Bedtime Routines For Adults Say, “Time For Sleep”

Bedtime rituals

How do you sleep better at night naturally?

It’s not by using a pill or product, though sometimes those can help. Those items wouldn’t necessarily be “natural.”

Instead, the number one way to sleep better at night is a skill. It’s by finding, adopting, and applying a good adult bedtime routine that’s right for you.

You might have had a routine when you were a kid. Times change. Now you’re an adult and need a bedtime routine fit for an adult.

How to think about adult bedtime routines

Sometimes they’re rejected out of hand.

They shouldn’t be.

The best bedtime routine for an adult will include activities he or she wants to or needs to get done. It can involve others, too. © Marysmn |

They’re a skill; and after all, there are two kinds of skills.

One kind is hard to teach in simple terms, and it can’t be easily simplified down into point-by-point instructions. 

If you can simplify it, you’re a “superstar teacher.” 

Writing essays is one of those complex skills. 

If you were to teach someone everything about how to write an essay, you’d have to teach many things. You’d have to cover grammar, how to format the paper, how to type, and how to structure an argument.  

That’s just for starters. That’s just a bunch of theories, and theory is nothing more than an intellectual exercise unless it’s applied. 

After that, there would be hands-on practice. 

You’d have them practice writing an essay, critique it, and then have the learner write another one again.  

Your student might be an adequate writer at that point. They might not, too. 

If you wanted to turn your student into a good writer, you’d have them write many essays. Then you’d have them read good articles to see how other essay writers practiced the craft. 

And so on. 

Being a consistently good sleeper is the second kind of skill

The second kind of skill can be explained in black and white terms. Step Three follows Step Two, which follows Step One. 

Using a microwave is one of those skills. Knowing the theory of using the microwave isn’t necessary unless you’re going to be building them or selling them. 

To use the microwave, you have to open the door. Then you place the food to be heated inside—set timer. Wait. Take food out of the microwave without burning yourself. 

The process of going to sleep should be like the latter skill: simple, step-by-step. One step follows another. The method of getting enough sleep should be treated like a skill.  

The reality is, however, there wouldn’t be sleep doctors, sleep coaches, books on sleep, thousands of different sleep products, and sleep study centers if it were so simple. If it was always that simple, there wouldn’t be enough complexity to confound people. Simple doesn’t mean easy! 

Showering before bed can help one sleep better at night naturally. © Voyagerix |

Just because something is or should be simple doesn’t mean it isn’t a big deal. Not enough sleep is a big deal, though it’s easy to take it for granted when you’re well-rested.

There’s a triad of good health: eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep. We put a lot of emphasis on the first two. The last one is treated as if it was a given, and that’s a problem.

Having a consistent bedtime routine as an adult is a habit. That’s true, and knowing enough to adopt that habit is a kind of skill.

The skill is usually easy to perform. The problem, however, comes with finding the right skill to apply. Read on.

Bedtime Routines = Bedtime Rituals = Sleep Skill

Having a routine helps to make the steps of any skill stick. Not much thought is needed. If the steps are right, success is automatic.

Taken together, the steps in the routine are necessary to accomplish the task that needs to be done. The routines are the lines that one has to color within. Routines are rituals, and the steps become a sort of rule.

The steps of the routine don’t have to feel constraining. Think of a genre romance novel. If you were writing one, you couldn’t have your protagonists fall in love and be happy ever after in the first chapter. If you did, it would be something else. However, you can be creative within the rules of the romance genre.

Someone who has the rule that they never eat heavily after 8 p.m. (because they find they don’t sleep well) could allow themselves to have a light snack if the occasion arose. You can color within the lines of the routine. They are general rules.

Lots of activities have rituals associated with them. There are rituals related to mealtime. Serve foods from every food group. Say grace. Don’t talk with your mouth full. Drink a beverage with your meal. Wash your hands. 

There are rituals associated with exercise. Say you were going for a run. Put on your shorts, and put on a t-shirt. Lace-up your sneakers. Stretch. Start running at a moderate pace. 

This is obvious stuff. Yet, many people don’t have rituals associated with bedtime. They’re eating in bed, checking e-mail, and watching TV. For them, anything goes. 

They’re playing video games. They are worried about one thing or another or trying to sleep with sheets that aren’t comfortable.  

Before you take a sleeping pill; before you invest hundreds of dollars in an expensive, state-of-the-art mattress, before you do anything, take a look at your bedtime rituals. Change and modify them to build a comfortable bedtime routine aligning with your personal goals.

Remember back to the last time you had a great night of sleep. What did you do then? That would make a great starting point in finding a regular course of bedtime rituals. When you find the most successful bedtime rituals for yourself, you’ll have a starting point to find the best rules for you to live by.

Bedtime rituals don’t have to be stifling. The thing is, however, that you have to figure out what the rules are for you before you go and violate them. 

Learn to drive within the lines on the road.  

After you master that, you can work toward being the equivalent of a stunt driver when it comes to sleeping. You’ll be an expert when it comes to getting enough shuteye.

How to create your ideal bedtime routine

Your adult bedtime routine will vary depending on where you live, who you are, and what you do. The idea is to choose activities that will help you wind down and be meaningful.

They can include personal maintenance activities:

  • Brush teeth
  • Floss teeth
  • Take shower
  • Stretch
  • Take the pills you need to take at nighttime.

Getting ready for the morning:

  • Lay out clothes for the morning
  • Figure out what’s for breakfast
  • Laying out homework, papers you need for work, etc.


Personal development

  • Read a book
  • Light exercise, stretching, taking a walk, etc.
  • Prayer

When considering what to include in your adult bedtime routine, make it a priority to wind down. Don’t make any activity too exciting or engaging. Bedtime, for example, isn’t the time to review a contract that will affect your life choices for the next 20 years. Choose the steps to your bedtime routine wisely.

Depending on how meticulous you want to be, you may or may not want to write down the steps of your routine. You may choose to let the steps come about naturally, consciously choosing things you need to get done that will allow you to wind down simultaneously.

Remember: there’s no better way than a bedtime routine for an adult to sleep better at night naturally.

Next, check out…

Try this the next time you wake up too early.

Categorize your dreams to see the seasons of your life.

How to have a clarifying dream.

Americans slept better in 1968 – even with a war going on.

Too little sleep leads to testosterone problems, which can ruin your life.


James Cobb, RN, MSN, is an emergency department nurse and the founder of the Dream Recovery System. His goal is to provide his readers with simple, actionable ways to improve their health and maximize their quality of life. 

This site contains some affiliate links. We may receive a commission if you click on a link and make a purchase. This has no effect on our opinions. 


2 thoughts on “Bedtime Routines For Adults Say, “Time For Sleep”

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