Would you give anything to be able to sleep soundly – even once and reclaim the bedtime routine and restful sleep you use to get before kids?
If your kiddos are still in the baby stage then this article doesn’t really apply to you because you are actually not going to sleep again for another couple of years. During the baby phase it’s as if our mom bodies go on high alert. Even moms who were once solid sleepers find themselves waking up to even the smallest of noises during the night and having a tough time getting to sleep.
However, if your kids are out of the baby years, there is hope for reclaiming your bedtime routine. It all starts with developing habits and preparing your body for deep rest.
Consider these suggestions to help you construct a bedtime routine that helps you fall asleep more easily and enjoy a deeper sleep.
Most people sleep better when they’ve exercised during the day. Because exercise tenses the muscles throughout your body, you’re better able to relax them later. As long as your doctor approves, try a little regular exercise.
A 20-minute jog, a 30-minute walk on the treadmill, or even a bike ride will do. If it’s nice and you can get away, then put on your ear buds and head out! If not, then it’s a chance to pull out those old exercise DVDs – maybe even do a different routine every day.
2. Clear the clutter
Believe it or not, it’s hard to go to sleep in a bedroom stacked up with a bunch of clothes, newspapers, and other stuff. It’s tough for your brain to relax. Instead, try to have a nightstand with a just lamp, your alarm and space for a book or two. if you can’t put everything away in your room, then at least ensure there are some wide-open spaces in the room so you can “rest” your eyes.
Dust your bedroom surfaces and headboard every week. Even if you don’t have allergies, breathing in dust when you’re trying to sleep can be annoying and unhealthy. If you feel you don’t have time to do this then get the family involved. Kids as young as three can help dust. Get an old sock and have them put it over their hand and wipe down surfaces! Your kiddo will think it is fun.
3. Limit evening snacks
Most nutritionists and medical personnel recommend not eating a couple of hours before you’re going to lie down. This practice helps you avoid possible gastrointestinal issues that could develop, and also saves you some calories. Read more about this in our article 11 Ways to Lose Weight Without Going to the Gym
4. Break the caffeine cycle
The good news is that you don’t have to completely give up caffeine. The bad news is that if you’re a heavy caffeine consumer you will need to cut back. Try to have one or no more than two servings of caffeinated beverages before noon. After that, it’s caffeine-free till bedtime. Do this for a month and see how much your sleep improves.
If you need some additional strategies or support in quitting or cutting back caffeine, that’s ok, many people do. Check out this article on how to Conquer Your Caffeine Addiction without the Frustration.
If you’re hooked on caffeine, this suggestion may not be easy to carry out, but the results will ultimately be well worth your efforts. Read more about the side-effects of caffeine.
5. Take a bath
Take a bath about an hour before you plan to go to sleep. Even if you’re more of a shower person, recognize that showers are known for energizing people, which might not be the best idea before bed if you have trouble sleeping.
It doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out fiasco. Just try a quick, warm bath to help your muscles relax. Even 15 minutes can help.
Looking for more ways to relax? Then you may want to consider reading our article about Self-Care for Busy Moms.
6. Complete your body care routine
Brush, floss and moisturize. Taking care of your hair, teeth and skin will help ease your mind when you lie down to go to sleep. You’ll feel clean and relaxed.
The last hour or so before you’re going to turn out the light, get your bed clothes on and read or listen to a nighttime playlist. Although some people feel relaxed lying in bed and watching television, sleep experts do not recommend this as a way of improving sleep. They call this condition chronic sleep debt.
Be willing to experiment with a couple of different options in your routine to discover what works best to help you obtain good sleep.
8. Take deep breaths
Once you turn off the lights, focus on taking four or five deep breaths. Breathe out slowly through your mouth. You’ll feel your body sink into your bed a little more with each breath. This technique will work surprisingly well to help you get to sleep. You may even want to consider a technique called Square Breathing.
We know it’s not easy getting back into your own bedtime routine after your kids outgrow the baby and toddler stage. But hopefully designing your own effective bedtime routine will bring you many nights of relaxing, restful sleep. Revise your habits using some of these suggestions and let us know what is working for you by sending us a message or commenting below.