My Nighttime Routine - Maya Adivi
My brain is my greatest enemy, at least when it comes to falling asleep. I used to lay in bed rehashing past events. Those nighttime thoughts weren’t helpful or revelatory—they just made falling asleep much harder.
Over the years, I’ve cultivated a series of bedtime rituals that help me turn off the brain noise. My nighttime skincare routine plays a key role, but so do the little wellness habits that help me unwind and improve my sleep quality.
I’ll share all of my nighttime steps with you in this article, along with an evening routine checklist in case you want to give my habits a try.
For me, this is the best way to end the day, so maybe you’ll find some ideas here that’ll work for you, as well!
Prepare for tomorrow
Before I can truly start unwinding, I make sure to do any important prep for the next day. I go over tomorrow’s schedule and to-do list, set my alarm if I have to be up at a specific time, and if I’m feeling ambitious, I lay out my outfit for the morning.
Put the phone away
After I check my email and social media one last time, I set my phone to silent and close all of the tempting apps. From this point until I slide into bed, I try to look at my devices as little as possible. I know that once I start scrolling or replying, I’ll lose an hour or two to my phone and end up falling asleep much later than intended.
Water and bedside essentials
The next thing I do is check that I have everything I’ll need in the middle of the night. Usually, that just means filling up my reusable water bottle and checking that I have a stick of lip balm by the bedside (my lips get so dry at night!).
You might have your own bedside accessories to check on, like an essential oil diffuser that needs filling or maybe a pen and notebook to jot down your dreams in the morning.
A relaxing soundtrack
Before I start my other bedtime rituals, I choose a podcast to play in the background. This helps me unwind and takes my mind off the day I’ve had. It might seem like a small thing, but doing this has vastly improved my sleep quality.
History and mythology shows like Tides of History and The Hidden Djinn are my favorites because they strike the perfect balance between calming and interesting. My little trick is to play them at a slower speed, which amps up the soothing factor.
If you’re not one for podcasts, you can try playing a nature soundscape, classical music, or have a comforting TV show on in the background.
Gentle makeup removal
Now I can start my nighttime skincare routine in earnest. Removing makeup and sunscreen is the first order of business, since sleeping with makeup on can irritate the eyes and clog pores.
I love the minimalism of French beauty, so I opt for just one cleansing step with a creamy facial cleanser that doesn’t irritate or dry out my skin.
I massage the cleanser into my skin when it’s dry, which allows it to break down all of my makeup thoroughly. Next, I hop into the shower to rinse it all off!
An evening shower
I always feel a little grimy at the end of a long day, which is why I prefer to shower in the evening. I also find that rinsing off makeup and cleanser residue is much more comfortable in the shower than hovering over the sink. I set the water to a lukewarm temperature at first so I don’t damage my face or hair with hot water.
Despite what dermatologists say, I can’t resist a bit of steam, so once it’s time to wash my body, I do turn up the heat. I always opt for a sulfate-free body wash, to mitigate some of the damage, and I don’t overuse the soap, since I know a little goes a long way.
When I’m out of the shower, I gently towel dry just to soak up the excess water, although I leave my skin a little damp. Then, to make up for the onslaught of the hot shower, I moisturize my skin thoroughly.
I start with my face and neck, massaging in my serums and lotions in circular, upward motions that help stimulate the muscles. Occasionally, I even treat myself to a massage with a jade roller, especially if my skin feels a little puffy!
With that done, I apply a protective lip balm to my lips and use a heavier body cream to nourish my body, hands, and feet, which also deserve some attention.
Brush and floss, of course!
This probably needs no saying, but flossing and brushing are important nightly (and daily) habits. I prefer to use a sulfate-free toothpaste, to avoid drying out my lips. For floss, I stay away from floss picks because I think they’re worse for the environment.
Going to bed wearing something that’s special for bedtime puts me in the right mindset for sleep, and helps to separate nighttime from the day. I’m not really a pajama wearer, but I do have a few T-shirts and ultra-soft lounge pants that have become my dedicated sleepwear.
On nights when I really struggle to let go of the previous day, meditation helps a lot. There are all kinds of fantastic guided meditation apps, but I like to do it by myself. I lie back with my eyes closed and focus on my breathing.
I inhale to a count of four, exhale to a count of eight, and then sit in the emptiness for a few seconds before starting again. This kind of breathing is based on Bahya breathing from yoga, and it’s believed to help with tranquility. I certainly find that it works!
Good sleep is incredibly important to our overall beauty, health, and wellbeing. Maybe some of my habits can also help you improve your sleep quality, but what really matters is creating a consistent ritual that tells your mind and body, “the day is over, you can rest now.”