I have a love/hate relationship with bedtime. Oh, how I love when my kids are in bed and I can get some much needed alone time. But, oh how I hate actually getting the kids IN to bed. There’s just so much whining involved, and when you’re tired, it’s exhausting….But that’s another story for another time.
Having an awesome night routine can make all the difference in your overall happiness and positivity as a mom. I’ve noticed that when I keep a good night routine, my positive mood increases, I feel calm and prepared for the next day, and it sets me up for some serious Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzs.
Let me share with you my nightly (I-aim-to-do-but-doesn’t-always-happen) routine. Because when I actually use it, I feel amazing and I guarantee it will help you too…if you put it to good use.
7 Tips for an Awesome Night Routine
DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT be on your phone, tablet, TV, computer, ipad, ipod, or “I” anything at least an hour before bed. What?!… I know. I think I struggle with this one the most. I love scrolling through my social media feed without interruptions. BUT it’s actually not helpful for your sleep at all.
“When it comes to sleep, light alters the ebb and flow of the sleep hormone known as melatonin. This level naturally rises in response to darkness and decreases when the body is exposed to light…too much light exposed in the evenings…can delay the release of this sleep hormone…”
Studies have been known to show that electronics are one of the contributing factors for why adults can’t fall asleep for several minutes or even hours after they go to bed.
So, no matter how tempted you are, try to put those electronics down at least an hour before sleep. There are so many other productive and great things you can do. (as listed below).
2. Make a Plan
Since you’ll have so much time on your hands an hour before bed, take some time to make a plan for the next day.
Write down your to-do list or your goals. Think about what needs to be done the next day and plan out your schedule so that everything gets done and your not running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off. Life is so much easier with a plan. I have to map out every day, or I go crazy.
Prepare for the next day by laying out your clothes, getting a start on breakfast, doing a chore that you normally do in the mornings, make your kids lunches, so you don’t have to worry about it in the morning.
I wake up in the morning at the last imaginable second possible, so I ain’t got no time in the mornings to pick out clothes or make lunches. Anything that would cause you to think and stress less in the morning, is a good thing to prepare the night before. It’s also so much easier to wake up knowing that you aren’t waking up to chaos.
4. Me Time
Awe, the longed awaited me-time after a long day and the kids are finally in bed and you can have a real thought that last longer than 3 seconds. Make time for yo self.
However, I would challenge you to take 30 minutes of me-time that isn’t watching TV or browsing the internet (which you can’t do an hour before bed anyway).
I used to often use my me-time by watching my favorite show or scrolling through Facebook. While it is relaxing, it’s not really “me” time. You aren’t getting the nourishment and mind relaxation you deserve. It’s not just an escape time, but a time to focus on you. I have found that the most meaningful me-times have come after really taking the time to address what my body needs.
Some good me-time would be:
Taking a bath (and pondering life, or not thinking)
Reading a book (preferably uplifting)
Writing in your Journal (Write goals, happy things in your life, or your dreams)
Stretching/Yoga (SooooOOOoo many good things come from stretching)
Meditation (There are so many good meditation techniques that are shown to increase happiness and reduce stress)
Doing a Hobby you enjoy that relaxes you (….and NO, laundry is not a hobby)
Take some time really for you, and you’d be surprised what even 30 minutes will do for your sanity.
5. Prayer and Scripture Study
Make sure to take time to pray before bed. Talk to God and remember what he’s done for you that day so you can thank Him. Ask Him for help on the obstacles you know you’ll face tomorrow. Reading the Bible or scriptures is a great way to be uplifted and receive spiritual guidance and growth. It’s just peaceful.
6. Routine Time
Try to go to bed at the same time every night. Establishing a routine helps train your body and brain to know when to start winding down every day. It will also be easier to wake up in the morning, and establish a good morning routine.
Going to bed at an irregular time throws off the circadian rhythm which research showed resulted in fatigue, vigilance problems, decreased productivity, and negative health effects.
Many studies have also reported that an “accumulated sleep deprivation induces impairments of cognition, vigilance, and memory, and disturbances of mood”
“Week-long irregular sleep schedules are significantly associated with lower self-reported morning and evening happiness, healthiness, and calmness during the week even after controlling for weekly average sleep duration,” said Akane Sano, PhD, research scientist (Source).
So, establish a good pattern of sleep, by going to bed at the same time very night. It has significant effects on the brain, mood, and your overall happiness… that huge!
7. Set yourself up for Success
This would fall under the category of loving yourself. Be good to yourself, and make your bedroom and bed a place you want to sleep in. If you like it cold, turn on the fan, or by a fan. Wear comfortable clothes. Keep your sheets and bedding clean. Get an eye mask if it’s still too bright even with the lights off. Invest in a good pillow or even a bed. Only use your bed for sleeping so your brain knows it’s time to sleep when you go to bed.
Getting a good nights sleep has many benefits such as getting sick less often, staying at a healthy weight, lowers your risk for serious heart problems, like diabetes and heart disease, reduces stress, improves your mood, and helps you think more clearly. (Source).
So, put away the electronics an hour before bed, use 30 minutes to plan and prepare, and the other 30 minutes doing some me-time, and you will increase your happiness in life!