My Evening Routine for Optimal Relaxation and Sleep

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…

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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115 Replies to “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!

    1. Have you considered using Night Shift settings for Apple Products and F.lux for Windows and Android? It helps reduce blue light exposure at night to improve sleep. The orange hue better mimics sunset and triggers our sleep hormones. Blue light is naturally heavy in the morning sun so it tells our body to wake up. Blue blocker glasses can help as well if you have to be exposed to heavy blue light environments at night. Get softer and lower lumens lighting for night time 1 hour before bed. I use a low lumen salt lamp in my bedroom before going to sleep and candles in the winter for natural heating as well.

  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.

  3. My ritual is collapsing as soon as my baby decides to fall asleep 🙂 So those 60 minutes sound amazing – I will definitely be doing that in 17 years when the kids go off to college 🙂

    1. So true Alinka. I use to be an evening and morning ninja until my little boy came along. I’m 39 so I’m quite an old dad.

      The sleep deprivation has hit me like a ton of bricks. He’s 9 months old now and teething so the sleep thing continues. Oh, the joy.

      @Tim – I really want to see your like hacks when you have kids!!!!

      I guess you are rich enough to afford a night-time nanny though. Roflol

      Keep up the great work though.

    2. You chose to have a child and had lots of “conjugal relations” to create that child, so not sure why you parents moan and complain all the time.

      Try getting a job in a challenging field, where there is no financial or other support by taxpayers given to help you, and then you’ll know what hard work is.

  4. Love this video s Tim. Keep em coming. Just preordered your book on amazon too and am pumped to have all those lessons in an easy to read and re read format.

    You da man !

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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?

    2. Be careful that you are controlling your routine and your routine is not controlling you. If anyone is aware of this its Tim. I would say very few people seek his help in how to best blow off steam and let loose…most people have that covered.

  7. 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!


    London, UK

    1. 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

    2. Consider reading Shawn Stevenson’s book, Sleep Smarter. He’s got a ton of great stuff on getting more and better quality sleep.

    3. What do you eat in the evening before bed? Ayurveda suggests earlier, lighter meals. Stick to soups/salads for your evening meals, and try to be done eating by 5/6pm. Kitchen closed in the evenings. If hungry, try warm/hot drinks to fill you up. I have experienced more rejuvenated mornings, if I focus on healthier eating the day before.

  8. 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

    1. maybe use filtered water with dash of electrolytes stays in body better, tap and mineral tends to pass quickly through me

  9. 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.

    1. There’s a very soothing, lullaby-like Ericksonian hypnosis audio by Tom Condon and Carol Erickson (Milton’s daughter) from Changeworks called Deep Sleep & Sweet Dreams.

    2. Peppermint and eucalyptus oils are stimulating. Go for lavander, or Australian sandalwood, or chamomile to be soothed.

    1. While I think this content is great, in regards to his podcast I agree. I think he’s just been busy with his book and other projects.

      1. Yeah I realized that as well, but he’s back at it~ so I’m fine now. Great content haha

  10. 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!

    1. 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: (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. 🙂

  11. 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?


  12. 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.

  13. Sorry, I know this is rude, but I seriously want to have one of these. Around how much was the soaking tub with install? I know SF is will be more than Houston, but just curious. I absolutely love this room.

  14. 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!

    1. 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,


  15. 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!

  16. 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?

      1. 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.

  17. 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.


  18. 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!

  19. 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!

  20. 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

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

  22. 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.

    1. Re ACV and teeth, my dentist tells me if I drink a cup of plain water as a “chaser” (or just spit it out), should be fine

  23. Tim, I love the youtube videos with the walkthroughs around your house – really cool to get a peek behind the curtain of your machine. Thanks for all the great content!

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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?

  27. 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

  28. 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!

  29. As a longtime–but no longer!–insomniac, I recommend the Sleep with Me podcast:

    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:

    1. I’m a woman and I don’t mind. Women don’t always have to be in everything. Still excellent advice.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. I have tried a ton of stuff for better sleep, and what I use the most is glycine, an amino acid that suppresses stress hormone cortisol. Works for me 🙂

  33. 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

  34. 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!

  35. 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).

    1. +1

      If I’m not traveling than I always do the dishes and sweep up a bit before bed, maybe pack some lunch for the next day or get things organized for me to cook breakfast.

  36. 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.

  37. 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

  38. 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 😎

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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.


  42. 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.

  43. 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,


  44. 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 😀

  45. Just came from conducting a sleep EEG & MR study and found this post on FB, voila!

    Thanks for sharing Tim, wonderful routine.

