If you're a parent, the phrase, "bedtime routine" will probably make you think about bath time, books, sound machines, special songs, three hugs, and whatever else your kid requires to fall asleep!
The goal is to create a consistent, calming routine that mentally prepares kids for sleep. Essentially, we create a wind-down system that is predictable and reliable so that our little bundles of joy go to sleep so we adults can get down to the adult business of drinking wine and watching Netflix...🙃
Why is Sleep Important?
But as adults, we need to prioritize our sleep just as much as little munchkins do! Perhaps even more than them. We need good sleep to function well in this world. Sleep enables the body to repair itself and ready to tackle another day.
But we also understand that aside from the obvious health benefits, when you are sleep deprived, you tend to be a little less patience, a little more cranky, and a little less fun to be around.
So, now that we all agree that sleep makes you not only healthier but a better person in general, let's talk about those bedtime routines...
Nolan's Wind-Down Routine
Now, I am willing to guess that you already have a bedtime routine in place that you may don consciously or unconsciously. In our house, it goes something like this.
Kids are in bed and asleep, the kitchen is all cleaned up and the house is generally in acceptable order.
At 9:15 my phone reminds me to begin wind-down time. Once that starts, I leave my phone plugged in downstairs and head upstairs. No more screens for the rest of the evening.
Shower, brush my teeth and get a glass of water to leave by the bed.
By 9:45 I am in bed and I usually journal for a few minutes, then read my book.
Around 10 or 10:15 I have lights out and, hopefully, sleep all night.
That is my bedtime routine - a set of actions that are calm and prep my mind and body for sleep. After doing this set of actions for a while, they become automatic and habitual, and sleep generally gets better.
Creating Your Bedtime Routine
If you're struggling to have a healthy bedtime routine in place, here are a few tips.
1. Track Your Habits
Use a notepad, piece of paper, or your phone and track what you do for your bedtime routine. The more specific you can get, the better.
2. Analyze Your Habits
After tracking your pre-bedtime habits for a few days, take the time to analyze it and see which actions are serving you or hurting you. If you find that you are scrolling on social media every night before you go to sleep, replace it with reading, writing, or meditation.
If you are watching TV till 11 or 12, the same thing. Start your bedtime earlier and get into the habit of self-care instead of entertainment. Save those TV nights for one or two nights a week and watch something that you are excited to watch, not just anything for the sake of watching. That's a habit that doesn't help you with your sleep.
3. Create a New Routine
Make a checklist of the actions you want to take before bedtime, and put it next to your bed as a visual reminder of what to do. It takes most people more than 2 months for a new habit to become automatic, so be consistent!
4. Reward Yourself!
In our coaching program, we focus a LOT on how to help establish new habits that serve you better and one of those tools is the reward system. When you complete a whole week of doing your bedtime routine, reward yourself! Watch that movie you've been looking forward to or your favorite show. Make some popcorn, cuddle up with your partner and enjoy!
Then the next night, get back on track and have something to look forward to the next weekend. I promise that after a week of good sleep, your partner will want to cuddle up with you!
Sleeping through the night is a challenge with little kids, but getting to bed early and doing those things that will make your sleep better when you do sleep will set you up for more success.
I believe that sleep is contagious, so the better you sleep, the better everyone in your home will sleep too!
Be the change that you want to see in your home, be the person that you want to be by taking action right now. Success loves action!
Track your bedtime habits.
Analyze and see what habits are helping your sleep and what habits are harming your sleep.
Write out your bedtime routine and implement it immediately.
Reward yourself after completing a week of your new bedtime.
Keep being the most awesome version of yourself so you feel rad and your kids have a kick-ass role model to look up to.