My Evening Routine for Optimal Relaxation and Sleep

79 Comments
evening routine

This soaking tub is an essential part of my evening routine.

I’m often asked about my morning routine, which I detailed at length in a previous podcast.

For me, a reliable nighttime routine is just as important.

The short video below explains the exact protocol I use to wind down in the last 60 minutes of my day. Some of these tactics have been honed over many years, while others have been borrowed from guests on The Tim Ferriss Show. (Note: I’ve collected all of my favorite habits and routines from podcast guests — including some you haven’t met — in Tools of Titans.)

In my experience, these evening steps practically guarantee less stress and a better night’s sleep.

Do you have any favorite nighttime rituals? Please share in the comments below! Enjoy…

Posted on: October 13, 2016.

Please check out Tools of Titans, my new book, which shares the tactics, routines, and habits of billionaires, icons, and world-class performers. It was distilled from more than 10,000 pages of notes, and everything has been vetted and tested in my own life in some fashion. The tips and tricks in Tools of Titans changed my life, and I hope the same for you. Click here for sample chapters, full details, and a Foreword from Arnold Schwarzenegger!

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79 comments on “My Evening Routine for Optimal Relaxation and Sleep

  1. Great video Tim. I am genetically predisposed for poor sleep so I have to be pretty dilligent. My favorite methods are pretty simple. They are: (1) hot/cold contrast therapy in the shower, short and sweet (2) turning down lights and reading before bed (2) magnesium about an hour before bed (3) about 5 minutes of meditation before bed (4) cool, dark room approx 67 degrees F, sheet covering body, comforter on feet/legs only (5) eye mask to block out misc light (6) all the obvious things like no stimulants, alcohol, etc.

    I’ve been experimenting recently with drinking about 6 oz water before bed (counter intuitive I know) but so far I’ve actually been getting good results. Waking in the middle of the night to use the restroom seems to slam me back down into REM when I get back to bed. Will keep testing. Of course, low dose time-release melatonin when I really need it. Drinking passion flower tea for me is like getting hit by a Mac truck. I usually try not to do that during the workweek though. Anyway great content as always! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That kitchen tho! Nice!

    Tim, glad to see you post this- I’ve been curious about it for a while, as like you mentioned, it’s common for you to respond to the morning routine, but haven’t discussed evening routine much.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful routine and space Tim! Thanks for sharing. I like to write in a journal at bedtime, but not thoughts, more like “channeling” because it invites in wisdom and connection with Self as the last thing prior to lights out.

    Like

  4. Tim,
    I’ve been a fan since FHWW.
    But there’s something sad about this routine-led life.
    Live a little more!
    Have a beer, smoke a J.
    It’s never too late.

    Like

    • Smoking a joint hampers testosterone levels big-time. A beer is OK if you aren’t recovering from training but smoking a joint really will slow down any growth you are working to make happen.

      Like

      • Hey Steve, what research shows that weed hampers testosterone levels?

        Even small puffs seem to remove my dreams, while 1-2 glasses of alcohol seem to give me more vivid, memorable dreams. Anyone seen research on weed or alcohol affects on dreaming?

        Like

  5. Hey Tim
    Do you have any pointers for improving QUALITY of sleep, rather than the actual “falling asleep” part? I always get exhausted around 10pm, but no matter what time I wake up, I don’t feel rested.
    I’ve had hypothesis proposed including low blood sugar in the morning, dehydration overnight, and even mild hypoxia due to closed doors and windows preventing airflow in the bedroom, but so far nothing has improved my sleep quality.
    Would love to hear your thoughts on that side of thing!
    Tom
    London, UK

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1) Drink a lot of water during the day. This makes your blood more liquid and makes it easier for the body to cleanse the organs during sleep

      2) Exposure to daylight. This stimulates production of the chemicals your body relies on to sleep

      3) Go to bed and wake up at the same time

      Like

  6. And for todays silly sounding question – how do you avoid waking up for late night trips to the john? Love before bed tea, but the ensuing 4am bathroom trip is a dealbreaker

    Like

  7. I’ve never tried the ACV + honey idea. I’ll have to do that.

    In the epsom bath, I add baking soda and either peppermint, eucalyptus, or lavender essential oil depending on the type of training I’m doing.

