It's 10 p.m and I've just finished episode 3 of Sex Education on netflix. I know I should be getting my booty to bed, but I'm ramped up after that cliff hanger. Before I can grab the remote the next episode is on and I'm sucked in. Sound familiar?
If you crave sleep, but when you hit the pillow you can't turn off the mental chatter keeping you awake, a bed-time ritual is a good place to start.
Crafting a bed-time ritual can help you fall asleep more easily and get more rest. That's because we're creatures of habit, and building an evening routine helps train our minds and bodies to wind down and prepare for sleep.
Plus when you craft and follow a bed-time ritual, you're creating a clear plan so you're most likely to achieve your goal of getting more sleep!
The best bed-time rituals are clear and simple, just like your evening routine with your kids. Bath, book, bed. Rinse and repeat. So if you're struggling with falling asleep and want to feel more well-rested in the morning a bed-time ritual can help!
HERE'S MY BED-TIME RITUAL
While my oldest is in the bath-tub I brush my teeth, floss and do some simple neck and shoulder stretches. After her bath, I turn on the kettle and make us both a cup of sleepy time tea (my current blend is chamomile, oat straw, and rose petals. It's delicious!). While my partner puts her down for bed I read a book and relax in the living room.
I try my best to keep this time screen-free because I'm super sensitive to blue light (which interferes with the important sleep hormone melatonin). Usually somewhere around 9:30-9:45 my 9-month old wakes up to nurse. She's the perfect signal that it's time to head off to bed! After nursing, I'm in bed, wound down and ready for sleep by 10 p.m.
Keeping this routine short and sweet help's me stick with it. And after a crappy night's sleep or if I'm feeling on the verge of getting sick or just flat out exhausted I double down and aim for an earlier bedtime.
1) Start by identifying an ideal bed-time. The earlier the better. Do your best to stick with it, but don't beat yourself up when scrolling Instagram gets the best of you. Committing to an early(ish) bedtime isn't always easy, but when you're exhausted, fatigued and burned out making rest a priority is key.
2) Wind down the hour before bed. Repeat the same activities to help reinforce this new habit. Some ideas include stretching, writing, putting on moisturizer, drinking tea, reading, flossing, taking a bath, deep breaths. You don't have to wait for your kids to be in bed to begin!
3) Avoid these 3 things that kill your sleep:
Caffeine - Skip that afternoon cup of coffee or late night chocolate cookie. Ideally, don't have caffeine later than six hours before bed.
Alcohol - This can cause fragmented sleep so you'll want to avoid alcohol in the last 3 hours before bed.
Screens - The blue light interrupts the sleep hormone melatonin and elevates your stress hormone cortisol. Avoid in the hour before bed.
Wishing you sweet dreams and deep restful sleep!