We all understand the importance of a solid bedtime routine, but cultivating one often seems to be easier in theory than in practice. However, there are many ways to successfully signal the end of the work day, whether that involves pampering, doing something creative, or just unplugging from it all with a good book.
We spoke with 16 creatives from a variety of fields to get the lowdown on the nighttime rituals that they swear by, many of which we’re inspired to adapt ourselves.
Wash Off the Day
“For me, the best way to decompress before bed is with a hot shower and my nightly skincare routine. I've also added Equilibria CBD into my routine, which helps me calm down before bed and sleep more soundly. On Sunday nights, I like spending a little extra time on my skin with a face mask and putting fresh sheets on my bed. No better way to sleep than that!"—Carly Hill, blogger and founder of Carly A. Hill Communications
“I wash my face and put on every nighttime beauty product I can manage. It’s unclear how much they work, but they feel indulgent and it's one of my favorite times of day. I also try to drink a giant glass of water, since I've likely not consumed enough during the day. Then, I set my phone to night mode so I can disconnect and read my current book or watch Friends to wind down.” —Shaheen Khan, blogger for Lows to Luxe
“My bedtime ritual may sound like that of a different era, but I am an avid needlepointer and always stitch right before I go to sleep. It's a relaxing, very creative outlet that I absolutely love and recommend to those looking to get away from the iPhone screen dependency we all have."—Amy Stone, brand creative strategist
“My job is pretty physical, so after a long day in the studio, I love to relax and take a nice warm bath with a glass of wine. I love using beautiful, fragrant bath soaps to really help me relax and enjoy that little moment carved out for ‘me.’ As important as it is for me to physically decompress, I also like to mentally escape from the work day. I'm a big documentary person, so I always find myself digging into a good doc right before bed to help rest my mind. I recently watched a documentary on Warhol and Basquiat which was so good.” —Josh Young, artist at Josh Young Design House
Soft PJs, Sleep-Mode, and "Seinfeld"
“I look forward to changing into my favorite pajamas from LAKE all day—they are the softest. After completing my nightly skincare routine and taking Equilibria CBD, I climb into bed to wind down. I use the "sleep" function on my phone to dismiss any notifications and keep me from endlessly scrolling on Instagram. My husband and I usually watch one or two episodes of Seinfeld—we started watching it from the very beginning back in March—and it's a nice, light-hearted way to end the day." —Alex Yeske, art director and graphic designer
Podcasts and Puzzles
“I wind down in the evenings with an hour or two of television, followed by a hot shower with eucalyptus and lavender essential oil. I brush, floss, do a quick three-step skincare regimen, and put my pjs on. After that, I usually listen to a podcast in bed for some screen-free entertainment or work on a crossword puzzle on my phone. It's lights out for me around 11 p.m. I love falling asleep to nature sounds and keep my bedroom nice and cool for easy breathing.” —Sarai Reed, home consultant, Apron Saint
Strict CBD and Skincare Routine
“A strict CBD and skincare routine are my ultimate self care essentials right before bedtime, and adding both of those to my bedtime ritual has been one of the healthiest things I've done for myself in 2020. Right before heading to sleep, I read an excerpt from the book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, and that resets my mind for the next day. If I'm still up, I'll skip out on Instagram or TikTok and head right to Pinterest on my phone. Pinning and collecting inspiration is the most calming thing to me after a day of creating content myself.” —Amy Littleson, blogger and influencer marketing consultant
Calming Scents and Crisp Sheets
“Late evenings are both when I’m most focused and most creative. But part of working late means that my mind is going in all directions when I am ready to go to bed, usually around 11:30. To counteract that, I take a hot steam shower with fresh eucalyptus hanging in my shower room. Nothing is more relaxing than climbing into a crisp set of sheets straight out of a shower.”—Anastasia Casey, founder and creative director, IDCO Studio
"The funny thing about working from home right now is that my bedtime routine really begins as soon as I'm mentally logged off for the day. Since I'm no longer hitting the gym or heading to happy hour with friends after work, I've found an extended bedtime is the softest, most comforting way to navigate this time. That means I go into every evening aiming to end my day as gently as possible, to varying degrees of success.
