How to Create an Evening Routine

Find out how to create an evening routine that prepares you for the day ahead and helps you get a great night’s sleep.

This article follows on the back of my previous post How to Create a Morning Routine. And it’s an important sequel because having a great day actually starts the night before.

In the past, I’ve never held down a successful evening routine. Most nights (if I got home early enough!), I would scroll through Instagram or the news on my phone whilst in bed getting sucked into some aimless rabbit-hole that would just make my eyes ache and fill my head with negative thoughts that would invariably turn into nightmares. Not a recipe for a great night’s sleep!

If you can relate, trust me, we’re not alone. One study found that 66% of people slept with their smartphones, and another study recorded that this went up to 90% for people aged 18 to 29 years. Umm, that’s most of us!

The good news is, there’s a better way to create a good night’s sleep and to ensure that you’re waking up for your day ready to hit the ground running.

It all starts with being intentional and taking the small steps you need to create a practical and enjoyable evening routine that you can look forward to each night. And like any great informative article, there are three key steps to get you there. Let’s go!

By the way, if you haven’t read my post on creating your morning routineI’d start there first.

1. Know your “must do’s”

In order to craft your perfect evening routine, you’ll need to know the activities and tasks that absolutely must be done before you go to bed. If you have your copy of my Morning Routine Worksheet, you’ll know what items you’ll need to have available in the morning. Don’t have yours yet? Grab it here:

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Tasks like getting your clothes pulled out for the next day, or making sure your backpack/briefcase/housekeys are in the right place so you won’t be scrambling around like a headless chicken when it’s time to head out the door tomorrow.

You might think that all of this is common sense. And it is. But it’s a good idea to list all of these tasks because common sense isn’t always common practice. And when you have all your “must-do” activities in one place, it’s easier to create a fail-proof process that you can follow even when you’re dead tired or too distracted to remember #allthethings.

2. Know your evening routine “want to’s”

This is probably my favourite part! These activities will be the ones that make you eager to start your evening routine each night. You may already know all the things you want to do in your ideal evening routine. But if you don’t, a helpful question to ask is “how do I want to feel in the evening?”. For me, this would be ‘relaxed’, ‘calm’ and ‘peaceful’. How about you?

Once you’ve identified that, list some of the possible activities that will create those ideal feelings for you. For example, if you want to feel peaceful in the evening, what activities help you to become more at peace?

This is an important step, because all too often, people try to imitate the rituals of the rich and famous without first understanding if that’s what they even want for themselves.

So it’s good to take a step back and identify the things that refresh and rejuvenate you. Everyone’s different, and so your perfect evening routine should be one that’s custom-built for you.

3. Know your sleep triggers

When I mention sleep triggers, I’m simply referring to those things that help you to fall asleep. Some people find that reading a book before bed is essential to signal to their body that it’s time to wind down. What are your triggers?

A couple of my sleep triggers are spraying my home-made Sleep Misting Spray over my pillow and sheets before I climb into bed. It’s scented with calming essential oils that really relax me. (I’ll create a post on how you can make your own soon!). Another one of mine is listening to a guided visualisation before bed. I find that the soothing sounds just send me right off! This last one is so effective for me that I can’t even remember the last time I reached the end because I’m usually fast asleep by then!

If you’re not sure what your sleep triggers are, start with all the scientifically proven stuff like ‘avoid your phone an hour before bedtime’, ‘adjusting the temperature in your room so that it’s cool rather than warm’ and ‘making your bedroom as dark as possible’. For tips, check out this helpful article.

Over time, you’ll get to know the things that really help you fall asleep quickly and cause you to wake up feeling refreshed and rested. Here’s a handy tip, when you do wake up feeling well-rested, make a note of what you did the night before to see if you can identify the activities that work for you.

Bonus tips!

Here’s a bonus tip which I have to tell you about. And this tip has helped me out countless times. That’s because not every day is the same. Some nights you’re at home at a decent hour and can run through your ideal evening routine perfectly. Other nights, you stumble through your front door just before midnight and the thought of washing that panda-eye mascara off your face feels like a chore!

So my super bonus tip is to create two evening routines. Yes, that’s right! Remember point number one above about your “must-do” tasks? These are the items that should go into your Mini Evening Routine. When all else fails, you’ve got a process of the bare minimum activities you need to do so that in the morning you’re not kicking yourself for not having had the willpower to do XYZ the night before!

Another super bonus tip is to load your evening routine into an app like Morning Routine which I mentioned in my previous post. I love this app for keeping me on task with activities, especially when they aren’t fully ingrained (or when I’m super tired late at night) – and it’s totally free!

So there you have it! 3 keys to an evening routine that will set you up for success and help you get a great night’s sleep. Do you have an evening routine? What are some things that help you fall asleep at night? Let me know in the comments!

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How to Create an Evening Routine
How to Create an Evening Routine

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  1. I have a pretty regular evening routine. But being a mom, I really treasure the quiet times I have by myself when everyone has gone to sleep.

  2. Gervin Khan says:

    It is so important to have a morning routine. My morning routine starts with a prayer, brushing my teeth and face. Then, 30mins workouts after breakfast. Afterwards, taking a bath and prepare myself for work.

  3. OK, now I need to try to focus and find out what my sleep triggers really are!! I can keep reading late into the night so that might not be my trigger 🙂 But kidding aside, love the tips and the handy workbook

    1. True lol! Physical books send me right off, but audio books keep my brain awake. Everyone’s different! Enjoy the workbook!

  4. I always make sure my kids clothes are ready the night before. Sometimes I think about what I’m going to wear but oh so many morning I’m staring at my closet like…oh crap what am I going to wear. I am going to work on preparing my own clothes the night before as well.

    1. Yes! Kids losing things in the morning when you’re racing against a clock can add a lot of stress to the day, so kudos for doing that! 🙌
      If you often wonder what to wear, you might wanna try using a capsule wardrobe. I haven’t looked back since I created mine years ago. I have a Capsule Wardrobe Checklist in my freebie library, so it’s definitely worth checking that out. 🙂

  5. I absolutely needed this right now! My evening routine needs so much work as I am such a night owl and I basically do the exact opposite as what one SHOULD do. Your post is a nice reminder to rethink this lifestyle of mine as it’s not sustainable. It’s so true that the entire day is affected by the night before!

    1. You’re welcome! If you’re naturally a night owl, don’t fight it. Create a routine that helps you sleep well (regardless of the time you go to sleep). My husband’s a night owl and goes to bed after 1am most nights because he’s quite productive in the evening. A great evening routine helps you rest and recharge well for the next day, so if it’s doing that, then you’re all good! 😊

  6. I love adding a no phones after XX time to my nightly routine! Helps me sleep better!

  7. I make a “to do” list each day, while at work, to make sure I don’t forget anything important when I get home. Once these must- do items are finished, I usually wind down with a book and beer.

  8. What great ideas! I’m excited to see your post on how to make the Sleep Misting Spray, too. That sounds like something I’d love.