December 21, 2016 Living Well 5 Easy Ways to Make Bedtime More Relaxing Apartment Therapy One of the best things about getting older is the self-care routines that adults seem to adopt. With age comes better respect for how we treat our bodies, and for me, a nighttime routine reflects that. It’s important to find one that works well for you and makes sense for your needs. Before thinking a routine requires a specific checklist to be successful, brainstorm what makes you zen and ready to dose off. In order to provide inspiration, here are my 5 steps to a relaxing nighttime routine: 1. Set an Alarm Yup, for nighttime! I set an alarm for an hour before bed (9:30 p.m., I’m a grandma) and that’s my cue to turn off the TV or computer and to start my routine. I personally need structure, so having this hour is crucial for me to limit any anxiety before bed and to feel chilled out. It’s also a nice reminder in case you’re mid-Netflix binge and losing track of how late it is. P.S. Can we talk about Westworld?! 2. Limit Technology This is probably the hardest thing for me because scrolling through Instagram in bed sounds amazing. The thing is, even though it doesn’t feel like it, you’re stimulating your brain—the exact opposite of what you should be doing before bed. When my alarm goes off at 9:30, I turn my phone to airplane mode and sleep with it this way. This is smart because it turns off signals through the transceiver (which studies show is actually bad for our brains). Plus, if you look at your phone in the middle of the night to see the time, you won’t see all your notifications. It’s really made an impact on my sleep in general! Apartment Therapy 3. Skin Prep Another thing that comes with age is a skin-care routine. I actually enjoy putting on all my creams and oils before bed. Anyone else? I usually apply in this order: cleanser, toner, brightening serum (personal problem area), eye cream, face lotion and then face oil if I’m crazy dry. I’ll then put some oil to the ends of my hair followed by hand cream. It sounds like a lot, but it only takes about 10 minutes and feels nice. 4. Dim Lights and Turn on an Oil Diffuser This is my favorite step. I’ve become obsessed with diffusing essential oils all day long, but a little lavender before bed is heavenly. Not only does it smell great and reduces anxiety, but the white noise the diffuser puts out is calming in itself. I bought a dim table lamp a couple months ago and that has made such a difference; way better than my bright overhead light. 5. Non-Fiction Has anyone noticed that if you’re really into a fiction book you’ll sometimes think about the story while trying to fall asleep or even have crazy dreams? Especially if I’ve been watching a lot of TV and have characters and plots floating around in my head, I like to read non-fiction before bed. It seems to settle my mind, and let’s be honest, it’s usually boring and I can’t wait to fall asleep! Fiction can keep me wanting to read for way too long, so I save those for the weekends or other times during the week. I love hearing about other people’s routines. Please share yours! BTW, add this to your nightly skincare routine, and how to create a dream-inducing bedroom. Today’s post is written by contributor Chelsea Becker, a San Diego native, living and writing in San Francisco. Follow her on Instagram & Pinterest.