I never thought I’d be the kind of person who has a routine for nighttime–back in the day I just fell asleep whenever I managed to get my brain to hush, with no preamble. But a combination of factors has given rise to my slow accumulation of nighttime systems that make me feel better come morning.
Since I just finished my 30-minute evening routine for the night, I thought now would be a good time to reflect on all the practices I do at night to get better prepared for bed. There are some unexpected practices here–read on to find out some road tested ideas that help me have a much better night. Here’s what I do, in order:
This was the first step I adopted, and for good reason–I was tired of getting cavities and having to have thousands of dollars in dental work done! Since adopting this routine, I now very rarely get cavities anymore, and I experience little to no gum pain and bleeding like I used to. Getting rid of all the food bits and bacteria before I do nothing for 6-8 hours is key!
To begin, I usually pull up either a playlist of music or an interesting YouTube video I can listen to. Then I begin brushing with my child-size toothbrush (great for folks like me who have small mouths!), moving always in small soft circles angled toward my gum line, beginning with the front teeth, top and bottom. Once done there, I will either go to the bottom left or bottom right section of teeth depending on my mood (LOL), brushing the outside surfaces, biting surfaces, and inside surfaces. Usually I’ll finish off the back sides of my bottom teeth on this run too. After that I’ll move to the top section above the ones I just brushed, then the back sides of my front teeth. Then I’ll do the opposite side of my mouth the same way, bottom section and then top.
After all that, I’ll brush my tongue, getting as far back in my mouth as I can without gagging. (This does double duty–gets rid of bad breath AND helps with the tongue tension and gag reflex I am battling as a developing singer!)
A rinse with warm water, and then I’m off to flossing using a long-handled flosser (which is a GAME CHANGER!! Seriously, could not floss without it). In between each tooth, I run the floss a few times, angling it back and forth to get out as much stuff as possible, and I rinse the floss in between sections of teeth. Another thorough rinse with warm water after flossing, and I’m done with tooth care! This usually takes about 5 minutes total.
Since I’m in my mid thirties now, I always put at least some moisturizer on before bed to protect my skin from drying out overnight. I very rarely wear makeup, and I refrain from touching my face throughout the day, plus if I over-wash my face I can start breaking out very badly, so I don’t wash my face every night. This takes about 30 seconds to a minute.
When my face feels like it needs it, though, I wash with some cleanser and a small, surprisingly gentle and inexpensive facial scrubber (found them at Dollar Tree, 2 for a buck!!). The scrubber exfoliates and spreads product evenly so I feel like I get a good clean. (You can definitely over scrub though, so take it easy on your face if you try this!) Paired with some super soft baby washcloths for rinsing, this routine leaves my face very smooth and soft, and ready for moisturizer. This additional step adds about 4 minutes.
Hand and Lip Care
I sleep with a fan on in my room, both for noise and to dispel hot stuffy air (my room is consistently the hottest in the house, ugh). This means that my skin generally gets super dried out all over, especially in the winter, if I don’t do something about it before I go to sleep. So to avoid “alligator hands” and “snakeskin lips”, I smooth lotion on my hands and put on lip balm, usually with petroleum. This takes about 1-2 minutes.
Muscle and Joint Care
Finally, I get in bed, turn on my TV, flip to YouTube, and pull up a video of my very newest nighttime routine: bedtime yoga! (That link is the video I use every night, and it’s great even for non-flexible beginners like me!)
Before starting this super gentle yoga flow, I generally woke up feeling like absolute dog poop–horribly sore and stiff all over? like I’d been run over by two buses and a steamroller during the night. I was also very skeptical that a bedtime yoga routine could change that. I thought I’d be bored or in pain doing these poses.
But instead, I’m actually enjoying doing yoga this time–I’m in bed, so I’m not experiencing the pressure and pain I usually feel trying to do stuff on the floor. I also get to enjoy how the fan blows over me like I’m at the spa, and the coolness comforts me as I stretch away some of the daily aches and pains. I do what I can, listen to my muscles when they holler for me to stop, and don’t pressure myself to be some kind of yoga hero.
I do still wake up feeling like maybe one bus hit me during the night, but even after just 10 days of practice, I’m already getting a bit more flexible. Hoping I can keep this up and see even more improvements over time!
I find that this evening routine helps me relax and have some fun in the evenings, even as I’m taking care of my body in specific ways. Is there anything you’d adopt from this routine? Let me know in the comments!