This 5-Step Nighttime Routine Helps Me Fall Asleep Quicker Before a Big Day

It might seem silly to follow a nighttime routine, but creating one can have great benefits, like helping you get a better night of rest. I'm by no means a night owl, so my nighttime routine revolves around one major goal: getting 10 hours of pillow time. I know that sounds a little wild — does a 23-year-old need 10 hours of sleep? The answer, for me, is yes! I know my body and it cannot function unless I get that amount, particularly before a big day.

Within the last year, I've encountered a lot of those, whether it's finals, college graduation, or a job interview. I've had to hold myself accountable more than ever to not only getting those 10 hours, but creating a relaxed environment before I lay down for the night so I can be my best self the next a.m. I credit my BDE (that's big day energy) to these five steps that not only help me relax, but leave me rejuvenated to conquer whatever it is I'm facing the next day.

  1. I take a hot shower or bath. I like kickstarting my night with a clean slate, and with the most relaxing part of the routine — you might be different, of course. I'll usually take a shower or soak in the tub about two hours before my bedtime. That gives my hair plenty of time to air dry while I carry out the rest of my nighttime routine.
  2. I put on a face mask and moisturize. Nothing makes me feel better than a face mask (except maybe a fresh gel manicure). I like using charcoal hydration masks that contain vitamin A or have an aromatherapy element like lavender. The important thing is not to test a new mask before your big day. Pay attention to ingredients as some might have side effects like redness or dry skin.
  3. I prep what I need for the next morning. Most face masks are left on for 15 to 20 minutes giving me some time to get things ready for bed. This could mean pouring a glass of water (or wine pending on the big event the next day), but I often like to set aside an outfit, pack a bag or get my bed ready. I also love using this time to moisturize — name something more embarrassing than shaking your future boss's hand with dry rough skin.
  4. I light candles. I love candles but if you're more into defusing essential oils, this is the time for that. I find that scents like fresh linen or ocean mist are what soothe me the most giving me a sense of tranquility and peacefulness. Of course, I set a timer to blow out the candle after 30 minutes, just in case I get snoozy too quickly.
  5. I check social media then unplug. Although I know I shouldn't be on my phone right before going to bed, I'd rather be caught up on my social media than wake up to several new posts and stories. I give myself about 15 minutes to scroll through newsfeeds and respond to any last-minute texts or emails. After exiting the apps, I'll set a few alarms, then put my phone away for the night.
  6. I unwind with either a book or TV Show. In college, if I did a lot of reading and note taking, I unwound with an episode of The Office. Being able to take my mind off whatever it's I'm preparing for with some comedic relief helps me fall asleep. Nowadays, preparing for a big day usually involves several hours on my laptop so I read a few chapters of a book before closing my eyes for the night to shut off my brain.