    Body Scan or Yoga Nidra has been my number #1 tool just before bed, and also upon waking up. I have been experimenting more with Body Scan lately, amazing how deep one can go into relaxation. It feels like floating in an altered state of conciousness if done long enough with a pin point focus… So today I tried this for the sleep study -without sleep depriving myself overnight- and I was able to go into sleep in late afternoon with EEG electrodes & caps in MR scanner.

    There are some yogic breathwork that can help relax mental & physical body too…

  46. Wow Tim. This was really amazing! Thanks a lot for sharing. I just started meditation and it helps me a lot deal with anxiety. I like mindfulness meditation the most. [Moderator: additional text and link removed.]

  47. Two sleeping tablets and 150mg of a mood stabilizer with sleep as by-effect does it for me (takes only 15 minutes). Combine with your favourite conservative podcast on 30mins sleep for maximum effect.

  48. The tea with apple cider vinegar and honey TRULY does knock you out. I’ve never slept better. I went to my dentist today and happened to mention this to him and he said apple cider vinegar is very acidic and bad for the teeth and told me I should stop it immediately. I was upset because this is such a good combination, and really does work. But I want to keep my teeth in my head also! Thought you would want to know. Thanks for all you do, Tim!

  49. For awhile I would read a book aloud to my wife and when I started dozing off in the middle of a sentence I’d know it was time to turn in. These days I have to admit that nothing beats a nice shower, glass of room temperature milk and 20 mg of THC in an edible. Honestly, I didn’t every use cannibis until my 40s, and I don’t particularily like feeling high during the day with the exception of consuming some sativa when I have to get some yard or housework done (takes away all distracting thoughts about all the more fun things I could be doing and I’m able to just get those chores finished quickly), but the heavy relaxing feeling of an indica allows for a very restful sleep. One has to get the dose right otherwise you risk moving a little slowly the next morning.

  50. Hi Tim,

    Why do you prefer being vertical in the tub rather than horizontal as in the more traditional (Western) tub shape?


  51. Not really on the topic but… I do not want to lose this page. Tim, can you recommend tricks and maybe courses or whatever would help me with speed reading and better retention?

  52. Tim, Love it. My wife and I live in Austin, I’m a retired C level Exec who helps run several startups and we are going to build a house this year and I was wondering who the architect/designer you worked with in Austin is. If you could drop me a note it would be awesome.

  53. Thanks for sharing, Tim! Trying to develop a consistent bedtime routine myself, and keep finding myself up at 2:38 am on the computer still! It’s hit or miss until I make it a habit, I’m SO aware of the benefits if only I can succeed in putting this in place! When I entered grad school 4 years ago I slowly gained over 100 pounds over 2 years, which I have since taken off (ironically, the Masters is in “Obesity Prevention and Management” – I couldn’t make this stuff up!), but I know that if I don’t really become intentional about mastering this (healthy sleep, healthy stress management) I put myself at risk again with every day that passes. Going to DO THIS THING! Oh, and hey, tried the Reishi Mushroom stuff, did NOT put sweetener in it, and LOVED IT! It is a part of my developing night-time routine. In fact, come to think of it, I didn’t have any earlier this evening and now look at me! Still on the computer at 2:42 am! DAMMIT! OK making myself a cup now….make it a blessed day, Tim, and again, thanks for being you!

  54. Tim, just wanted to say, I am so jealous of that awesome bath you have! Didn’t know I wanted a room specifically for my baths until now.

    My wife already thinks it’s funny I take 2-3 baths a week, glad to know someone else loves them also! They’re just so relaxing.

  55. Based on Rhonda Patrick & Satchin Panda interviews, I’d be more inclined to imagine the reason for sleeping well may be more attributed to the magnesium infusion from the bath, rather than the tea + acv + honey concoction. From my understanding, ingesting even water will generally kick start the liver’s digestive clock and bring on a bout of wakefulness.

  56. Thank you of the great information! Your article highlights the importance of recovery to help create a powerful routine. Has anyone used magnesium before bed as a form of sleeping aid? Cheers!

  57. Fine evening ritual but way too time intensive for me. I will add the hot tea ritual with the apple cider vinegar and honey to my fiction reading bedtime routine. I’m now reading a book of stories by Jacob Appel.

  58. Hi Tim, I’ve really enjoyed having a tour into your private spa, thanks for sharing!
    Could you please elaborate on the following topics:
    1) using oils in the soaking bath as part of your training routine.
    2) doing “cycles” in the soaking bath. Do you mean cold/warm cycles?

    And finally, a comment:
    I got into practicing meditation after listening to the several podcasts that you have made on this topic, and including a 10min guided meditation before going back to sleep really helps me to go out like a light. How come that you haven’t included meditation in your evening routine?

    Thank you for your time, and have a nice day!

  59. That room is amazing — we’re renovating with a small ofuro-inspired soaking tub right now but it’s not as cool as this one. Which sauna is that? Clearlight?