Most nights, I melt into bed like a piece of Ghirardelli chocolate on sun-baked, summer asphalt.
Knowing what I know now, I can’t even fathom that kids hate bedtime. In fact, I’m still ticked off with my bratty, younger self for ever hating it.
No more emails to read or bills to pay. Just a place for a guy to rest his head. Put me to sleep, I’ll get back to you in the morning.
But to wake up with a refreshed mind and body, and to start the day with some damn momentum, you must have a dialed in nighttime routine, fellas.
Below, I’ve curated seven meaningful things men should do every night, like starting a skincare routine, doing some body work, and even forgiving yourself.
Oh yeah, I left off generic, over-bloggged crap like “avoid screens 30 minutes before bed.” You already know you should be doing that.
Here’s the pre-pillow playbook.
1. Take Care of Your Face
If you didn't think they'd eventually come out with an app that pairs with your toothbrush, you haven't been alive for the last 5 years. I've had the quip Smart Toothbrush for a few months now and going back to manual brushing really would feel like going back to 1990. It has strong vibrations, a long-lasting battery, and a sleek and stylish aesthetic. I'm all aboard the smart brush train.
Even still, I didn’t have a skincare routine for a long time, which let me tell you, was a stupid mistake.
A quality skincare routine is critical for skin health and will immediately begin preserving your skin right now, and years down the road when some of your buddies’ mugs start looking worn, wrinkled, and more like baseball mitts than faces.
Morning is for protecting your skin from sun, dirt, and grime. Nighttime is for cleansing, correcting, and repairing your skin while you sleep.
I like Lumin for skincare because their nighttime routine has only 5 steps and takes, eh, about 7 minutes to complete. It involves cleansing, exfoliating (2x per week), moisturizing, and applying serum and under-eye cream.
If you know zilch about why you need to do any of this, it’s all good, I’ve included a quick, no B.S. explanation of each step.
You get the basics like face wash, moisturizer, and an exfoliating scrub. But you also get Lumin's highly effective Dark Circle Defense, Anti-Wrinkle Defense, and Recovery Oil so you can spot treat your specific skin care issue.
Step 1: Cleanse
First, cleanse with Lumin’s Charcoal Cleanser, or your current face wash, and pat dry with a towel. Cleansing removes the dirt and oil built up on your face.
Step 2: Exfoliate (2x per week)
Next, and only to do this twice per week, gently exfoliate with Lumin’s Exfoliating Rub. Exfoliating is like hitting the hard reset button on your face and goes deeper to clear out dirt and impurities, buff way dead skin cells, and improve the overall texture of your skin.
Step 3: Moisturize
Next, massage Lumin’s Moisturizer all over your face and neck. Moisturizer locks in moisture, balancing your skin and keeping it fresh and healthy.
Step 4: Serum
Next, apply Lumin’s Anti-Wrinkle Serum, while avoiding the under-eye area. It prevents premature aging, boosts hydration, repairs sun damage, and evens out skin tone.
Step 5: Under-Eye Cream
Last, apply a thin layer of Lumin’s Dark Circle Defense under-eye cream. Eye cream softens lines and wrinkles, hydrates, and reduces puffiness on the sensitive skin under your eyes.
Five measly steps to protect your mug— the first thing anyone ever sees when they see you. Worth it? Worth it.
2. Do Some Body Work
We drag our bodies through hell every day.
If you run or lift weights, you’re actively contracting, straining, and tearing muscle fibers. Even if you don’t regularly work out, I’ll bet you’re sitting for hours on end.
Sitting is linked to a dizzying number of health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and even depression and anxiety. Sitting too long causes hip flexors to shorten, weakens leg and glute muscles, and can lead to gnarly back issues.
Your body is the only permanent vessel you have to carry yourself through the world and yet, some of us spend more time washing our cars and cleaning our homes than taking care of our own bodies.
Set aside 15 minutes before bed to check in with your body and foam roll and stretch tight areas.
