

2. Practice deep breathing

Deep breathing is a great way to help you relax and calm your mind. Take slow, deep breaths, and focus on the sensation of your breath moving in and out of your body. There are several different breathing exercises you can do and these don’t have to be done just at bedtime, they can be done throughout the day as well to keep you calm.

Check out this podcast episode I did about mindfulness and breathwork with Andrea Arlotti.

3. Do gentle stretches or yoga

Gentle stretching or yoga can help release tension in your body, lower stress levels, and calm your mind. You can try a few simple yoga poses or stretches before bed, it doesn’t have to be something that works up a sweat. Just moving your body can also help you do a body scan and see where you are holding tension so you can focus on how to release it. Yoga and stretching are great ways to connect the mind and body.

a woman in the yoga post childs pose on a blue yoga mat.  She is wearing black pants and a grey top and had blonde hair

4. Create a skincare routine

Taking care of your skin at night can be very therapeutic. I like to do gua sha to unwind a few nights a week, but I also have a skincare regimen I use every night to help me “take off the day”.

Your skincare routine doesn’t need to be overly complicated, just a few products that help you nourish your skin can feel really rewarding. My favorite skincare is Beautycounter because it is made with clean ingredients. You can take a skincare quiz here to see what Beautycounter products would work best for your skin. If you are just starting out I’d recommend a cleanser, toner, and moisturizer to start… don’t overcomplicate it, make it something you’ll look forward to doing!

5. Use essential oils

Essential oils such as lavender and chamomile are calming and can help you relax before bed. You can use them in a diffuser or add a few drops to a hot bath. A warm mug of chamomile tea may also be helpful to calm the body and the mind.

A diffuser, glasses, essential oils and a glass jar on a wooden desk with a fiddle leaf fig plant

6. Write in a journal

Writing down your thoughts and worries can help you release them and clear your mind so you aren’t constantly thinking of your to-do list or whatever it is that leaves you feeling stressed at the end of your day. You can write about your day, your goals, negative thoughts that are getting in your way, what you are grateful for, etc.

Journaling can look a bit different for everyone and there is no right or wrong way to do it. You can use a simple notebook or a journal to de-stress by writing. Even a brain dump at the end of the day can help you get anything that you are thinking about down on paper and out of your head so you can sleep!

a woman holding a pen and writing in a journal with a black mug by the journal

7. Limit or minimize screen time

The blue light emitted by your cell phone or tablet can be disruptive to your sleep. Try to limit your screen time before bed or use blue light blocking glasses so you can end your day in a healthy way and set yourself up for restful sleep.

You can also adjust the light levels on your phone by dimming the light so it won’t be quite as bright. If you read on a tablet, I’d recommend wearing blue light glasses so you aren’t affected by the blue light.

8. Practice mindfulness:

Mindfulness meditation can help you focus on the present moment and connect to the present moment. You can try a guided meditation or simply focus on your breath for a few minutes.

Creating a regular practice to de-stress before bed is one of the best ways to improve sleep quality, calm the nervous system and create healthier levels of stress.

Stress is inevitable. We all experience it, and there is no getting away from it, but we can learn to help our bodies relax and build the resiliency to stress so it doesn’t have to consume our lives.

Amy Reinecke

Additional Resources

What is one of your favorite ways to de-stress before bed?

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