Skincare routines and fitness commitments get a whole lot of love but what about our precious nighttime rituals? We’re talking about those crucial moments in between brushing your teeth and closing your eyes for the night. It’s the very last sequence of motions we go through to keep our minds and bodies in decent form and set us up for a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed start to the day.
As many of us can attest, a solid nighttime routine can be make or break; the difference between a chipper morning and waking up on the wrong side of the bed. So we thought it’d be worth uncovering the end-of-the-day rituals of R29’s most well-rested editors (or, at least, those who are doing whatever they can to get as many winks as possible).
We hope some of our top sleep aids drift their way into your nighttime routine, too. Here’s to a good night’s kip.
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Alicia Lansom, Associate Editor
Type of sleeper: As much sleep as humanly possible.
“I typically get eight and a half hours of sleep on a weekday (at the weekend I’m pushing for 12 — sleep is life).
“My weekday sleep routine is somewhat obsessive. I don’t function on anything less than eight hours so I get very stressed over the idea of not sleeping. I have a little ‘nighttime’ lamp from Urban Outfitters that only comes on when I’m in relaxing mode, and it really sets the scene before bed. I then light a candle — I love Aather’s Just Like Home, a really comforting blend of sandalwood and tobacco — and set it on my windowsill while I do my skincare (I always blow it out with the window open before bed). After applying my products, I cover my hair with a satin bonnet and lie on my Slip Silk Pillowcase, which makes me feel clean, cosy and calm. I then give myself half an hour of phone or reading time on DND mode before putting my phone out of reach and heading to sleep.”
Kelly Washington, Social Editor
Type of sleeper: Early riser, deep sleeper.
“Not going to lie, I usually sleep really well (sorry!), typically getting eight solid hours a night. However, I sometimes suffer from revenge bedtime procrastination. I like to get an early night in the week (I like going to the gym before work so need to be up extra early) but often I find myself longing to watch one more episode at bedtime or read until my eyes are closed, book in hand. So I’ve created a little winding down routine that really helps me to gradually get in the headspace to fall asleep.
“Firstly I’ll set my Lumi Bodyclock Spark 100 (a lamp/alarm combo) and set the ‘wind down’ option for 20 minutes so that the light slowly fades, telling my body’s circadian rhythm that it’s time to sleep. Then I spray This Works Deep Sleep Spray on my pillow, which makes me feel relaxed as I snuggle into my Tekla Percale bedding and begin to read or watch an episode. Within 20 minutes, I’m usually happy and sleepy enough to turn off my laptop or Kindle.”
Venus Wong, Senior Travel Writer
Type of sleeper: Restless goblin.
“I used to be super self-conscious about the fact that I’m not a morning person. Most of the time, I simply don’t have the strength to remove myself from the warm and cocooning bed. It also doesn’t help that my hours of deep work usually fall between 6pm and 2am — it’s when I feel the most clear-headed and creative as a writer. Before the pandemic, blue light never seemed to bother me; I had the ability to switch off my phone or laptop at 1.30am and immediately fall asleep. But all the doomscrolling of the last few years has caught up with me and I now find myself needing an hour minimum to switch off my mind.
“A rigorous, spa-like routine really helps ease me into slumber. I swear by this Anatome Japanese Seaweed Essential Oil, a blend of 22 essential oils. It smells like a tranquil forest and just sniffing the bottle has the power to make me feel relaxed. I usually open it up, get a nice whiff, and massage two or three drops across my wrists and my back shoulders. The smell changes once the oil interacts with your skin, becoming more oceanic, and my shoulder muscles are instantly less tense. I’m now on my third bottle and wholeheartedly recommend it for anyone who struggles with intense thoughts. Aromatherapy Associates is another brand I love for my bedtime routine. I use the De-Stress Muscle Gel when I have been straining my neck sitting at my desk; I also apply it all over my calves if I’ve been walking a lot. When I am particularly tired or stressed, I try to get into the zone by taking a hot shower with REN Anti-Fatigue Body Wash. I love the essential oils in it and it makes my skin feel so clean and hydrated. I wear lipstick almost every day so I try to mask up overnight to avoid waking up with wrinkly, flaky lips. Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask is the best in the game, IMO.