"Step one of that is changing from my daytime soft clothes into my nighttime soft clothes the moment the workday is over. Then, we'll usually cook dinner and find what I call a ‘soft activity,’ like reading or watching a show (my recent favorite was High Fidelity on Hulu). I never dive into anything too intense on a weeknight. Then, I give myself a small amount of time each night to watch some TikToks. I know nighttime screen time is discouraged but they make me laugh—really laugh—and I think that's really important right now." —Tyler Calder, director of content, Girls' Night In
Time to Read
“The older I get, the more I have leaned into cultivating a bedtime routine to help close out the day. I love to take a hot bath and read for 20 minutes. It's my most cherished time away from a screen. There's also nothing better than slipping on cozy pajamas and cashmere socks after a bath, in my opinion. I'll usually make myself a cup of tea after. I love the WelleCo Sleep tea and I always apply the True Botanicals stress relief aromatherapy to my inner wrists and do a bit of deep breathing once I officially turn in for the night. I'll turn on an Inscape sleep meditation as a last step of my regimen, and I usually find they help me fall to sleep more swiftly.” —Meghan Donovan, founder, wit & whimsy
“One of my bedtime rituals includes dimming the overhead lights, lighting my favorite candle, then taking a few moments just to decompress. The ambiance and scent of calming essential oils is so soothing after a long day. I also turn on my sleep playlist, comprised of my favorite slow songs. As a creative, my brain always feels like I've got a million tabs open at once. The soft tunes combined with the candle light really calm my busy brain.” —Saudah Saleem, designer and owner of Saudah Saleem Interiors
“I’m 1000 percent a bath person and need a piping hot one after a long day. Bath essentials include multiple candles, a salt lamp and a Bossa Nova playlist. Post bath, I slather on a variety of face oils and put on a set of matching pjs because they help me feel like I have my life together. Lastly, I love writing in my gratitude journal to reflect on my day and remember to appreciate the little things. If I’m not tired by now, I have the very bad habit of indulging in some TikTok before bed.” —Reema Desai Boldes, photographer
Debrief From the Day
“We have a rule in our house dictating no phone use or social media or computer after 7:30 p.m., unless it's a text from a friend or family that you must answer. Evenings are when we are able to then focus on cooking, debriefing the day, spending quality time together and preparing our bodies and minds for bed. Phones are on do not disturb, and we’re always in bed early to get eight hours of sleep at least (we wake up at either 5 or 6 am). I also must drink an entire tall glass of water prior to going to bed, as well as have that same tall glass filled by me for the night just in case. I wake up a lot better when I follow all this, but it doesn't always happen exactly that way. Reading in bed with a glass of wine and answering social media messages is just as much fun sometimes, and it feels good to break your own rules." —David Santori, Instagrammer @FrenchieYankee
“My bedtime ritual lately has been painting. I usually start painting after my partner and the pups are in bed. It’s quiet: I paint for a couple hours and then I hop into bed.” —Dabito, blogger at Old Brand New
Silk Sleep Mask
“Aside from the everyday rituals of brushing teeth, completing my skincare routine, and throwing my hair into a loose bun, the most important part of my bedtime routine is to ‘wind down well.’ To me, this means using lowlight pretty much as soon as it gets dark (only using table lamps and candles to create ambiance and slow down the day), being screen-free, and not working for at least an hour before heading to bed. On an evening where all is going to plan, once I head to bed, I like to read for about half an hour or so to help quiet my mind and switch-off for the day. After that, I slather my hands in my fave hand cream, which right now is from Kamill. It’s super affordable and truly the best. The final step is throwing on my silk sleeping mask—nothing helps me get a better sleep than wearing that thing!” —Madison Hope, founder of Style & Studio