For many of us, as soon as we have kids, we start trying to get them on a consistent schedule. That schedule may not be super regimented, but we have general times in which we try to do things.
One of the first things I tried to implement was a nighttime routine for my boys. It was something like bath time, story time, prayer, hugs and kisses, sleep music (well, nursery rhymes for the youngest because he is a gangster and will only go to sleep to nursery rhymes), followed by lights out. Now to get both sons to actually follow the routine without deviations or tears took patience, time, prayer, and lots of trials and errors.
Well, on the flip side, my nighttime routine has been to be busy until I am too tired to carry on, take a shower, and fall asleep as my head hits the pillow followed by a loud snore (I don’t know how to control that) until my alarm rings the next morning. Then, I start the busy routine all over again.
As the pandemic has lengthened, my ability to simply fall asleep on cue has fluctuated a bit. That made me want to think about trying a different type...actually, implement a nighttime routine because there was really not one in the first place.
While thinking about this routine, I reflected upon how I was able to sleep train my kids. My husband and I tried so many different things to get them to consistently sleep through the night. So, it made me think of myself. Since my sleep has been disrupted with additional worry, stress, and mundaneness, I needed to shake it up and add heapings of patience, time, prayer, and trial and error. I needed the same grace I had extended to my littles.
So, I started to do a little research and learned that 1 in 3 American adults do not get enough sleep and many do not have a clear routine to help the body unwind at the end of a long and busy day.
If you are experiencing or have experienced difficulty sleeping, I pray this blog post helps.
Creating a Nighttime Routine
For those that do have a clear routine, the routinesI saw from my Google searches consisted of a few of the following:
- Use scents that calm
- Journal about the day
- Do a calming yoga flow
- Eat melatonin rich foods
- Drink a cup of warm tea or milk
- Start at the same time each night
- Play calming music or color noise
- Create a do-to list for the next day
- Reduce screen time in the evening
Now, that does not mean that each report, article, or blog post I read indicated that the person implemented all of these every night. I gathered that people used some of these that worked best for them.
Just like we don’t all put our kids to bed the same, our respective nighttime routines will be different too. I have tried scheduling wind-down time, aromatherapy, drinking warm tea (of course), journaling, caressing my body, yoga, and meditating to close out the day.
When I initially started to implement a night routine, I started by analyzing my time to determine what time I could actually get in the bed. Then, I set an alarm (that still goes off today) as a reminder that the time for wind down is drawing near. Once the second alarm rings, I finalize what I am doing (within five minutes) and begin the remainder of my process. Setting an alarm has been a game-changer for me. After a few months, my mind knows that it is time to start winding down and prepare for bed. So, within 30 minutes I am so sleepy it is hard to keep my eyes open. But it did not start that way. I had to train myself to respect the time I set for myself and use it the way I promised myself I would use it. Keeping the promise to myself was the key.
The promise to honor my bedtime, the routine itself, the progress I have made to put me first, and stick with the plan. There are days when I slip and do not honor my nighttime routine, but I try to be consistent so my brain will not revert back to excessive thoughts. Below, I share a little more about a few of the recommended additions to the sleep routine.
Another major part of my routine is drinking warm tea. I have a few different Mothering Tea blends that I rotate periodically:
- Purple Tulsi
- Chamomile Cinnamon
- Chamomile, Lavender, Rose
Starting next week, I will offer two of these as a special pack for only $15 with free shipping. All are so good and the chamomile teas pair well with warm milk. An email about this special offer will be sent later next week.
Many know that chamomile is a great calming flower with many benefits.
- It may increase sleep with its unwinding effect when drank one to two hours before bedtime.
- It is antispasmodic and can help calm digestive issues that are stress-related.
- It can ease period cramps.
- It may boost the immune system and clear congested sinuses.
Since chamomile tea is a herb, it is classified as an herbal tea and should be steeped over hot water (206°F) for five to ten minutes. Try adding a little milk right before you sip your tea for added flair.
Ok, promo over. Back to sleep routines.
I have not tried color music, but I am intrigued by the science behind it. Who knew that different sounds or frequencies were classified by colors? I thought that was so cool.
- White noise is what everyone buys for the baby room. One of the most familiar examples is the static sound from an analog radio or television. White noise is the noise that consists of all the other noises at once. It has the highest frequency of them all and requires us to turn the volume way down so we can tolerate the sound.
- Pink noise has a slightly higher frequency than brown noise. This is “great background noise to drown out distractions” and is ideal for relaxing. Steady rain, wind, heartbeat, and sounds of “Shhh” are good examples of pink noise.
- Brown noise is a lower frequency noise that is soft to the ear. Think strong waterfall, waves at the beach, or low roars.
- Black noise is complete silence. This type of noise is very hard to create since many can hear something, your heartbeat, stomach rumbling, etc. even when there is almost dead silence.
Again, I am intrigued by the science as I had never heard of color noise until awhile ago when I was researching for this blog post. I also couldn’t find an android app that would allow me to select the type of noise to do a little experiment in my bedroom. As soon as I find an app, I will share it.
Reducing Screen Time
I am a proponent of reducing screen time anytime. It is a little challenging for me to allow boredom to take hold and not touch my phone, but it is so rewarding. As a matter of fact, I (don’t kick me out of the mom group), use Facebook as a way to wind down and induce sleep since the stories simply repeat. I have noticed that when I use Facebook to lull myself asleep, I do dream about people I remember seeing on Facebook. So, maybe science is right and that really needs to leave my routine altogether.
Melatonin Rich Foods
I am really not a fan of eating late at night, but sometimes, I am in need of a little nightcap. So, foods like almonds or pistachios are my go-to items when I need just a handful of something. Other melatonin-rich foods include tart cherries, goji berries, eggs, warm milk, and salmon. I would highly recommend not eating much right before bed as you don’t want digestive issues or a slowed metabolism.
I am thankful for the routine that I have implemented as it has helped me to have a more calm mind, more deep sleep, and a more available mind for the next day. One last thing to mention is journaling. When my mind is racing, I do take about 5 minutes to jot down whatever I am thinking. This kind of helps me remove this from my immediate thinking because I know that I will read it the next morning before I start my morning routine which kicks off with writing a gratitude entry and prayer.
So, no matter what your nighttime routine consists of, be sure to stick with it. Schedule it and promise yourself you will maintain the schedule for 14 days with no disruptions (weekdays and weekends alike). This is the boot camp your brain may need to honor the promise. If 14 days does not work, try it a bit longer. If you experience insomnia or any other sleep disturbances, please consult with your doctor.
Having a nighttime routine may be a low hanging fruit. Meaning, it may be easier for you to implement and stick with since the kids are typically asleep which means it's a perfect time to do something just for you. Be sure to keep me posted on how your sleep routine is going.
Now, go ahead and put your coins to the side so you can get this special $15 offer that will drop this week to the email subscribers first. Get into this tea, sis, and have a great night of sleep!
What does your nightime routine consist of right now?