Do you have a bedtime routine? Do your kids?
You both should! Here’s why.
Sleep does so much more than prevent us from feeling tired. When we sleep, we heal and repair our bodies. Get enough and you could experience an improvement in learning and memory (bonus for school!). Research also shows that getting enough sleep helps with feelings of anxiety and depression, and is associated with maintaining a healthy weight.
Check out these bedtime routine ideas and sleep solutions to help you and your child get the best sleep your body needs!
Create a Bedtime Routine (That Works!)
With your child, create a 5 minute (or more) routine that helps transition from day to night. This will prepare them for a good night’s sleep (and even better day tomorrow.
This routine should be separate from a typical “getting ready for bed” task like brushing your teeth or washing your face.
The routine can take any form you want, as long as it works for you. Think of physical habits (like stretching), mental habits (like journaling or reading), spiritual habits (like meditation or prayer).
Why Is a Bedtime Routine Important?
Sleep is an extremely important part of our overall well-being and health. If we don’t get enough, it may not be noticeable right away (although often it is), but the repercussions can add up.
Lack of a good night’s sleep can have immediate effects on our mood, motivation, focus, energy and strength the next day. This can affect our state at work, school, in our workouts and how we react at home. A lack of sleep over many nights can have long-term effects on our health, too. From high blood pressure and obesity to psychiatric problems, including depression and other mood disorders, research shows that the risks of sleep deprivation are severe.
Practice a Good Bedtime Routine
Believe it or not, getting good sleep takes practice. And guess what? It all starts before you even close your eyes.
One of the best places to start practicing at getting good sleep is by creating your optimal sleep environment.
This includes both your physical space and mental state.
Clear the clutter.
Turn your attention away from the endless to-dos, stressful sights and clutter of the day by clearing your space and mind. This practice can go a long way toward ensuring you are prepared to successfully get enough Zzzzs. For example, get the unfolded laundry out of your bedroom, write down your to-dos so you can attend to them in the morning.
Turn it off.
If falling asleep is difficult for you or your child, consider setting a curfew on all your devices. The artificial “blue” light that is emitted by electronic screens can trigger our body to produce more daytime hormones (like cortisol) and disrupt our body’s natural preparation to sleep.
Instead, spend the last hour or two before bed reading a physical book or magazine (a real one with actual pages — not an e-book). This can also help you mentally wind down for the night, instead of getting fired up by your social media feed or disturbing news.
Keep it cool.
According to sleep.org, the temperature has to be just right for an ideal night’s sleep. In general, the suggested bedroom temperature should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal sleep conditions.
A stuffy space can hike nasal congestion and hinder your ability to breathe easily while you sleep. Studies even show that those who keep their windows open overnight feel more alert the next morning. But if you suffer from seasonal allergies, it might help to invest in a room purifier alternatively.
Create a bedtime routine that involves diffusing essential oils 30 minutes before bed. Certain scents encourage drowsiness and can signal your brain that it’s time to start shutting off. Try a few drops of lavender, frankincense, cedarwood and bergamot.
Get Them Involved in Their Own Bedtime Routine
Consider that the time preparing for sleep is just as important as the time spent warming up for your workout. Take time for yourself. It puts you in the right mental and physical state to do the best job possible at what’s happening next. Sleep.
Talk to your child about their ideas, too. The more involved they are in the process, the more likely they’ll stick to it.