    One thing I do use that works exceptionally well (better than anything else I’ve tried) is a hypnosis/guided meditation audio. I had to create my own since I couldn’t find any that seemed to work. I’ve never had anything else give me that “lights out” experience. I have since given this to friends, and they’ve all had similar experiences.

    Like

  8. This is to anyone that sees it: How do you reliably find good, clean, true honey? Here in the US that seems to be very difficult. Thanks!

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    • Best source is if you know someone that has manages their own hives (my dad has been doing this for a while) and you can get some of their honey direct from the spinner.

      If you don’t know any beekeepers, try looking at hobby groups or associations like this and make friends: https://www.mnbeekeepers.com/ (this would be for Minnesota, my home state, but I would assume other states have something similar).

      Failing that, try and find a meadist (someone who brews mead) as they might know someone. I can’t vouch for this method though, as I only know one meadist…and he wanted my honey. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Tim

    This is going to sound like a silly question but since you consume so much liquid before bed, don’t you have toilet issues during the night? Is there a way around it?

    Thanks

    Like

  10. Hi Tim,

    Just thought i’d point you (as a relentless self experimenter) to Steve Gibson’s Healthy Sleep Formula. He makes no money on this, its pure quantified self citizen research. Its something he and other volunteers have developed that apparently works to give a fantastic nights sleep.
    Certainly is has enough of a following that the specific ingredients for the formula create a global shortage in days.
    I know you like toys and measurements, He developed this formula using high resolution EKG’s for his sleep research [Moderator: link removed]

    I’d be interested in your opinion on the formula. Or at least, considering your contacts, a similar tool to the Zeo pro, because it’s out of manufacture.

    Like

  11. Hi Tim,

    My name is Charlie Glynn and I’m a student at the University of Minnesota. I listen to your podcast, read your book, and am currently in the process of starting my own business. For one of my classes, I have to interview someone who were curious about and I thought you’d be the perfect person. I know you’re a busy guy but if you have half an hour to chat about your experiences ,as well as give any advice to a young entrepreneur, that would be fantastic. Shoot me an e-mail if this is at all possible. Hope to hear back!

    Like

    • Hi Charlie,

      Tim has said many times the best way to approach is when he’s urinating at the airport. Have you really been listening? (really?)

      Kindest regards,
      Ben

      Like

  12. Beautiful tips! Your house’s energy is 👌! Next time you re up on magnesium sulfate consider magnesium chloride. [Moderator: link removed] You’re a legend thanks for all you do!

    Like

  13. A full bath every night uses ~70 gallons of water, which is about how much the average person uses in an entire day. So your water usage is probably double the typical American, which is already pretty bad. Seems wasteful, no?

    Liked by 1 person

      • Not to worry – I bathe exclusively in ocean water so this should offset Tim’s excess water use. Seriously though, let the man have his baths. I think his contributions more than make up for anything “wasteful” he might do as an individual. Search “Tim Ferriss shark finning”, for example. Besides, if any of us gets on an airplane or eats ribeye steaks on a semi-regular basis (beef requires a ludicrous amount of water), none of this is worth discussing anyway.

        Like

  14. Thanks Tim, really appreciate the information about your night time routine. Pertinent, and hopefully transformative, for me at the moment as I struggle with switching off and getting adequate sleep.
    I would appreciate your insights into the following:
    1. Regarding the sauna- you have selected dry. Dry v IR: do you have any comments? Ideally I’d probably like both, but one will have to suffice, at least for now.
    2. Do you have any comments to make about auditory input in night time ritual? I have recently found binaural beats, and brain fm useful.
    Thanks

    Like

  15. Hey Tim,

    Wondering, how many days a week are you able to have this routine, and can you tell me how you stick to that?

    Thank you Tim!

    Like

  16. OK, the sleep routine is helping you sleep better but that is probably ( excuse my grammar ) The best shape I’ve ever seen you in? Keep doing whatever you are doing in that crazy Ferris ride!

    Like

  17. as a fibromyalgia and medical marijuana patient, got special needs.

