The stress of daily life, health conditions, or social unrest are only some factors that impact the quality of our sleep. Sadly, as we grow older, we tend to sleep less, which in turn has a negative impact on our state of well-being (mental and physical).

But this doesn’t mean we have to keep on suffering without ever experiencing the thrill of a good night’s sleep. Scientists have studied sleep patterns and the factors that affect them for years, which gives us access to reliable data we can use to design the perfect pre-bedtime routine that will get us into dreamland in no time. 

A proper pre-bedtime routine helps you relax and gradually break off from the problems of the day. This way, it becomes easier to prepare for bed and have a relaxing, soothing experience in the world of dreams. 

However, it takes a bit of time and practice to find the things that work for you. To help you out, here are some of the things most people swear by when it comes to building their pre-bedtime routine.

Light Physical Activity

It is a well-known fact that physical exercise has a positive impact on overall sleep quality, but not if it’s done right before bedtime. Vigorous exercise gets the heart rate going, increases body temperature, and raises your alertness, which makes it difficult to fall asleep in the hours following the activity.

This is why specialists recommend performing intense exercises in the morning or afternoon and light physical activity in the evening, an hour to 90 minutes before bedtime. Light stretching, a yoga session, or a short walk outside will put your brain in the right setting for sleep. 


There are times when your mind can’t turn off while you’re trying to fall asleep. No matter how much you prepare for a good sleep, your brain is on a loop of thoughts that keep you wide awake into the night.

If this happens, try a meditation session to refocus your mind and silence some of the thoughts. You can use one of the many meditation apps available online, and if one session doesn’t help (which is quite possible), you may want to try an audio background. Soothing melodies, sounds of nature, whale songs, or simply someone telling a story in a calming voice are amazing short-term solutions for when the brain can’t disconnect.

Meditation and listening to soothing sounds right before you prepare to fall asleep can also become a part of your nightly routine. By using them every night, your brain will internalize them as one of the habits before sleep.

Add Some Action Between The Sheets

If you don’t have the time or mood for some light physical activity before bed, you can ditch it in favor of sex. While the data is not conclusive about this, scientists have evidence that intimate activities before bedtime help reduce stress and increase the overall quality of sleep.

The main reason for this is the release of oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone,” which promotes relaxation. Plus, kissing and cuddling are great ways to make yourself and your partner feel loved and safe, which is a huge booster for well-being. 

Avoid Blue Light Before Bed

Smartphones, tablets, TV screens, and all our electronics emit blue light, which tricks the brain into thinking it’s time for action. Plus, there are other blue light effects on sleeping you should be considering.

Not to mention that scrolling on social media or watching a movie right before sleep is not the best practice. To make things easier, set a time in the evening (30 minutes before bedtime) when all blue light devices will be turned off.

This habit alone will make a huge difference in the quality of your sleep, and you can even observe this by using a sleep tracker

Quick tip: if you have trouble falling asleep without your device(s), make reading a part of your bedtime routine.

Have A Set Bedtime

As a kid, you probably hated the fact that you had to be in bed by nine. However, this tiny detail was one of the reasons you could wake up feeling refreshed and ready for a new day of adventures at school. 

And the same is valid now when you’re an adult. Regardless of the weight of the responsibilities you carry on your shoulders, a set bedtime is a must-have if you want to recharge your batteries and sleep as you used to when you were a child. 

Humans are creatures of habit, so if you are used to going to bed at a certain hour, you’ll start feeling sleepy as the said time approaches. However, if you mess up with the schedule (because of traveling, children, late work hours, and so on), it can be difficult to get back to it. So, for as much as possible, work to keep your bedtime routine untouched.

Write Down Tomorrow’s To-Do List

When you have a loaded schedule, it can be increasingly difficult to fall asleep because your mind keeps thinking about the pile of things left undone. But studies showed there’s a rather simple trick to change gears and press pause.

Right before the workday ends, write a to-do list for the next day and cross off the tasks you’ve accomplished by the present moment. The list doesn’t need to be too detailed, but it should be structured in time intervals so you’ll know where to start your day. 

By doing this, you unload the day from your brain and into your schedule. Plus, you take a few minutes to acknowledge the accomplishments of the day that just ended. Once this is done, you’re free to think about your evening, and by the time bedtime arrives, you’ll be a lot more relaxed and ready to drift off into dreamland.

Key Takeaway

Our brain loves routine, so the best thing you can do to improve your sleep quality is to design a series of habits for the evening. Activities such as brushing your teeth, taking a shower, or applying skincare products are a part of this ritual as well. 

So it doesn’t have to be anything grand – as long as you feel good about your routine and eliminate disruptors (such as electronic devices), things should go smoothly.