Creating a Bedtime Routine for Adults: The Complete Guide

Creating a Bedtime Routine for Adults

Getting enough sleep is crucial for overall health and well-being. However, many adults struggle to get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

Developing a consistent bedtime routine can help improve your sleep quality and allow you to fall asleep faster. In this blog article, we will discuss the benefits of a bedtime routine, provide tips for creating your own sleep routine, and share sample routines to help you get started.

Why Follow a Bedtime Routine?

Having a relaxing routine before bed can make a big difference in how well you sleep. Here are some of the top benefits of following a bedtime routine:

  • Improves sleep quality: A calming routine helps your body and mind unwind, signaling that it’s time for rest. This allows you to fall asleep faster and get deeper, more restorative sleep throughout the night.
  • Reduces stress: Engaging in relaxing activities lowers cortisol levels, reducing stress and anxiety before bed. This makes it easier to quiet your mind and fall asleep.
  • Establishes healthy sleep patterns: Going to bed and waking up at consistent times synchronizes your circadian rhythm, which regulates sleep-wake cycles.
  • Provides me-time: Having uninterrupted alone time before bed gives you a chance to decompress from the day.
  • Makes sleep a priority: Setting aside time each evening dedicated to relaxation and self-care emphasizes the importance of sleep.

woman watching tab in bed

Tips for Creating a Bedtime Routine

Creating a relaxing bedtime routine takes some planning and effort, but it is well worth it for improving your sleep. Here are some helpful tips for designing a bedtime routine that primes your body for restful sleep:

1. Be consistent with your bedtime: Going to bed at the same time each night – even on weekends – is vital for regulating your circadian rhythm which controls your sleep-wake cycle. Pick a realistic bedtime that allows for enough sleep.

2. Allow enough time to unwind: Plan for your bedtime routine to last about 60-90 minutes. Rushing through it defeats the purpose of using the time to relax.

3. Avoid screens and stimulation: Don’t watch TV, look at your phone or tablet, or do any other activities late at night that can keep your brain alert and engaged. The blue light emitted from screens suppresses melatonin production.

4. Limit caffeine intake: Avoid consuming any caffeine at least 3-4 hours before your bedtime. Caffeine is a stimulant that can disrupt your sleep even when consumed in the late afternoon.

5. Optimize your sleep environment: Keep your bedroom dark, cool around 65-72°F, and quiet. Consider using blackout curtains, a white noise machine, and ensuring your mattress and bedding are comfortable.

6. Prioritize relaxation: Choose activities that are calming and soothing. These may include light yoga, reading, listening to music, meditation, prayer, or guided imagery.

young girl relaxing in sofa listening music

7. Take a warm bath: Bathing 1-2 hours before bed helps raise your body temperature slightly, prompting it to drop as bedtime approaches, which initiates sleep. Add Epsom salts for muscle relaxation.

8. Write thoughts and to-dos down: Spend 10 minutes jotting down anything on your mind and making plans for the next day so these thoughts don’t keep you awake.

9. Read a book: Read a paper book or e-book that you find relaxing. Don’t feel compelled to finish it; the aim is winding down.

10. Listen to soothing music: Play soft, ambient background music to help distract your mind and mask disruptive noises.

11. Drink herbal tea: Sip a cup of chamomile, lavender, passionflower, or magnesium-rich tea to promote calmness.

12. Practice deep breathing: Do 5-10 minutes of slow, deep breathing which activates the parasympathetic nervous system to produce relaxation.

13. Try gratitude journaling: Reflect on 2 to 3 things that brought you joy or that you appreciate that day to cultivate positive emotions.

14. Keep lighting low: Dim overhead lights in the evenings and use table lamps, salt lamps, or string lights to avoid suppressing natural melatonin.

man well sleep

Example Bedtime Routine for Adults

Here is an example of a relaxing 60-minute bedtime routine you can follow:

9:00pm: Finish eating dinner and start preparing for bed
9:10pm: Take a warm bath or shower
9:30pm: Get into comfy pajamas
9:40pm: Make chamomile tea
9:45pm: Tidy up belongings and lay out clothes for the morning
9:55pm: Read or listen to an audiobook in bed
10:15pm: Do some light stretching and deep breathing
10:25pm: Write in a journal
10:40pm: Turn off lights and get into bed
11:00pm: Go to sleep

Try following this routine consistently for several weeks. You can customize and adjust activities as needed to find what works best for your sleep. The key is sticking with a sequence that primes your body and mind for rest.

Bedtime Routines for Different Sleep Needs

Your ideal bedtime routine may vary depending on your own sleep issues and habits. Try these tailored routines if you struggle with:

Insomnia: Avoid stimulating activities, devices, and lights before bed. Opt for relaxing soundscapes, meditation, stretching, reading, and journaling.

Anxiety: Practice calming rituals like deep breathing, gratitude journaling, and meditation before bed to reduce worry and rumination.

Restless mind: Reserve time to write down thoughts and make plans so they don’t keep you up. Listening to audiobooks can also distract restless minds.

Night owls: Dim indoor lights a few hours before bed to start increasing melatonin earlier. Avoid high-energy activities in the evenings.

Early risers: Wake up naturally with sunlight using blackout curtains. Write before bed instead of mornings if more alert.

New parents: Trade-off bedtime duties and nap when possible. Add relaxing activities like reading, baths, and yoga when you have time.

Stress: Incorporate stress-relieving techniques like breathwork, visualization, stretching, aromatherapy, and music before bed.

Chronic pain: Take a warm bath and do gentle, restorative yoga poses to reduce tension and discomfort before bed.

Restless legs: Avoid caffeine and do moderate exercise earlier in the day. Massage legs, use a foam roller, or take a hot bath to ease sensations before bed.


Adopting a bedtime routine is one of the best things you can do to enhance your sleep quality as an adult. The keys are consistency, making sleep a priority, allowing enough time to unwind, and avoiding stimulation close to bedtime.

Focus on activities that relax your body and quiet your mind to pave the way for restful sleep. Learn here more about bedtime routine tips and guides.