I Need to Stop Rushing Through My Bedtime Self-Care Routine — Here’s How I’m Slowing It Down

One thing I have been told about myself by the people I've lived with over the years — my parents, my university housemates, and my boyfriend — is that I stomp around the house. My housemate at university (hey Lauren!) would always know that I was coming up to her room before I knocked on the door, because she could hear me coming up the stairs like a baby elephant.

I think the reason I'm so loud around the house is because I am always rushing. Why walk up the stairs when you can run? Rushing is the reason I slam car doors too hard, and make so much noise when I'm washing up. It's not that I don't know how to relax — I totally do. But sometimes I get so impatient with all the little chores and routines of life, and I just want to rush through those and get to the good bits like eating and sleeping.

I've even noticed myself rushing to get into bed recently. That means I do a crappy job of washing my face, brushing my teeth, and putting my stuff away. I don't have much trouble sleeping, but when I wake up in the morning having spent only two minutes getting ready for bed, I notice the new blemish on my face or my untidy bedroom, and I have regrets.

So I decided to undertake a little experiment to see if I could slow down my nighttime routine and reap the rewards. For five nights, I gave myself 30 minutes to fill with pre-bedtime self-care. Here's how I got on!

Night one

My boyfriend had a cold and went to bed super-early. When I got upstairs, I couldn't bring myself to turn on the little light above the sink in our bedroom, so I took my makeup off in the dark, applied something that could have very well been hand cream, and tiptoed into bed. Not the most auspicious start.

Night two

I started by lighting a candle to set the mood. At the moment I'm burning The Handmade Soap Company Lemongrass & Cedarwood candle, which smells both sweet and fresh. I can't get enough of it. I kept the lighting low so as not to get too distracted by spots, imaginary wrinkles and stray eyebrow hairs and got down to the business of giving my face a good cleanse.

Recently, I've been using micellar water to take off my makeup. It was convenient while I was travelling, but I did miss the deep clean you get from double-cleansing. I used the extra time I had given myself to really work some sweet almond oil into the more congested areas of my face including my chin, jawline and forehead to give them a deep but gentle clean. After removing the oil with a warm, damp face cloth, I went back over with a soap-free face wash. It felt so good to give my skin some love and to remove my makeup without yanking out a few eyelashes along the way.

I felt so chill after this that I sat and wrote in my journal for a little while and actually had good things to say.

Night three

With the double-cleansing routine rightfully reinstated, I decided to make some time to try a new product. I got this Korres Wild Rose Instant Brightening Mask a little while ago, and I had used it once before but couldn't remember anything about it. Instead of just slapping it on and hoping for the best, this time I actually decided to act like a beauty writer and pay attention to everything about the product.

The mask claims to give a "clear and radiant complexion" and has vitamin C to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. I studied the ingredient list and found all sorts of other goodies I would normally look for in an exfoliating treatment, including ferulic and lactic acids.

As I applied the mask, I paid attention to the consistency, the fragrance, and the initial feel of it on my skin. The consistency is quite thin, but not so much that it runs or drips. The fragrance is strongly floral. (I personally don't have a problem with that, but if you're sensitive to added perfume, be wary.) As the product sat on my face, I felt a light tingle from the acids at work, but nothing major.

I let the mask sit for 15 minutes and used the time to tidy my space. I even made my bed, which maybe doesn't make sense given that I was about to get into it, but something about my neat bedroom and straightened covers gave me a deep sense of calm.

When the time came to wash the mask off, my skin felt smoother and not at all tight. Not bad! Having spent the time to really get a feel for this product, I feel confident in making it a regular part of my routine.

Night four

I was feeling pretty good about my decision to slow down my routine by this point. I didn't do anything special on this night and left myself some extra time to read before I went to sleep. I'm finally discovering the magic of Jane Austen. (If you haven't read Emma then you're missing out!)

Night five

This was the biggest challenge, because my bedtime routine happened at 2.30 a.m. after a night in the pub. Despite having had a few whiskeys I was determined to keep up my routine. For some reason I decided an oil cleanse was beyond me, but I managed to get my makeup off with my favorite Bioderma Hydrabio micellar water. I applied a layer of a new serum I've been trying (I'll be writing about that one soon!) and followed it with night cream. Well done, drunk Hannah!

I also made the crucial and excellent decision to drink a big old glass of water and eat a bowl of cereal. The next day, I was definitely tired and rather red in the eyes, but my face felt clean and I didn't even have a headache. As someone who suffers from pretty horrendous hangovers after three beers, I was chuffed.

What I learned

It is absolutely worth making time before bed to get your life right. Before this experiment, I found myself rushing through the evening to get into bed early, only to find myself scrolling through Instagram for an hour before I actually went to sleep. This experiment has reminded me to take a little time and enjoy the whole process of getting ready for bed. Time is one thing that I have a lot of right now, and it felt great to make good use of it.

  • How long do you spend getting ready for bed?
  • Do you notice a difference in your skin when you improve your cleansing game?
  • Do you have any tips for staving off a hangover?