“Another important thing for me is what I slip into when I’m trying to fall asleep. Bedding in a bamboo-cotton blend, like this M&S sheet set, is my go-to since it is thermoregulating and cosy at the same time. I exclusively wear matching PJ sets and gravitate towards soft fabrics like modal, jersey or bamboo. I’ve had these Uniqlo Airism Cotton Pyjamas for years — they still hold up and I’d like to collect them in every colour. Finally, since I’m such an overthinker at night, I like having a spiral notebook at my side so I can jot down notes before bed or document any weird dreams as soon as I open my eyes. This starry Papier notebook is lovely and super on-theme.”
Esther Newman, Affiliate Writer
Type of sleeper: Night owl who is realising they might also be a bit of a morning person (yes, it’s both a shock and a horror).
“I typically aim for eight hours of sleep on a weekday but usually manage six or seven, and 10 to 12 on the weekends (it’s all about the long lie-in).
“I’ve always been a night owl — a childhood of devouring books by the light of a dimmer switch prepared me for an adulthood of long, late nights (and is probably the reason for my terrible eyesight, but that’s another story). Though as I get older and since switching from the irregularity of student life and the chaotic limbo of lockdown to a grown-up, 9-to-5 job, I’m having to admit something quite radical to myself: maybe I’m a bit of a morning person, too? I seem to enjoy getting to bed early and having a long, relaxed bedtime routine. I also like waking up early and having the time to do all the things I would previously rush through, like skincare, journalling, exercise classes and pre-work walks. Right now for example, I’m especially loving my new Let It Go journal — unlike a blank diary, it’s prepped with 100 prompts that help guide your writing. Ideal for either early morning journalling, when your brain hasn’t gotten into gear yet, or at late night when your brain is too full from the day to process.
“Largely, I think, it’s because I spend my workdays staring at a screen. I need that time pre- and post-sleep to let my eyes and brain rest before being blasted with blue light and notifications. I try to start getting to bed about eight or nine-ish and prep for the next day. Recently I’ve discovered the simple joy of silky satin and soft linen pyjama sets, which make me feel very bougie and, I would argue, comfier — especially when combined with my stonewashed linen bedsheets from Magic Linen. Once I’m ready, I’ll make myself a herbal tea (I swear by Our Remedy raspberry leaf and rosehip tea. It’s a must when I’m on my period but also really helps soothe my mind and aids with digestion), light some incense and candles (my favourite scent is rose), and read for an hour or two for a screen-free wind-down (phone on DND of course). Then, when it’s time to sleep, I’ll set my Lumie Bodyclock Luxe to sunset mode. The gradual dimming of the light and gentle sound of waves usually gets me snoozing pretty quickly.
Usually, all of this does the trick and I’m off in minutes, but recently stress have kept my mind racing at night. I was recommended Indi Supplements Rest Natural Sleep Remedy, a natural blend of calming, sleep-inducing ingredients like chamomile flower extract, valerian and ashwagandha. It tastes like peppermint and all I need is one drop under the tongue 30 to 60 minutes before bed for the best, most solid sleep I’ve had in a long time.”
Lauren Cunningham, Freelance Affiliate Writer
Type of sleeper: Early riser (if all goes to plan).
“Typically I get eight hours of sleep, or else I can forget about functioning the next day.
“I don’t dream. Weird, I know. As soon as my head hits the pillow, I’m out like a light ’til morning, like someone pressed an off switch on my body. At least that was the case until my OAP cat started acting like a cockerel. Now, whether it’s a paw in the face, a near-hourly meow marathon or a small puddle of sick perfectly placed within reach of my foot, I’m up at least four or five times a night. To combat this, I’ve tried to create the most calming nighttime routine so I’m more relaxed than raging every time she wakes me up. She is, after all, just a baby.
“Starting off with a bath, I add a good helping of Homework Bath Soak to make it even more soothing, then, on a non-fake tan day, will slather on This Works Deep Sleep Body Cocoon. For skincare, any serum, eye cream or moisturiser I’m testing for work will do, but the one product that truly tricks my brain into thinking it’s bedtime is this Soveral Mandarin Kiss lip balm. I know, £17 for a lip balm is expensive but I’m yet to find anything that beats it and one pot lasts me a whole year. Finally, I’ll slip on a silky pair of PJs and fluffy socks to shuffle around the house in. When it comes time to turn off the lights, my Happy Ears earbuds are now an essential, as is the Drowsy sleep mask to stop me opening my eyes all the time. Now, if anyone has a product that will sort the cat-sick problem, please let me know.”
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