Do you know what makes me laugh out loud? When I watch a YouTuber's "realistic" night routine and they talk about winding down at 8 pm, doing yoga, meditating for an hour, meal prepping for the week, and then reflectively journalling while their phone sits untouched in a different room. As if!

1. Establish a Skin Care Routine

I know it's a small thing, but it makes such a big difference! When you establish a nightly skin care routine, you are signalling to your body that it is time for bed. You only do this special routine before settling in to catch some Z's, so your body will eventually get into the habit of associating a skin care routine with bedtime. Plus, your skin will thank you. 

#SpoonTip: if you're stumbling home from the bar or club and it's 2am and you don't have time for the full routine, keep a stash of makeup-remover wipes beside your bed and make sure that at the very least, you remove your makeup. 

2. Stretch a Little 

Jungle Yoga photo by Jared Rice (@jareddrice) on Unsplash

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I would love to have an hour at night to dedicate to a yoga routine, but honestly, I'd rather watch Netflix. I've started stretching for just 5-10 minutes every night. I've found stretches you can just do in bed, so there's no excuse. And you can even do them while watching Netflix! It's a great way to relax your body and feel zen.

3. Keep a Q&A a Day Journal or a Gratitude Jar

Pretty Desktop photo by Gabrielle Henderson (@gabriellehenderson) on Unsplash

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Listen, I wish I could dedicate time to sitting down and journaling all my thoughts, but I just hate writing by hand for too long. Instead, I bought a Q and A a Day journal from Indigo. It asks a question each day for the year and has space for 5 years. So each year, you can see your response to the question the year before and see how it has changed. It's a great way to document your life without too much effort.

Another little thing I like to do (when I remember) is write down one or two things I'm thankful for on a sticky note and put it in a jar. Altogether, this takes at most 5 minutes. I definitely have 5 minutes at the end of the day.

4. Read for Pleasure 

Little secret: for so many years I couldn't get to sleep unless I fell asleep with my TV on. This is terrible for sleep quality, and I realized eventually that I was still tired in the mornings, with no explanation. Finally, I started reading for pleasure right before bed and shut the TV off. It helped SO MUCH! Every night I try to read a chapter of a book and it makes me so sleepy. If books aren't your thing, a magazine or e-reader works too.

5. Make a Cup of Tea

Drink, tea, food and cream HD photo by Joanna Kosinska (@joannakosinska) on Unsplash

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I love to end my night with a cup of chamomile or lemon tea. It's super relaxing and helps put me to sleep. But only one cup or else you'll be peeing all night, which is the opposite of calming.

6. Get Ready for Tomorrow 

It relaxes me so much when I know I've done everything I can to be ready for tomorrow. I like to pick my outfit and have it ready. I also pack my backpack with any books I need. On occasion, I make overnight oats so I know my breakfast is ready too. But when I don't do that, I just will mentally decide what I'm going to eat the next day. It helps so much waking up and just having everything ready.

7. Dim the Lights as Early as Possible

Bed, map, atlas and lights HD photo by Kira auf der Heide (@kadh) on Unsplash

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I'm not going to be unrealistic and tell you to turn off your phone and TV hours before bed, because I cannot. But I do like to at least turn off my main light and turn on my lamp as early as possible. It's a small symbol that bedtime is nearing.

8. Don't Do Homework in Bed

Not really a part of a night time routine, but it does help you sleep better. It's been said that beds should be used only for sleep and sex, and it's true. If you associate your bed with anything else, it'll be harder to get to sleep. Try to stay out of your bed until you're almost ready to sleep.

9. Perfect the Environment

I tend to sleep better in a cooler room, so before I go to bed, I turn my heat down a little bit. The times I've forgotten to do this have me waking up at 3am sweating. Make sure your environment is comfortable for you to sleep in. Get some ear plugs if you have noisy roommates or neighbours, make sure the temperature is right and no light is coming in. Also, make sure you have sheets and blankets you love.

Once you decide on a nighttime routine that you love, stick to it. Consistency is key and will make for much better, restful nights.