By the time my kids are tucked in bed for the night, I am usually flat-out exhausted. My body just wants to curl in a ball and my brain can hardly string together coherent thoughts.
And back before I had a solid bedtime routine, once the kids were down, I did one of 2 things:
- Stick in ear buds and force myself to clean my house in my zombie-like state and wake up feeling super crabby.
- Zone out while bingeing Netflix, limp of to bed hours later…and then wake up feeling super crabby.
It wasn’t great. And I’d just start the next day feeling exhausted.
Because truth is, your bedtime routine directly impacts how you feel when you wake up in the morning. And that pretty much sets the tone for your whole day.
Which means that as a mom, your bedtime routine has the power to completely transform how you feel.
And in this post, we’re going to cover the ingredients to the perfect bedtime routine for moms and walk you through creating the perfect one for you.
So you can build a happy, healthy, and organized life that you love.
(I’ve also created a handy bedtime routine template to help you build your perfect routine. You can download it at the bottom of this post.)
THE IMPORTANCE OF MOM’S BEDTIME ROUTINE
Your nighttime routine determines how you feel when you wake up. So while it’s super trendy to focus on building a great morning routine….
(And I admit that I’m obsessed with creating an effective and energizing morning routine)
…the reality is that if you don’t first focus on your bedtime routine, you’re never going to have the kind of morning that you really want.
Your evenings determine:
- How you feel when you go to bed. Do you feel refreshed from the cares and chaos of the day or are you still simmering in it when you lay down?
- The quality & length of your sleep. Which basically determines your health and mood.
- Your mood and energy level when you wake up in the morning. Which pretty much determines how your day goes!
And while your morning routine is super important, to have a great morning, you’ve got to first nail down a great nighttime routine.
THE PERFECT BEDTIME ROUTINE FOR MOMS
Because the ideal routine depends on YOU, the perfect bedtime routine will be different for each person and will probably shift over time (especially as your kids’ needs change).
For example, my evening routine has shifted A LOT as I’ve gone from having a back-to-back babies to just having young kids.
Which means that there actually isn’t any ONE perfect bedtime routine for moms. It’s about what works for you RIGHT now.
Meaning it’s actually realistic for what your life looks like right now.
The “perfect” routine that’s just not possible right now, isn’t really the right routine (which I’ve had to learn that through a lot of trial and error).
However, you’ll want to make sure yours includes 3 key features. The best bedtime routine for moms:
- Relaxes your body
- Shuts down your brain and gets you into relaxation mode
- Is realistic for you right now
And the way to relax your body and shut down your brain (so your mind doesn’t race while you lay in bed frustrated) is through self care.
SELF CARE & YOUR BEDTIME ROUTINE
For us moms, our days are pretty chock full of all our responsibilities and taking care of others.
Therefore, often the only time we have to take care of ourselves is at the end of the day after the kids are down or before they wake up…and our daily responsibilities kick in.
And despite what “mom guilt” tells you, self care isn’t a luxury.
It is something you need to survive. Because it reduces your stress (stress does all sorts of very nasty things to your body) and basically makes everything feel better.
When you practice self care, you will:
- Be more patient with your kids (and life in general)
- Have a happier, calmer home
- Feel better and be more productive
And so creating an intentional evening routine that helps you relax and take care of yourself isn’t extravagant. Frankly, it’s just the smart thing to do.
STEPS TO BUILD THE BEST NIGHTTIME ROUTINE
With the understanding that there isn’t one”perfect” bedtime routine for moms and that your routine needs self care, you’re ready to actually start building the ideal evening routine for you.
Step 1: First, determine bedtime. Because sleep is insanely important.
Sleep is literally the foundation of your health. Which feels like bad news as a mom because poor sleep is a hallmark of motherhood & raising babies.
And If you live in the US, you live in a culture that does NOT prioritize sleep. In fact, there is this pervasive idea that not sleeping enough is actually a badge of honor and strength.
Problem is, we don’t function well off of poor sleep. And the research is not ambiguous. Sustained sleep deprivation leads to a host of health issues.
And simply put: lack of sleep makes you crabby and less productive.
So how much sleep do you need?
Most adults need between 7-9 hours of quality sleep. Think about how much you’ll sleep without being awoken by an alarm or your kids. And that’s the amount you need.
Personally, I’m on that 9 hour end of things. My husband is closer to the 7. It’s just biology and genes.
Work backward from the ideal wake up time and determine your bedtime.
Child not sleeping through the night?
If you have a child not sleeping through the night, I recommend doing the following things:
- Calculate sleep disruptions into your sleep time. You need more time to make sure you can get the recommended sleep (which will mean you’re happier and more productive).