Foam rolling can limit soreness, prevent injuries, loosen muscles, improve blood flow, and aid your muscles both in recovery and performance.
In my room, I keep a small basket with two foam rollers, a softball, and a lacrosse ball to target tense points across my body. Once I’m done rolling out, I stretch for a few minutes, and I’m done.
This a simple routine, but one that keeps me injury-free and respectably limber.
3. Read a Few Pages of Fiction
The Fisher Center For Alzheimer’s Research Foundation (it’s a mouthful) notes several studies and growing research that reading books, “no matter your age, can help keep memory and thinking skills intact.”
Reading is a critical activity to preserving brain health and potentially fighting off Alzheimer’s.
It gets better. Reading, even for short periods, has been found to reduce stress by almost 70%. And by picking up a book, you’re putting down your phone (hopefully), which tugs you away from the mindless scroll of death.
Bill Gates reportedly reads for a full hour before he zonks out no matter when he slips into his sheets.
Why do I suggest specifically reading fiction over self-development and mindset books? Fiction ignites your imagination and forces you to breathe life into a world inside your mind. It helps you practice empathy, better understand others, learn and grow from unique stories and perspectives, and develop a razor-sharp vocabulary.
To protect your brain, sleep better, and understand the world from new perspectives, knock out a few pages of fiction before bed.
4. Unwind and Enjoy
I didn’t want to cite a Yale PDF on relaxation just to get you to unwind, but some of you guys are caught in such inescapable cycles of grueling work, you need an Ivy League college to remind you of the sheer importance of relaxing.
So, according to Yale, research shows that carving out time to relax improves your heart health and cognitive function, slashes down stress, charges up your immune system, eases your muscles, and fends off anxiety and depression.
C’mon, that’s a laundry list of benefits for not doing much of anything at all.
How do you relax? Try taking a sunset stroll with your favorite artist filling up your ears. Hop into a steamy shower and do a series of deep breaths. Get into a meditation or breathwork practice. Call a friend and dedicate all your attention to catching up with them.
We know overdoing screens before bed is counterintuitive to a dialed in nighttime routine. But honestly, from time to time, I relax by plopping down in front of the TV for half an hour to catch up on sports highlights or tune into the plot of a funny show.
Doing so nudges my mind away from work and enables me to take a load off with something less serious.
Work hard but relax hard too, guys.
5. Reflect, Then Plan Ahead
As humans, consider and appreciate the many, nuanced actions and tasks we complete in a single day.
Preparing coffee and meals, navigating a car, or bike, or our own two feet through dense cities, engaging in hundreds of little interactions in-person and through emails, texts, calls, and meetings.
We bear the weight of enormous responsibility, both to ourselves and others who rely on us. Reflect and take notice of the moments and mini highlight reels that surface from your day. Observe the things that make you happy or sad or frustrated.
How might you respond differently to them next time? What will you do more of? What will you do less of?
Actively reflecting can help you fix recurring problems and shatter bad habits, but also help you recognize your strengths and remind you of the great things you’ve accomplished.
Once you’ve sat back, had a good reflection and made mental notes, then shift your focus to the day ahead.
Do you use a digital calendar or reminder app? Maybe you write it into a physical calendar. However you do it, jot out the big tasks you plan to take down tomorrow, both professionally and personally.
Are you going to exercise? If so, when, and for how long? What will you be doing during that workout and what do you expect to gain from it?
Map out your day so you aren’t surprised or misguided. Be intentional and realistic with the time it takes to thoroughly complete each task you write down. Keeping a schedule during stressful times can provide you with a sense of organization and control over your life.
Planning ahead enables you to settle into the present moment without worrying about future tasks you might forget to accomplish.
6. Tidy Up Your Space
I’m not going to glamorize it. This one is boring as hell, but it’s especially impactful.
Maintaining a tidy space yields benefits you wouldn’t imagine like decreasing levels of frustration, helping you think more clearly, and generating a sense of accomplishment.
There’s a deeply calming sensation that arises from settling into a clean room, knowing that every item is in its intended place when you need it next.
