I know I’m not alone when I say: I love waking up early to start my day. The calm and quiet in the house while everyone is still sleeping is so peaceful. Alarms aren’t competing for attention and there’s no rushing around or slinging clothes out of my closet and onto my bed to race out the door. Did I mention my alarm usually goes off between 4:30-5am?

At the beginning of the summer, while I was intensely training to ride my bike in Boulder, I began 4am wake up calls so I could be out the door and on my bike by 5:30am. The earlier in the day I rode, the less I had to compete with the brutal Texas heat and busy neighborhood traffic. Plus, early morning pre-dawn rides provide extra calm and quiet time to myself, which seem so rare these days.

While the 4am alarms were hard at first, they really weren’t too bad thanks to my evening routine that helps me wind-down, relax and get to bed at a decent time. A decent time to me is usually no later than 10:30pm. On a good night, I’m in bed between 9:30-10pm.

Having a dialed-in evening routine — and morning routine for that matter, have always been super important to me. I find mornings to be refreshing. I set new goals and intentions and genuinely wake up in a good mood, ready for a fresh start. In the evening, I get to unwind, if even for 5 minutes and reflect on the day. I recently started using the Day One app as a way to write something positive about each day before I go to bed. (I wish I had the time to journal . . . rather, I wish I made the time to journal).

Here’s what helps me wind down for the evening, so I can not only get to bed early, but wake up feeling refreshed:

1. No Social Media

Lately, I’ve been trying to stay off social media after dinner. I recently turned off all notifications to prevent any distractions and so far it’s been the best mental break. On that note, I can’t eat a heavy meal before bedtime. I try to eat pretty light and have a snack if I’m absolutely hungry. Anything too heavy, or too much alcohol will keep me tossing and turning.

2. Room Ready

Shortly before bedtime, I dim my lights and adjust the room temperature on the cooler side. I love falling asleep with my ceiling fan on. I’ve slept with one for so many years that the white noise almost instantly puts me to sleep. I spritz my bedding with a lavendar oil home spray. I get mine from milk + honey, but you can also make your own.

If I have a little extra time, I’ll listen to a podcast or music on super low volume. Lately it’s been Lena Dunham’s Women of the Hour or my Nebraska Spotify playlist. If I’m feeling extra ambitious I light a few candles and forgo the dimmed lights. I haven’t really embraced meditation yet, aside from any solo time I can get on my bike, but I’m very close to signing up for the meditation app, Headspace.

3. Skincare Routine

While a long and warm bath is totally relaxing, I don’t always have the time. The one thing I always make time for is my evening skincare routine. My two must-haves are Eve Lom’s Cleanser and Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate. Both have the most relaxing and calming essential oils that put me in the wind-down zone.

4. The Perfect Pajamas

I’m so particular about my pj’s that the wrong pair can quickly lead to an uncomfortable sleep. Too thick and bulky and I wake up hot. Too stiff or structured and I feel scratchy. Not enough covering my body and I’m freezing. It’s taken a few years to pinpoint the perfect combination, but I swear these lightweight leggings and this tissue-thin top do the trick. I’ve spent countless of dollars on fancy and cute pj sets and always go back to these.

5. Lights Out

Just as I crawl into bed and before I turn the lights out, I apply Trish McEvoy’s Lip Balm and my favorite sleep mask. I’ve tried at least 10 different sleep masks and this one stays on throughout the night and provides full eye coverage so not a bit of light seeps through.

*Writer’s Note: currently doing all of these things while writing this. That Eve Lom cleanser is truly truly magical and worth every penny.

images credits: Gabby Sabharwal from Soux Style; clawfoot bathtub ;Bianca Cheah from Soux Style 

9 comments
  1. 1
    Arianna | November 19, 2015 at 10:36 am

    You´re right when you write that after dinner it´s no social media time! We tend to go to bed with our mind full of things, thoughts, ecc and it´s not healthy at all!

    The products you listed in your skincare-routine are pretty amazing! I tried them both and I totally agree with you!

    Thank you so much for sharing!

    https://pandaonavespa.wordpress.com/

    Reply
  2. 2
    Liz | November 19, 2015 at 10:51 am

    I love the idea of no social media after dinner! Great post 🙂

    xo, Liz
    http://lipstickandconfetti.com

    Reply
  3. 3
    hannah | November 19, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    This has reminded me that I need new PJS!

    Great post 🙂

    http://www.ohjanuary.blogspot.co.uk

    Reply
  4. 4
    eternallyeffervescent | November 19, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    I try to avoid social media before going to sleep as well (with varying degrees of success) but reading a few pages of a good book is an essential part of my nighttime routine. Dara x
    https://champagneinateacup.wordpress.com/

    Reply
  5. 5
    Marife Roman | November 19, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Thank you for sharing your routine. Inspired to be more mindful about my own.

    Reply
  6. 6
    Tiff @ Tiff Goes To | November 26, 2015 at 9:22 am

    Awesome post! A nice routine to get me to bed early, and wake up bright and shine 🙂
    Thanks for your sharing!

    x Tiff
    http://tiffgoesto.com

    Reply
  7. 7
    gunnar berli | November 26, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    Do you sleep in nightgowns?

    Reply
  8. 8
    Madeline D | December 1, 2015 at 11:43 am

    Must track down one of those eye masks! This was so informative, thank you x

    madeline, classicallycontemporary.com

    Reply
  9. 9
    Allison Jones | March 9, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    I’m so bad about actually winding down before bed and not falling asleep with my cell phone in hand! Your evening ritual sounds so lovely it has inspired me to start my own (again…)!

    Reply
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