Give yourself the gift of a bedtime

Do you have a bedtime? Like a time when you know you will actually turn out the lights (and not have the tv on in the background)?

Last week I was talking with my son and he was feeling under the weather and asking what he could do boost his immune system. Like most college kids, he burns the candle at both ends – going to classes all day, working through the afternoon and evening and then staying up studying (or playing video games, or whatever) really late into the night. Anyway, as we talked about how important rest is I said, “give yourself the gift of a bedtime.” To which he promptly rolled his eyes at me. “The gift of a bedtime? Seriously, mom?”

Ok. I admit it. It was a cheesy thing to say. Especially to my 18 year old son. But it IS true. One of the best things we can do for ourselves is to establish a bedtime and wake-up routine. When our bodies got to sleep and get up at the same time everyday, everything works better. And not only that, it makes a difference HOW we go to bed. For example, there’s a big difference between tumbling into bed with our clothes still on and teeth feeling all furry OR taking care of our personal hygiene and changing into pjs before we turn out the lights. Right?

How we prepare ourselves for bed really does matter. We are creatures of habit. Those habits can help us improve our lives when we choose them wisely! When we work all day and fill our evenings with activities, it can be hard to rest well. We need a bridge between the busy-ness of the day and the restfulness of the night.

Introducing: The Bedtime Routine!

Ok. So it doesn’t sound fancy or even exciting. But if you haven’t tried a bedtime routine, I highly encourage you to give it a go for a couple weeks and see what you think. You may be pleasantly surprised! It can be whatever you like. Not everyone will enjoy the same routine.  And that’s ok!

Here are some ideas to try:

  • set an alarm for 1 hour before your bedtime so that you know when it’s time to start winding down whatever you have going on
  • play some relaxing music
  • light candles
  • do a foot massage
  • meditate
  • read something light and enjoyable for a few minutes
  • have a nice conversation with a family member or friend
  • have a warm drink – herbal tea or warm milk
  • turn off the screens for an hour before bed

I’d love to hear from you. What are some of your favorite bedtime routines? What helps you get ready for a restful night’s sleep? Let me know in the comments below!