30 Little Changes to Make at Night to Help You Feel Your Best
What we do with our nights can make a huge difference in how the next morning—or even the next day—goes. Take some time for yourself, turn off your phone, and prepare for the day ahead. You'll wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle all of life's stressors.
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Let the worries of the day wash away with a warm shower or a therapeutic bath. It's a great way to relax tense muscles, and you'll go to sleep feeling refreshed.
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Time to sit back and say "ahh." Create a relaxing atmosphere, and take your washing routine to the next level with soothing lavender salts or bath soap.
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Spend a few minutes applying moisturizing lotion (especially after a shower or bath) so your skin stays hydrated and smooth. No more irritation and dryness!
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Turn It Off
The blue light emitted by cell phones, computers, and televisions interrupts your brain’s sleep cycle. Turn off or put away screens approximately 30 minutes before bed to allow your body time to get into sleep mode.
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Enjoy Quaker Overnight Oats
A quick make-ahead breakfast—such as Quaker Overnight Oats—means you'll be all set to go in the morning. All you have to do is add milk and allow to cold-steep in the fridge for 6-8 hours. Try it with almond milk or coconut milk as an alternative.
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Sip Some Tea
Sipping on a cup of warm tea before bed is a great way to wind down. Choose an herbal tea, such as calming chamomile, instead of caffeinated varieties. Take note: Green, black, and white teas all have varying levels of caffeine.
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Read a Book
Reading a book is a good alternative to screen time before bed. If you're using an e-reader, dim the light to low or use one without a backlight, if possible.
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Write It Down
Taking a few minutes to journal before bed is a good way to decompress and reflect. If you don't know what to write, try writing down three things you're thankful for or three things you accomplished—to end the day on a positive note.
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Snuggling or playing with a pet decreases stress and will help you feel calm before bed. Plus, your pet will appreciate the attention! Just don't let it sleep with you—its movements can wake you up.
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Lay Off the Drinks
Consuming alcohol too close to bedtime can disrupt your sleep. Go ahead and have that glass of wine with dinner, but don't make it a nightcap.
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Set a Sleep Schedule
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. To reach this goal, there are several things you can do to ensure you get plenty of rest. One trick is to pick a reasonable bedtime, and try to go to sleep around the same time each day. This will help your body recognize when it's time to go to bed and better regulate your sleep.
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Your pillow and mattress can make a huge difference in how well you sleep. If you’re always waking up with neck pain, for example, it might be time to rotate your mattress or look for a new pillow or
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Keep Your Cool
When it's too hot in your bedroom, you can have a harder time falling asleep. And the heat can cause restlessness, once you do manage to get some shut-eye. Turn down the thermostat at night or turn on a fan—cool conditions help your brain, well, cool down.
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Give your eyes a break and use your ears instead. Try listening to calming music, a podcast, or audiobook to help with the transition to bedtime.
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Create a Routine
Having an established pre-bed ritual (maybe it includes some of the items on this list!) indicates to your brain that it's almost time to sleep. Maybe you have a nightly cup of tea before showering and putting on moisturizing lotion. Or maybe you play with your dog, then listen to an audiobook. Find out what works for you.
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Unwind with a little artistic action, such as coloring, painting, or knitting. Don't worry about getting it perfect; just have fun and enjoy the process!
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Everything in Place
Straighten up a little each night. If you create a cleaning routine that you follow throughout the week, you won't have to clean a ton all at once, and you won't be faced with the stress of a mess from the day before.
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Being prepared for what tomorrow will bring helps you feel less stressed. Whether that means packing a bag for work, prepping meals ahead of time (don't forget your Quaker Overnight Oats!), or helping your kids pick out outfits for school, you'll be better prepped to handle unexpected challenges when you're already feeling calm and organized.
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Change Your Midnight Snack
Avoid foods like pizza and ice cream right before bed. Fatty foods are more difficult to digest, and those with a high sugar content can cause a sleep-disrupting crash. Instead, snack on lighter fare. Try Greek yogurt, string cheese, or a handful of mixed nuts.
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Round Up Your To-Dos
Write down important to-dos for the next day in a notebook or on a whiteboard somewhere near the door so you won’t stress about trying to remember them while lying in bed.
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If you have the opportunity, go for a walk or get some fresh air on your patio. You’ll feel invigorated, and the light exercise will help you sleep better.
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A candle or aromatherapy diffuser can create an atmosphere of calming scents that will soothe you before sleep. Try the essential oils of lavender, cedarwood, ylang-ylang, or frankincense. If using a candle, just be sure to blow it out before bed!
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Have a Laugh
Science backs it up—laughter helps lower stress hormones and boosts immunity. Whether it's watching a sitcom with your family or queuing up some funny cat videos, taking a few minutes to find the humor in life is good for you!
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Before the day ends, do something nice for someone—a family member, a neighbor—to end things on a positive note. Gift flowers from your yard, offer to help them with laundry, or write a card to someone you haven't seen in a while.
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Get Your H2O
You should be drinking plenty of water throughout the day, but make sure you have some at night too, so you don’t wake up headache-y and dehydrated. Refrain from drinking too close to bedtime, however, so that you don’t require any sleep-interrupting bathroom trips.
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Take a moment to visualize the next day. Think about what you want to accomplish, and set an intention to help you achieve your goals.
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Stretch It Out
Do a few simple stretches or yoga poses to wind down before hitting the pillow—especially helpful if you’re tense from sitting at a desk all day. Namaste.
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A few minutes of meditation before going to sleep works wonders for calming the mind. If you prefer, you can start by just doing some deep breathing. Close your eyes and breathe deeply in through your nose, hold for a few seconds, then gently release out through your mouth and repeat.
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Go Dark and Quiet
A dark, quiet bedroom signals that it's nighttime. Use ear plugs and/or a sleep mask if your room is too noisy or bright.
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Talk to the members of your household (face to face!) before turning in for the night. Take a few minutes to talk about your day and connect despite your busy lives. If you're stumped, ask each family member to share a funny moment from their day or something they're grateful for. You might be surprised at the responses you receive!