Google “nightly routine” and you’ll see a theme to people’s posts. “Nightly Routines and How to Sleep Hack Your Way To a Productive Morning.” “10 Evening Routines that Will Make You Productive at Life and Work.” “The Simple Nightly Routine that Can Make You a Better Entrepreneur.”
Now maybe you want to exit this post to read those articles, but I for sure don’t need one more way to be productive. This is like crack to my obsessed achiever self. It’s like the sleep app–we’ve found a way to excel at resting. The irony is somehow lost on us.
I see this idea all around me that we rest so that we can do more. “You need to get some rest or you won’t be able to _________.” Fill in the blank. But in Scripture I see the idea that rest is part of God’s great desire for us (Hebrews 4, Genesis 2). From sabbath to eternity, it’s always been and it’s never going away. We were made to rest. We don’t rest so that we can do more. We rest because rest is good.
In this season I’m longing for rest. It may have something to do with my sleep cycle being interrupted every few hours (I love you Rylee). But it has more to do with how much I want to capture this season of life. I’m worried less about being productive and more about being Present. Peaceful. Purposeful.
So I developed a nightly routine that helps me end each day in a restful state…because you know, that’s the point of sleep, right? Here’s what I do along with some questions to help you build your own nightly routine.
- Stop working at least an hour before bed.
I used to work straight up until bedtime. Then I would crash into bed. That routine belonged to an era when work really had an end. Aka school. You can push your mind and push your body when there’s an end in sight: spring break! Winter break! Glorious summer break!
No more breaks for me. Except when I choose to take them. I’m my own principal now and I declare a break at 9pm each night. I Netflix, Hulu, snack so hard during this hour. This hour helps me end my day enjoying life.
Question: When does work stop for you? Are you guilty when you’re not working, or do you congratulate yourself on a day well done?
- Do all the things.
Brush my teeth, wash my face, change into PJs. Before I start these mindless, boring tasks, I open an app that has a daily scripture and prayer to pray for Cheyne. I chose this spiritual habit because God said he wanted me to pray for Cheyne more. Now it’s part of my nightly routine and I really enjoy doing something spiritual while doing all the things. Maybe you work on memorizing a scripture, maybe you listen to the Bible app, maybe you give yourself a few minutes of silence.
Question: What does God have you working on? How can you build this into your nightly routine?
- Wash my feet.
Now I could make this point really spiritual. Jesus said “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean” (John 13:10). But honestly I HATE my feet being dirty. So I wash my feet. Every night. Cold during summer. Hot during winter. OK, usually hot because I’m a sissy with cold temperatures. This is something that is so deeply relaxing to me. If you see me having a bad day, tell me to go wash my feet. It resets something in me. So it is a non-negotiable part of my nightly routine. Maybe it’s yoga for you. Maybe it’s chamomile tea, lavender oil, a warm bath.
Question: What helps your body relax?
- Journal in bed.
After setting my alarm and climbing into bed, I open up my Day One app. If I’ve posted on social media, I pull that post into my journal and write a few lines about how my day went. If Rylee had any milestones, I scribble them with parental pride. Sometimes those few sentences are it and my eyelids start to droop. Other times my heart catches up and I realize there’s something I want to think through. Whether it’s two sentences or two pages, journaling leaves me feeling centered. I need this time to touch base with my soul. For you it might be repeating a verse before you drift to sleep. It may be reading. It may be talking with your spouse. It’s probably not browsing Instagram, reading the news, or looking over tomorrow’s lists.
Question: What helps you feel centered?
There it is. My nightly routine.
What happens next? Why I sleep soundly of course. #saidnonewparentever
I hope you find a routine that helps you rest. ‘Cause rest is good.