- Talk to your pediatrician about any sleep issues with your baby or child. While disrupted sleep is just part of raising a newborn, most healthy babies should be able to sleep through the night around 6 months. Your child’s health professional can make sure there’s not an underlying health issue and help you with strategies to make sure your little one has healthy sleep.
For more on sleep, check out 10 Secrets for Moms to Get Better Sleep.
Step 2: Create a “hard stop” time that begins your wind down routine.
A “hard stop” just a time that you stop whatever is going on and give yourself permission to move on to the next thing.
Generally speaking, it’s a powerful tool to build your daily schedule. And when it comes to a great nighttime routine and keeping a consistent bedtime, it’s essential.
I recommend a minimum of 30 minutes between your hard stop and your bedtime.
Personally, mine is an hour. That’s how long it takes to really cast off the cares of the day, take care of myself, and get ready for great sleep.
Step 3: Start building your routine.
With a bedtime and a hard stop, you’re ready to start actually building your intentional bedtime routine. You’ll want to pick a handful of activities that will help you shut down your brain and body so you can quickly drift off to sleep when you slip into bed.
As a natural night owl, these practices are essential to getting me to sleep in time to wake up rested in the morning when duty calls.
Otherwise, I’d seriously lay in bed forever trying to fall asleep as my mind raced.
Here are several ideas for what you can do.
Ideas to shut down your body:
- Dim the lights.
- Avoid screens in the hour or 2 before bed. Helps melatonin and helps you winddown.
- Deep breathing (You can just sit and focus on your breath and taking beig breaths or you can do something more structures like the 5-5-5 breathing. just sit and take a deep breath for 5 seconds, hold it for 5, blow out for 5. Repeat a few times)
- Take a hot bath or shower: not just for relaxing, it actually helps you fall asleep faster.
- Put on socks: Also helps pull heat from your core so you fall asleep faster
- Make sure it’s cold in your room (helps you fall asleep faster)
Ideas to shut down your brain:
- Make a to-do list/short plan for the next day (use daily planner or mini-daily planner in Bullet Journal printables)
- Set out clothes for the next day. Prepping allows your brain to calm down knowing that you’re ready for the next day.
- Journal on paper (I do this when I feel like my mind is heavy, stressed, or just racing. Maybe it’s a night owl thing, but free writing at night helps me process whatever I’m dealing with, get clarity, and relax my brain. I have a 3 ring binder with loose paper so I’m not looking at a blue-light screen)
- Read for pleasure: read something that shifts your brain away from the cares of the day into relaxation mode. Avoid anything that excites your mind
- Wind down ritual. This is something that helps signal “it’s time to shut down”. Like changing into PJs, putting on slippers, or putting on a robe. Or something else. Like sometimes I work in the evenings in my home office, and when I hit my “hard stop” I clear off my desk, make my to-do list for the next day, turn off my computer, turn off the light and shut the door. This ritual helps me “shut down”.
You don’t want to feel rushed. This should be a slow, relaxed time of day. So start with just a few practices.
Think about what feels calming and luxurious to you. What do you want to try?
Step 4: Tweak your kids’ bedtime routine (if needed)
To make sure you can observe your “hard stop”, you’ll need to make sure your kid’s bedtime routine is established and honored. You can follow the same steps for your kids routine outlined in this post.
- Pick a bedtime (How much sleep kids need)
- pick your hard stop where the routine starts
- create a routine that helps calm your kids mentally and physically (this is also a great time to connect as a parent away from the chaos of the day).
Ideas for kids’ routine
- Give yourself enough time to keep the routine calm
- Start the routine with cleanup (signals that we’re shutting down for the day and helps start the day with a clean slate)
- Dim the lights when you start the wind down
- Avoid screens
- Calm down rituals: baths, read books, sing lullabies.
For more on creating a great bedtime routine for your kids, check out 5 Simple Tricks for a Calm & Tear-Free Bedtime Routine.
Step 5: Start putting it into practice!
With a few practices selected, you’re ready to start putting it into practice. Start tonight by honoring your hard stop and winding down before bed.
Experiment with different things to find what feels relaxing and rejuvenating for you. And remember that building new habits and routines takes time. Be patient with yourself.
And as a you practice, it’ll be easier because you will crave your evening routine. You’ll see it as a necessity to function at full capacity.
BEDTIME ROUTINE TEMPLATE FOR ADULTS
And to help you put all these steps into practice, I’ve created a bedtime routine template for adults. You can download that by clicking the button below.
GET STARTED WITH YOUR NEW NIGHTTIME ROUTINE
You are totally ready to get started the perfect bedtime routine for you that lets you relax, unwind, and wake up feeling awesome. Follow the 5 steps listed and be sure and include self care practices.
And remember: when you take care of yourself, it’s much easier to take care of everyone else.
You’ve got this.
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