Many people talk about the importance of having a college morning routine, but what they don’t tell you is that it’s very hard to get up earlier when you don’t prepare the night before. That’s why creating a college evening routine is just as important as a morning routine.
Think about it.
If you don’t prepare to have a good night’s sleep, what makes you think you can get up easily the next morning well-rested and ready to start your day?
So in order to wake up feeling awesome and ready to be more productive during your morning routine before class, you must first plan your evening routine.
Let’s get started!
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When to Start Your College Evening Routine
This will be different from person to person.
You can start your routine once you get back from your last class of the day, or after you finish dinner.
Figure out what you want to do and stick to it. New habits and routines are easier to implement when you pick a consistent time to do them.
I personally start my evening routine after dinner. Once the kitchen is all cleaned up, it signals to my brain that it’s time to start winding down for the day.
What to do Before Bed – College Evening Routine Ideas
There are two main categories of things you can do in the evening before you go to sleep:
- Things to set yourself up for a productive morning
- Things to wind you down so you can fall asleep faster
Set Yourself Up for a Productive Morning
It’s a good idea to do a few things the night before so you don’t have to do them in the morning while you’re still half asleep. You’ll have an easier and more relaxing morning routine if you don’t have to make any decisions first thing in the morning.
Try doing a few of these things to help set you up for the morning.
1. Plan for Success
"You can't succeed without first planning to succeed."
It’s true ain’t it? How do you expect to succeed at anything without planning for success?
This is why it’s a good idea to take some time before bed to plan the next day.
Go through your calendar of assignments and projects and determine what you’re going to work on tomorrow and when.
Then ask yourself:
- What are your top 3 priorities for tomorrow?
- What do you hope to accomplish?
- Which goals are you focusing on tomorrow?
Write down your answers to these questions and review them in the morning to start your day.
2. Tidy Up
A clean house is the best thing to wake up to. Plus it can also help put your mind to rest knowing there isn’t a mess waiting for you in the morning.
Set a timer for 10 to 15 minutes and do a quick clean-up. Clean off your desk, wipe down the kitchen counter, and fold the blankets that are all over the floor. It may not be much, but just doing those few things will make the room look so much better.
3. Prepare for Tomorrow
What can you do ahead of time for tomorrow?
You can set out your clothes, pack your backpack and gym bag, make your lunch, plan your meals and see if you need to pull something out of the freezer to thaw, etc.
And most importantly: set the coffee timer.
Doing these few things can speed up your morning and create less wasteful minutes making these decisions when you may still be half asleep.
Time to Wind Down
After you’ve done things to make tomorrow morning easier, it’s time to start winding down.
Try doing some of these calming activities before bed to help you relax and fall asleep faster. Which will lead to a better quality of sleep so you can tackle the next day with a full night’s rest.
I like to treat my entire evening routine as my self-care time. Any self-care activity will do; have a bath, do a face mask, make a cup of tea, read your favorite book, or watch that one last episode of “Friends” before bed (though not right before bed ?)
Check out these self-care activities for more inspiration.
5. Stretch Your Body (Bedtime Yoga)
Start your wind-down ritual with some light bedtime yoga. This helps relieve the tensions built up from the day, plus it can improve your flexibility.
Try my favorite bedtime yoga sequence by “Yoga with Adriene” on Youtube. See how much better you feel, both at night and in the morning.
6. Skin Care
At the end of a long day, your skin deserves some pampering. Take off the makeup, wash your face, and put lotion on your skin. Your skin protects your body all day so why not treat it to a nice evening. The most important thing you can do for your skin is to find the products that work best for it.
I wash my face both in the morning and before bed with E.L.F.s daily face cleanser and pair it with the bedtime night cream. These two things have been my go-to for years and my skin thanks me for it.
After that, I find my favorite smelling lotion and put it on my legs and arms. Currently, I’ve been really into this lotion from Bath and Body Works and it’s fragranced with natural essential oils that promote stress relief. Perfect for right before bed.
Plus I go to bed smelling nice and clean?
And of course, don’t forget to take care of your teeth, too. Brush them, floss them, and rinse with mouth wash.
You’ll go to bed all clean and smelling awesome.
7. Read a book
If you don’t include reading in your mornings as I do, then this may be the only time you have to indulge in your favorite fictional story.
Spend some time reading just a few pages before bed and you’ll find that love of reading you may have had as a kid before school seemed to have gotten in the way.
Reading is also a better way to wind down without screens that can inhibit your ability to fall asleep.
Now I usually do my big journaling session in the morning but you could also do one at night. It doesn’t have to be that long. You could write about what happened that day and reflect on it. Or you can just jot down a few quick things you are grateful for. That’s all I do and it makes me feel so good right before bed.
Related: How to Start a Journal
9. Turn off the electronics
We have all been told a thousand times that looking at screens before bed is harmful to our sleep. So how about we actually listen to that advice. You’ll get much better sleep, I promise you.
Try putting your phone “to bed” about an hour before you plan to shut off the lights. And if you have an alarm clock that isn’t your phone (which I highly recommend), try keeping your phone outside the bedroom or on the other side of the room so you aren’t tempted to reach for it both before bed and first thing in the morning.
Tip: make it cute to “put your phone to bed” by getting one of these cute phone holders on Amazon.
Try being silent. Like actually truly silent. These days we don’t get to sit in silence all that often cause there is always something going on.
Meditation is the best way, in my opinion, to achieve this silence. It doesn’t have to be that long. Try setting a timer for 5-10 minutes and just focus on your breathing.
This will help put your mind to bed as well and make it easier to fall asleep.
Something to consider:
Please don’t try to incorporate all of these ideas at once. Sure a “perfect” college evening routine may include all or most of these but it’s hard to start a new routine with so many steps. Just start with a few at first.
May I recommend a 10-minute tidy-up, reading a book, and doing nighttime yoga? Notice how much better you’ll sleep and how you feel in the morning with just those 3 new habits. Once you’ve established that an evening routine is important for your overall productivity as a college student, add some more of these ideas into your evening.
My Evening Routine (if you are interested)
6:30p – clean up kitchen after dinner
7:00p – watch 1 episode of my current binge (currently that’s “Supernatural”)
7:45p – my skincare routine
8:00p – put my phone to bed & 10-minute tidy
8:10p – bedtime yoga, meditate & gratitude journal
8:30p – read
9p – lights out
Take my evening routine as inspiration for your own. Do not completely copy mine because not everyone’s routine is the same.
Take some time to figure out what is best for you and slowly integrate it into your own evening routine.
Your future self with thank you for getting an evening routine established in college.
*If you missed last week’s college morning routine post, make sure you check it out.
The first step to becoming a productive college student is to first set up routines.
When routines are established, you can spend more of your energy on studying rather than deciding what to do next.
Good luck this semester, you’ve got this!
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