Marie Kondo, the queen of clean, says it more precisely than I ever could: “The objective of cleaning is not just to clean, but to feel happiness living within that environment.”
Cleaning is the work; a calm, organized homelife is the reward.
Every day when I return home, I place my wallet, my bag, and my keys in the same three spots. The next morning, when I need those items once more, they’re exactly where I left them. This might seem trivial, but it eases my mind and streamlines the next morning.
Before you slip into bed, make sure the dishes are done, clothes are folded and put away, and your room is a clean, inviting space to wake up in.
If you fall asleep with messes left for tomorrow, those messes will simmer in your subconscious. You’ll wake up not only to your curated list of professional and personal tasks you set out to complete, but also a pesky list of leftover messes.
Tidy up your space. You’ll feel calmer and more accomplished. And if you bring a date over, they’ll be much more excited to be in that space, too.
7. Forgive Yourself, Man
One of my roommates and close friends recently completed The Hoffman Process, a 7-day retreat centered on transforming the beliefs, perceptions, and emotions we harbor that restrict us in our lives.
Perhaps, the most profound lesson he learned after hours of therapy and group work: to forgive yourself.
I’ll get personal with you guys. I’ve been biting my nails for nearly two decades—since I was that bratty, little, souped-up kid who hated going to sleep.
Last month, to catch myself subconsciously chewing away, I bought bitter-tasting, anti-nail-biting polish and began lacquering it on in the mornings.
Some days, I still come home with freshly gnawed nails. But guess what, I recognize it, I forgive myself, and I genuinely try to be more conscious of it the next day.
This is a habit I’ve been doing for nearly 20 years. Why would I be upset with myself for not breaking it in two days?
Did I check Instagram more times than I would have preferred to while writing this article? I absolutely did. But, I’ll forgive myself for that too and work harder at it on the next article.
I’m not suggesting you screw off or be a bad person, only to shrug it off and not hold yourself accountable.
I’m saying that we’re all human and we’re all innately imperfect. So puff up your chest, recognize your fault and take ownership of it, identify how you can do better, then forgive yourself.
Once you can forgive yourself, you can more easily forgive others, too. This helps you be more empathetic, likable, and emotionally attuned. And those are authentic qualities that will gain you admiration from men and women alike.
Practice forgiveness. You deserve it. We all do.
Did you pick up some value? A smidge of value?
Those are seven meaningful things I believe every guy should do before bed. I’m not merely scribbling this down for you, just to submit this piece and toss it all to the wayside, either.
I’ll be here doing these things right alongside you (metaphorically speaking, of course, we’ll be using different foam rollers).
Start by taking care of that gorgeous mug of yours. Lumin has the most effective and affordable products for your nighttime skincare routine.
Keep in mind, there’s no set order to complete these things in. Do them in a succession that feels natural to you.
Accomplish the things on this list, and nosedive into bed knowing you took care of business. Want seven things to do every morning? We’ve got those too.
What is a good daily routine for men?
Every guy needs a routine that works for him. In the morning, consider making your bed, drinking some water, and taking a cold shower to kick off the day. At night, consider starting a nighttime skincare routine, doing some body work, and reading fiction before you hit the sheets.
What should men do before going to sleep?
There are countless activities that could occupy your time before you go to sleep. Start doing calming, productive activities like a nighttime skincare routine, tidying up your space, reading a few pages of fiction, reflecting on your day, and forgiving yourself.
What is a good night routine?
A good night routine consists of activities that help you unwind and prepare you for the day ahead. I like to complete a healthy nighttime skincare routine, do some body work, tidy up, reflect and plan ahead, and read a few pages of fiction before I zonk out.
What are some things that men should do?
There are no set daily routines that will benefit every guy equally. Start keeping a schedule of all the things you want to accomplish in a day, both professionally and personally. Some of the best practices include waking up at a set time, drinking lots of water, getting some exercise, respecting others and carrying yourself with respect, and living in the moment the best you can