Good Night for a Good Morning

Photo by ellievanhoutte

How do you wrap up your day?

With a calm routine to quiet your thoughts and prepare for tomorrow?

Or a flurry of “just one more thing” before you finally quit and fall into bed?

I love staying up late — the quiet, the lack of interruptions, the feeling that I get a couple of extra hours added to my day. The only problem is that I’m borrowing the quality from the next day.  

Late at night is when I like to stay up to read, or write, or come up with random ideas. (I’m sure I’m not the only one who has moved furniture at two in the morning.) I enjoy it, but I’m not being truly productive with that time, and I’m always dragging the next day when I stayed up too late. 

For my day to start well, I need to begin with my routine the night before. A nightly routine shouldn’t be too long or complicated, or you’ll just skip it and go to bed. But when it’s done, you experience a sense of calm and order. Let the unending projects wait until the morning, and focus on closing your day in a peaceful way.

A few ideas:

  • Setting up tomorrow’s coffee.
  • Laying out your clothes for tomorrow.
  • Placing your bag and keys by the door.
  • Making tomorrow’s lunch to take.
  • Brushing your teeth and washing your face.
  • Taking a warm bath.
  • Reading a few pages from a book.
  • Going to bed at a decent hour.
Do you like going to bed early or do you get a burst of energy at night?  What helps you get ready for the next day?
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. Something I try to make a point to do before bed is wash all the dishes and throw them in the drainboard, so they’re ready to be put away while my coffee’s brewing in the morning. For me, it’s alot easier to face the morning without a sinkfull of dirty dishes giving me the hairy eyeball.

  2. Since I get up early and head out, I always prepare the night before so that I don’t wake everyone up. I pretty much do everything on your list! It is a good one.

  3. My last hour of the dayalways goes to clearing the clutter around my house. I agrre with emily, that mornings are easier to face if most of the things are in place. I am a nocturnal species, so I get burst of energy at nights.
    And if I can, I always love to read at night. Best thing that works for me.

  4. One of the things that I try to consistently do before going to bed at “night” (I do shift work so it’s often in the morning that I’m going to bed) is to write out a page of things to be grateful for in my Gratitude Journal. I’ve been doing it consistently since about February and I find it really helps me think over my day before I go to bed, lets me go to sleep with a smile on my face.

    I’ve found that I like being more detailed in my describtions, because it’s more rewarding to read them over again when I’m flipping through it later. It’s also like keeping a kind of diary because I’ll say I’m thankful for friend X when we’re spending a lot of time together. I also often thankful to have ready made food reader to go to work, so I’ll describe what I’m making (because I’m such a foodie). Sleeping when it’s dark often makes the list as well ;)

  5. Rachel, I just happened upon your blog and I truly love it! The points you make in this post along with your suggestions are excellent. I especially love the statement you made about staying up late borrows quality from the next day. I love the feeling I get when I wake up early and can see the world awaken, but I also love staying up late doing odds and ends. I am just trying to find a balance. Thank you for the post… I will be back often to read your beautiful blog!
    Blessings to you….

  6. My husband and I spend time together talking in the evening before I go to bed. He usually stays up much later than I do. This is our time to spend together alone after my son is in bed. I stopped putting my clothes out the night before as it made me feel like my room was messy.

  7. apieceofwood says:

    I’m more of an early bird and think nothing of getting up at 5 to get things done before the day starts! I’m at my most productive then!

    Mind you, come 10ish, I’m flagging and in need of shut eye!

  8. I am so much more of a night person, but having to be at work at 6:30 AM doesn’t really jive with that. Doesn’t help that I battle frequent bouts of insomnia. Because of that I can’t be too active before bedtime, or I’ll never get to sleep. If I’m going to exercise I’ve got to make myself do it as soon as I get home from work, and then I’ll shower right after that. I usually prep the coffee and my food for the next day while doing my other kitchen work- making dinner, loading the dishwasher, etc. Before I go to bed I just make sure I know where my keys are, brush and floss my teethies, and climb in bed for some reading time.

  9. I love my dvr. I can pause whatever program I’m watching, go do my nightly routine, and then come back, finish watching the program (and fast forward through commericals) and go right to bed when I feel sleepy.

    My nightly routine tends to wake me up so I’ve started doing it around 9 so I have another hour or so to unwind and I can go to sleep almost as soon as I crawl into bed. My nightly routine is take my night-time pills, wash up any dishes in the sink, make sure my lunch for tomorrow is ready, make sure the cats dish is clean for the morning, check the litter box is clean too, brush teeth, set alarm and turn down bedcovers, and finally change into pjs.

    I’m more of a morning person. I used to get upset when I couldn’t sleep at night but now I look at that as just extra time to just lie there and think and plan and dream (sortof). I have paper and pen next to the bed so I can write down those “don’t forget” thoughts – that helps me get back to sleep too.

  10. My kitchen closes at 8pm so that means everyone that needs a bedtime snack/drink better have it done before then. I hate nothing more than having dirty dishes in the sink so I try to have it empty, dishwasher loaded, kitchen cleaned, etc. If my kitchen is clean, all is right with the world. (ha) My bags plus the girls’ backpacks are in place at the top of the steps. I try to have it quiet in the house by 9:00 and encourage everyone to be in their bed with a good book at that time. I’m an Olympic junkie so my sleeptime has been cut short the last week and a half because of that. Once the Olympics are over I’ll be well-rested again!

  11. hi, rachel! like you, i do 2, 3 & 4 on your list.

    and for a really ‘peaceful’ sleep, i somehow need to write on my little notebook everything i have to do the next day — in order. i’m a little crazy that way :)

  12. Christine says:

    Rachel: Your last few posts echo themes in the Flylady program. Have you been reading her material?