    8 pm start moving. turn led lights to nightime candle and midnight blue colors

    karaoke with bad or good youtube music videos, cheesy 80’s, industrial, treat it like ddr video game, you have to lip synch and throat synch as if the singer were you, and if you don’t get each inflection right the music dissapears/de
    eted ….i like to imagine an audience ( high school drama, peers, where i first had to do this sort of exercise)

    meanwhile is inverse motion to whatever you spent your day. e.g. if you were still serious all day ( doctors, work at a desk etc) have to be silly to be point of harry potter ridiculous d fast fluid moving above head, sing the song with your hips, or your foot etc. go half speed double speed.

    besides bleeding dry my problems, triggers sympathetic really helps me avoid meta pain, e.g. new forms of pain like stiffness baked in bad posturefrom sitting stilll trying to avoid it. as the different types of muscles short, long firing tend to get out pf balance in modern monochromatic life.

    after hot bath
    foam roller while listening to music on ipad behind head which creates a amazing sound field if positioned correctly.
    thc in coco or magnesium dmso topically everywhere that hurts, pain diminsishes quickly

    15 -45 min prior to sleep cbn cbd in tincture for oral

    either audio journal, paper journal, list everything i’m proud of today, looking forward to

    sleep on a giant monster sak foam .. only thing doesn’t feel like a bed of nails, in a room devoid of any lights, aluminum foil under tape to black out and, box fan with air filter helping air quality and white noise

    Like

  18. The biochemistry is simple. Glucose from honey especially at night reduces cortisol and other stress hormones especially for those with anxiety and insomnia.

    Like

  19. Tim,

    Great looking space. Few points though.

    The apple cider vinegar daily might do a number on your teeth. Not sure what qualifies as too much but something we might want to ponder.

    When do you walk the dog? I need to walk mine before bed and find that a nice cool down of sorts. Eithe way, I can’t walk her and then begin a 60 minute cool down process.

    Lastly, and most importantly, a full soaking bath daily is an amazing waste of water! A soaking tub can hold approximately 100 gallons of water…700 gallons of water used weekly for bathing is waaaaay too much.

    Just my 2 cents but overall great stuff.

    Like

  20. Nice soaking tub. I need more money…….
    Tried the honey, puts me out OK, but I find it’s not a great sleep, and I feel weak as a kitten the next day.
    15 minutes meditation gives me good sleep, mostly. Even if I don’t drop off quickly, I still sleep reasonably well. Half a teaspoon of Camu Camu powder gives me great sleep too. Much more keeps me awake though.

    Gotta have the window open a crack, and get airflow across my face. I’d rather keep warm with blankets than heating.

    Quality of sleep is usually my problem, rather than getting to sleep.
    Two things that will really disturb it is computer screens, (No big secret there, I guess) and heavy exercise before bed
    I always sleep a whole lot better after waking up in the night, for some reason.
    The better I feel when I go to sleep, the better I sleep.

    Like

  21. I noticed your concern with keeping the mood set when you turned on the lights to your soaking room. I’m not a salesman, don’t play one on the internet, but I work for a company that could help you with that issue and potentially help make other routines more efficient through home automation.

    Like

  22. Thanks for reposting this. It was very interesting to listen to this after consuming a combination of the podcast with Tony Robbins and this. I learned some about the lymphatic system and the amount of fluid we all have. Have you looked into the soaking tub and its effect of the lymphatic system for relaxation?

    Like

  23. I just bought some Philips Hue smart lightbulbs and set them to create a sunset throughout my apartment 30 minutes before I want to go to sleep. I also have them set to so that I wake up to a sunrise every morning. Highly recommend them

    Like

  24. I have to get up at 4 am in the morning, meditate and then exercise from 5 am. If I don’t then I will have sleep issues that night…. it’s 11 pm right now and I have a 5 am flight… eeek let me try what I can do with your tips. Thanks all!

    Like

  25. As a longtime–but no longer!–insomniac, I recommend the Sleep with Me podcast: http://www.sleepwithmepodcast.com

    From the website:

    “Sleep With Me is a bedtime story designed to take your mind off of the racing thoughts that keep you awake at night.

    As you listen you will find yourself distracted from your worries and drifting off into dreamland..due to the fact the story gets a little bit more boring with each passing minute

    This podcast is a little weird, a bit silly and a tad offensive so beware. It is very similar to ASMR or guided meditation bedtime story that slowly carries you off to slumber.”

