After a long and stressful day, it’s important to be able to relax and unwind at home. An evening routine focused on comfort and calm can help you decompress and get ready for a restful night’s sleep. Here are some tips for creating a soothing atmosphere in your home during the evenings.
Set the Mood with Soft Lighting
Harsh, bright overhead lights can feel jarring after being out in the world all day. Opt for lamps, candles and strings of fairy lights to cast a warm, cozy glow instead. Dimmer switches also allow you to lower the brightness. Arrange accent lighting in comfy spaces like your living room, bedroom and bathroom. You can also light candles during your evening routine. Flickering candlelight adds warmth and ambiance. Go for unscented or light scents like lavender or vanilla to promote relaxation. Group candles together for maximum impact.
Turn on Soothing Music
Listening to gentle, calming music in the evening engages your senses and helps you mentally transition to a more peaceful state. Create playlists of piano, acoustic guitar or light jazz instrumentals. Nature sounds like ocean waves, rainfall or chirping birds are also soothing options. Set the volume low to play lightly in the background. Having music on while preparing dinner, reading a book or even getting ready for bed sets a laidback tone.
Stay Cozy with Blankets and Pillows
Nothing says it’s time to unwind quite like wrapping yourself in a soft blanket or snuggling up with pillows. Keep a stockpile of cozy knit blankets draped over your sofas and chairs in living areas. Make your bed extra inviting with plush pillows and throws at the foot. Pillows can also make the floor more comfortable if you want to stretch out while watching TV. The more layers of cushy softness the better for optimal coziness.
Sip Tea, Coffee or Cocoa
Sipping on a hot beverage helps cue your body that it’s time to take a pause. Herbal teas can be warming, soothing and even sleep-promoting. Chamomile and lavender teas are classics. A decaf coffee or cup of hot chocolate also hits the spot. You can make your drink more of an event by using your nice mugs, brewing in a pot on the stove, adding whipped cream or spice toppings, or pairing it with a baked good. Enjoying a hot drink while relaxing on the couch or reading in bed makes downtime even sweeter.
Power Down Technology
It can be tempting to pick up your phone or laptop as soon as you get home. But allowing yourself to disconnect from the buzz of technology even for just an evening helps clear your mind. Turn off notifications, put devices away in another room and try to limit screen time as bedtime approaches. You could have a basket or tray near the door to drop phones, tablets and work badges into as soon as you get home. Resist the urge to check anything until the morning.
A subtle, calming scent filling your home can instantly evoke relaxation. Light a few candles first thing when you get home or let them burn for a while before bed. Stick to lighter aromas that won’t feel overpowering. Floral, fresh scents like jasmine and gardenia are soothing. Citrus scents like lemon, orange and grapefruit are bright yet not too stimulating. Lavender, chamomile, sandalwood and vanilla are always safe bets for promoting tranquility as well.
Take Time to Unwind
Build in decompression time after work and before bed so you don’t immediately launch into evening chores or try to sleep before you’re truly relaxed. Simple soothing activities like taking a bath, listening to a podcast, stretching, meditating or journalling help release the stress of your day. Get into comfy clothes, fix yourself a snack, sip some tea and give yourself permission to rest. Even 10-15 minutes of intentional unwinding can make a difference.
Dim the Lights Before Bed
An hour or two before bedtime, start turning off overhead lights to let your body know nighttime is approaching. Use lamps or natural light if you need illumination. Soft, dwindling light signals to your brain to start producing melatonin to make you sleepy. Close curtains and blinds in your bedroom for maximum darkness. Adding blackout curtains also minimizes external light. You want your bedroom as dark, quiet and tech-free as possible for the best sleep environment.
Following a relaxing evening routine focused on winding down sets you up for the best possible quality of sleep. Dim the lights, light the candles, pile on the blankets and enjoy some soothing sounds. A little attention to your home atmosphere in the evening can go a long way toward helping you feel centered and restored.