  13. our nighttime routine starts right after dinner (we get around 6 to get the kids to school by 7:20). i pack part of the girls’ lunches and clean up the kitchen (and start the dishwasher then if the girls don’t need a bath. i get their clothes and mine and put them on my dresser for the next morning. i give the girls a bath and we read books together.

    after they are in bed, i try to make up a schedule for the next day. i love crossing things off a list so it’s very motivating for me. my husband and i may watch tv, or read. and since i’ve cut back on caffeine, i’m usually ready to fall asleep before 10, which works out well for getting up at 6….

  14. This is one area I really need to improve on! I feel that the only “me” time I get is when I stay up late. I’m looking forward to getting back on a schedule. I’ve really enjoyed these dog days of summer this year – but it’s time to get back to a schedule.

  15. I was also going to ask if you are a Flybaby! Her advice to lay out clothes/bags/keys/etc the night before really changed the way my entire day goes.

    Currently, I don’t have much of an evening routine and I’d like to get back to one. Right now, I lay out my clothes or at least mentally pick out what I’m going to wear, pack my bag, charge my phone and make sure the dishes are washed. Three nights a week I also do the 100-pushup challenge. I want to get back in the habit of making lunch at night so I won’t have the excuse of being too rushed to take it with me.

  16. These comments are so motivating! There are great ideas here.

    Emily, I try to do the dishes so I don’t have to face that in the morning too.

    Monica, you could still decide what you’re going to wear, and then hang it up at the front of the closet instead of laying out the clothes.

    Nancy, you close your kitchen at 8? I love it! I’m trying to figure out how I could make that work here.

    Christine, I came across FlyLady several years ago. I haven’t used her system in a long time, but I found her advice to be helpful when I was starting out in my own home.

    Dana, I’m enjoying these last few days of summer too. I’ve really been wanting to take it easy. I can so relate to feeling like the night is my only me time. I’m trying to learn how to have that in the early morning.

  17. Going to bed early is such a key! I wish I did it more often but I too enjoy the quiet and the ability to do whatever I want (nobody tugging at me or asking for something). I went to bed by 9 last night and it was so great!

    A big key for me to starting the day off right is making sure the kitchen is clean before I go to bed, which doesn’t happen as often as it should!

  18. I usually just make sure my purse is put back where it belongs and my keys and phone are there. Sometimes I read, sometimes hubby reads to me.

  19. Yes, I close the kitchen at 8pm. This started years ago as we found ourselves in the kitchen for a bed-time snack/drink about 10 minutes before it was time for lights out. The girls had figured out that by doing this it was prolonging their bedtime. We decided to nip this early so the rule was that if you didn’t have your snack/drink by 8:00 that you were limited to water. This has eliminated dirty dishes being left in the sink overnight which makes my day start better–there’s nothing I hate more than waking up to dirty dishes! We’ve done it so long now that no one even gives it a second thought. Of course, our girls our older now and they’re capable of cleaning up after themselves!

  20. Just recently I started making my lunch (usually a sandwich along with snacks) at night. Usually I’d do this in the morning, but even that little task at night makes the next morning a little more hassle-free. I tend to web surf at night before I hit the hay.

    Great blog by the way. I’ve been lurking for a few weeks now. I’m a regular!

  21. I usually end my night with some tv watching, then brushing my teeth and taking my multi vitamin with a full glass of water before hitting the hay. I currently work from home (for the most part) so I don’t mind doing the little things the next morning like finishing up the dishes, starting the coffee, and watering the plants.

    However, I am very much a night owl, and if I’m not careful (go to bed a decent time) I will find myself up late at night surfing the web. But enjoying every minute of it! Of course I always pay for it the next morning when I can’t get myself out of bed!

  22. Now, don’t be too jealous–my hubby gets up each morning and cleans the house for us. Each morning we wake up to a brand-spanking-new feel. It’s wonderful. It’s particulary delightful because I stay up til midnight reading, idea-ing, blogging, tv-ing. You know, the things a mom can’t do during the waking hours. Lol.

  23. My husband makes my coffee in the morning, something I truely appreciate not having to do while still fuzzy with sleep. I try to do the following each night, though I don’t always succeed:

    set out keys
    set out diaper bag
    make lunch
    lay out clothes for me and my daughter

    If I manage to do the above AND get up at a reasonable hour things go smoothly :)

  24. Having the kitchen clean is a big deal. I think it’s more than dirty dishes, I think it affects morning morale.

    Hi James, thanks for commenting!

    I really like to read blogs at night too, but I get so interested in new ideas that it makes it hard for me to sleep. I could stay up for hours.

    Deb and Steph, y’all have sweet husbands.

  25. My day is so much better when I wake up and only have to push one button for my coffee!

    I like to pick up around the house before bed, but if ‘I try to do too much, then I get too wired for sleep!

  26. I do just about all these things and I think they are very helpful. The only one I can’t seem to work out is the “getting clothes out the night before.” It almost never fails that if I set out an outfit the night before, by the morning it will be hotter/colder than I thought or I’ll feel fatter/skinnier than the outfit calls for. I tried for a while to force myself to wear whatever I got out the night before anyways, but I just ended up not feeling that good when I rolled into work (like, I didn’t really want to wear this but here it is). LOL. So…I’m going to work on it. If I can at least set out the slacks/skirt and shoes I’m wearing the night before, that at least gives me a little more structure to get me going and flexibility to give me some last minute create reign. We’ll see!

  27. Just tell me how to turn off my mind so that I CAN get to sleep at a decent hour! The only thing that helps me is to run and lift weights on alternate days so that I’m too tired to think! I need to make myself DO IT!!

    Mary’s last blog post..Lean and green … green as in cash!