    I read about it in this New Yorker article: http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-podcast-that-tells-ingeniously-boring-bedtime-stories-to-help-you-fall-asleep

    Like

  26. Tim, through my Kung Fu training I was exposed to qigongs (mediations combined with breathing patterns and sometimes different movements). In practicing one of those I’ve achieved lucid REM. I know use that qigong before bed and it cuts my sleep time down significantly.

    P.S. I love the space you’ve created with the soaking bath.

    Like

  27. Thanks for the article, Tim. Although some do not recommend, I used to read half an hour before sleeping. It helps me disconnect from the reality and after turning the lights off, my brain is no longer ticking on work related problems.

    Like

  28. Good to see this post thanks for sahring, I am also have a very bad sleep because i am working in the IT field i have more tension it makes me very lazy these healthy tips useful for me

    Like

  29. Thanks for sharing that Tim and all the stuff you test and share. I’ve been reading your stuff for a long time, first round of 4hww and just a big thanks.

    Questions …

    Wouldn’t that read of the get rich in china book or the podcasts/audiobooks you mentioned be akin to reading non-fiction? Is that book non-fiction?

    Also, how would your non-fiction reading happen in that hour if you’re in a tub and/or bouncing around and with the mention of the podcasts (unless that was just reference to other times you’re tubbing).

    Awesome stuff Tim!

    Like

  30. Cleaning. I clean before I go to bed. I actually leave stuff to clean out after dinner. So I am usually washing the dishes, which then makes me getting everything ready for the next day (tupper ware for lunch, vitamines, etc.), then I have a tea and go to bed. I think cleaning is so meditative (maybe not cleaning windows, but small things).

    Like

  31. The soaking tub is a fantastic way to wind down. I starting doing that too and I love it. I think its effect lasts all the way to the morning and helps me while working on projects in the morning.

    Like

  32. Hey Tim! You mentioned listening to audiobooks and motivational presentations as part of your routine. Do you have any go-to websites or know of any online resources that provide presentations, lectures or university talks free of charge?

    Thank you, Rachel

    Like

  33. I had a terrible nighttime routine brought on by constant travel for many years. I never realized how big of an impact it had on my life until I started to do things right, waking up full of energy and feeling well rested instead of tired and groggy.

    My nighttime routine consists of a few cups of water, a cool bath, and reading a few chapters. My morning routine is nearly the same 😎

    Like

  34. Thanks for sharing a peek into your digs, Tim! A strict morning routine 5-7 days per week tames my monkey mind, but a loose structure most evenings lets me look forward to daily free time. 5-10 minutes of stretching after a hot shower, one beer or glass of whiskey and an hour with one great book or film seems to be the most modest, relaxing combo. The decision not to pay for home cable or internet forces me to work from the office and avoid the useless time and expense of TV. Plus, I get the delayed gratification of actually looking forward to those red Netflix DVD envelopes or pushing a classic VHS into the VCR. So satisfying.

    Also, what’s that black, weird lookin’ mug in back, top shelf!? I wonder what it looks like up close…haha thanks again for the peek into your place. These short tips are more helpful and motivating than you know.

    Like

  35. Really interesting. PS AND you have the same Houdini picture as me which I adore. I saw it in a curious shop and for years loved it then eventually bought it. PPS I was in a film with Harvey Keitel about Houdini “Fairytale, A True Story” – magical.

    Like

  36. Tim,

    What can you tell me about the soaking tub? I’m liking the design and depth of this one.. might be time for an upgrade.

    Thanks,

    Like

  37. What are your thoughts on melatonin? Sometimes I can’t quiet my mind and I’ll take about 3mg before bed. The only bad thing is if taken too late, can leave one a bit groggy in the morning.

    Like

  38. Hey Tim,
    thanks for sharing your evening routine, amazing Spa Room. Try to get the tea and the book as well (not sure if I can get the tea in the UK?).

    I’m sharing this with my audience, they gonna love it.
    All the best and keep doing what you are doing,
    Victoria

    Like

  39. Try japanese go, getting a go set and board and stones, and make it a routine to play against yourself 10 moves morning, 5 moves before bed, i wanted to give you a lesson if you have the time, its a game that improves your mind far beyond any other game in the universe haha. I’m looking forward to your go games and hopefully getting a chance to meet you, have a good day 😀

    Like