Why Grownups Need Bedtime Routines Too:
As parents, we spend a lot more time than we’d care to admit to worrying about our kids’ bedtime routines. When they’re babies, we can’t wait for a routine. We look forward to them going to bed at the same time every day and sleeping through the night, because it means that we can have a bit of adult time and that our own sleep patterns can settle down. After weeks or even months of sleepless nights, it can feel like a dream come true.
But over time, these routines get disrupted by teething and illness. And then as our children get older, we start to worry that they aren’t getting enough sleep, and we wonder how their sleep patterns are affecting their performance at school.
But, as obsessed as we are with our kids’ bedtime routine, many adults don’t give much thought to our own. Even when the kids have settled, and we can develop a routine of our own, we don’t. We’re adults. We can go to bed whenever we want.
It’s true, of course. You can. But as someone who has craved sleep for as long as I can remember, having kids was the kick in the rear end I needed to finally start prioritizing getting enough of it, once and for all. And I’m here to tell you that having your very own bedtime routine is key to this process.
Besides improving both the quantity and quality of your sleep, developing your own personal bedtime routine can have a significant effect on your physical and mental health, and thus on your overall mood.
Don’t know where to start? Below are some of the things that you could do to improve your own bedtime routine.
This is a collaboration post. However, please know I stand behind everything written here, and only include links to products/services/resources I’m willing to recommend personally.
Bedtime Routine Need A Reboot? Follow These Steps:
Have you ever tried to go to bed as soon as you’ve got home from work? Or even from a dinner with friends? It’s hard. Even watching a dramatic TV show right before you get into bed can leave you tossing and turning for a while before you are able to settle, as you run things over in your mind.
And ditto for that one last email check. I’ve done that more times than I care to count. And just last night, my own dear husband did it – and instantly regretted it, when he came across a stressful work-related message. He tossed and turned all night. Meaning I also tossed and turned all night.
If you want to get a good night’s sleep, don’t go to bed with a head filled with thoughts. Try to “switch off” and do something relaxing for at least an hour before you go to bed. Some people find reading, talking to a loved one, watching easy TV, or even meditating helps them to unwind enough that sleep comes more easily.
Watch The Caffeine
You might know not to drink coffee right before bed. But when should you cut yourself off for the day? And more importantly, what about the other things that contain caffeine? Like tea, other caffeinated drinks, and chocolate? Even hot cocoa could even keep you awake!
It’s also important to remember that caffeine affects us all in different ways. So while some people might fall asleep straight away, 20 minutes after a coffee, you might struggle if you drink a cup after dinner. (Personally, if I have any much after noon, forget a decent night’s sleep for me.)
One big tip: Try to reduce your intake gradually, until you find what works. Whenever I get on a too-much-caffeine streak for some reason, and then try to go right back to my normal intake (2 cups of coffee first thing and then no more), I get a massive caffeine-withdrawal headache. (Not fun!)
Make Sure You’re Comfy
You’ll never get a good night’s sleep on an uncomfortable mattress. Even if you fall asleep quickly, you’ll be restless and wake up aching. Look at the Top Mattress Pick to make sure you are comfortable when you do get to bed.
While you’re at it, go through your bedroom and make sure it’s optimized for sleep. This basic checklist to troubleshoot kids’ sleep spaces works for grownups, too. (I also love this super post on making sure your bedroom isn’t harming your chances of a good night’s rest.) Allergy-proofing your bedroom can be a real help, too.
RELATED POST: How To Get Your Kid To Go To Sleep
RELATED POST: Sleep Better Tonight: Five Often-Overlooked Hacks
Give Yourself a Bedtime
If you think bedtimes are just for kids, you’re dead wrong. Having a bedtime, and wake-up time, that you stick to as much as possible can be a massive help. (Yes, this includes weekends and vacations!)
The sooner you can establish a regular bedtime for yourself, the sooner your body will get used to it. And once that happens, you’ll start falling asleep more quickly, and waking up feeling refreshed and alert. Gradually, and calmly. Before your alarm goes off.
Once you’ve set that bedtime, your final step is to figure out the steps you’ll take each night to wind yourself down and the routine you’ll use to cue “bedtime” to your subconscious mind. It could be as long as a half-hour, or as short as ten minutes – whatever works for you.
For me, the last 10 minutes before I fall asleep every night look like this: For the first 5 minutes, I change into my PJs, brush my teeth, and take down my hair from its barrette or clips or however I’ve styled it that day. Then I crawl into bed, put on my eye mask and earplugs, and set my Fitbit to the 5-minute relax program. If I’m still awake when the guided breathing session ends, I roll over and fall asleep almost instantly.
If you need other tips on winding down and setting routines for yourself before bed, you might check out some of the getting-to-sleep techniques in these two posts:
RELATED POST: How To Get Sleep With A Newborn Baby
RELATED POST: How To Get Your Toddler To Sleep
What are your favorite bedtime rules and habits for grownups? What’s your routine to help you get a good night’s sleep? Please share with us in the comments!
If you enjoyed this post on why grownups need their own personal bedtime routine, please share by pinning this image!
Or stay in the loop by joining our mailing list!