Creating a refreshing night routine

Creating a refreshing night routine by Valerie Woerner, goals, habits, productivity, routineIt’s been 6 years since I’ve shared my night routine so I thought it was time to share my updated routine. 

I think we’ve all heard it said, a good morning routine starts at night. So if you have a goal to make time to pray and read your Bible each morning, I hope the tips in this post help set you up for that, while also just being a great way to end the day! 

If you’re like me, after you put kids to bed, it’s really easy to sink into the couch and zone out until waaaay too late and then feel annoyed at how I ended the day. I’m researching this topic of end-of-day guilt for an upcoming blog post but for now, I want to focus on avoiding it in the first place with a really good night routine. 

What if we went to bed at a decent time? And what if we weren’t overwhelmed by the state of our home or already worried about how chaotic the morning will be? Or maybe like me, you’re running through everything that now has to happen before you head out the door in the morning and it means you have to wake up extra early… after a night on which you just stayed up extra late. 

And is there anyone out there who knows a nightly routine is good but hasn’t quite settled on the perfect routine, so you end up doing nothing? The perfectionist in me can procrastinate doing anything at all if it’s not complete and perfect. That’s one reason I think the questions below are super helpful. 

Answer these and take action today!

  • What thing can I do tonight that will end the day well? 
  • What thing can I do tonight that will make my morning easier? 
  • What things would I do tonight that won’t refresh me or even hurt my mornings? 

What thing can I do tonight that will end the day well? 

We want a routine that will help our mornings, but we also want something that’s life-giving in itself. Why? Because if it’s pure drudgery, it’s going to be hard to make a habit. And we also want to impact our sleep, not just the morning. 

For me, these are things that physically slow me down and calm my anxious heart. Is your sleep restless? How can you prepare for sleep in the hour before bed? Does your to-do list overwhelm you when it’s finally quiet enough to think? 

My friend Mika Perry shared a long time ago the idea of thinking through all the senses as you plan your routine. Maybe part of a relaxing wind-down process involves a favorite hand lotion or tea. Or maybe it’s stretching or a certain candle. 

What thing can I do tonight that will make my morning easier? 

Can you remove a step or two in your morning routine by spending a few minutes prepping now? If you want to get up before the rest of the house, it might not be feasible to turn on your blender or juice at 5 AM, but maybe you can do it at night when (at least in our house) loud noises don’t seem to wake the whole house up. 

It’s really easy to get carried away here and literally do everything you should do in the mornings at night. Keep it simple though. We’re not trying to inch every bit of life from our mornings-–just make it more manageable. 

What things can I do tonight that won’t refresh me or hurt my mornings? 

This isn’t to help build a routine but to remind us of the things that we want to avoid. It’s amazing how quickly I can forget that just logging onto my computer, even for something good, sends me into a screen coma till past my bedtime. So for me, I have a fairly strict rule that I don’t open my laptop at all at night. There are of course some exceptions but because it’s clear to me that it never ends well, and since I’ve acknowledged it specifically, it’s pretty easy to stick to. 

Is yours late-night snacking? Or even a late-night workout that always leaves you restless? Is it leaving dishes in the sink overnight? Or getting into bed without showering? 

Before I share my routine, I want to share how it’s broken down into two parts. One, that I follow on an app on my iPad called Routinery, and the other, after the technology is put away.  

If you’ve never seen the Routinery app, I highly recommend it! You put in a routine, add tasks, even with how long each should take, and set the timer going. It tells you the next thing to do and buzzes when the time is up. You can add time, and skip a step so it’s flexible if you can’t do everything but is sooo good to help you do things that normally get forgotten. It will alert you when the time for each task is up. And if you finish before, you move on to the next task. 

Here’s what my current Routinery looks like:

  • Earbuds in – 1 min  – I listen to something enjoyable which helps with the tidying step that I would always prefer to skip! I have found myself taking care of more household stuff when I am listening to a book or podcast. 
  • Drink magnesium – 3 min – I mix my drink before the tidying and sip as I move about the house picking stuff up. When I do this, I also get my morning supplements and the girl’s vitamins out so they’re visible on the counter when we get up. 
  • Tidy – 10 min – It’s amazing what can get done when I take 10 minutes to pick up! 
  • Put QT & mat out – 3 min – I set out my quiet time tray (see it here) and mat for pilates. If it’s not out, I will most likely forget to work out but if it’s out, it’s really hard to put it up having not used it! 
  • Layout clothes and check calendar – 5 min – I look to see what I have planned the next day and get clothes picked out and pack a bag if necessary. 
  • Stretch – 5 min – This is me starting the slow-down process. It doesn’t always happen but it is always life-giving when it does. 
  • Put up phone – 1 min – If my phone happens to still be out or I’m using the Routinery app on my phone, this is when it goes to sleep on our charger in the laundry room. I do prefer to use my iPad for this because I like to have my phone on the charger by the time we sit down to dinner. I’m much less tempted by the iPad for some reason. 

The rest of the bedtime routine:

  • Epsom salt bath – This is one of the key parts of my routine that always helps me sleep well at night. 
  • Shut down the house – Lock the doors, peek in on the girls for a quick prayer and turn off the lights. 
  • Weighted blanket, deep breaths, and anxiety ease – Normally while my bath runs, I’ll put Anxiety Ease diffusing in our bedroom so when I get out of the bath, it smells so good when I walk into our room. I don’t like sleeping with my weighted blanket but love to put it on after my bath and take some deep breaths to relax before sleep. I mentioned in my last monthly peptalk that I use a pulse oximeter to track my heart rate and see it slow down a bit as I take some deep breaths. 
  • Simple prayer time – At night, I don’t do much deep prayer time. Mainly because I don’t feel the sharpest at this time, but I do enjoy a little prayer time. I currently love Piercing Heaven, which is a book of puritan prayers edited to be more readable. If you enjoyed our book of prayers, Springboard Prayers, I think you’ll like it! You could also try our evening prayer episode of the podcast for a quick 4-minute prayer to slow down at night.  
  • Journal – I jot down a few thoughts from the day that basically help me tie the day up in a nice bow based on the examen method. It gets rid of the open loops or thoughts in my brain that can cause unrest and helps me sleep more peacefully. 
  • Light reading – If I’m not quite ready for sleep, I’ll read something light, basically not a book I’m highlighting in or feel like I really want to remember. Right now this is a Nancy Drew book that has been so light and nostalgic for me. Some seasons it’s art books I check out from the library. 

That’s it for my routine!! Share below something that sabotages your night routine or one of your favorite parts!

Leave a Comment!!

  • Love this!! Thank you for sharing!!

    I love the idea of a great night routine/wind down routine. What I find tricky is that as a tutor I finish work around 7:30 or 8PM. And afterwards, I have dinner/time with my husband. I love the idea of these steps, but I feel like if I take these steps alone I’m missing out on time with my husband. We also really like going to bed at the same time every night. I need to think through what’s feasible in terms of working around our time together. It could also look like Bible study at night to go to bed at the same time as your husband and you can sleep in a little and have a short prayer time in the morning. Hope that helps!

    • Absolutely!! I think dinner with your husband is actually a great way to unwind! Anything non screen and logistical. But totally ignore the time. It could look totally different if you can sleep later than 5! Also I feel like some things just take me so long so if it’s a bit simpler of a routine, there’s more flexibility there too!