How to Set Up a Thriving Bed Time Routine (Bed Time Routines are Not Just for Kids)
Creating a solid bed time routine is equally important as a morning routine; and, a lack of bed time routine can impact a morning. Solid bed times and routines are not just for kids, adults also crave structure and stability. A bed time routine provides sleep preparation, which allows for the body to begin to unwind, experience a good sleep, and wake up to a rested morning. Some things that are important in a bed time routine are: creating a comfortable sleep environment, consistency in time and routine, relaxing activities and a gratitude mind-set.
Having a comfortable sleep environment helps put your mind at rest. I know that whenever I have stuff all over my floor, which happens often, there is a sense of unease in my mind. I usually go to sleep with thoughts of falling over something in the middle of the night. This is not an optimum way to go to sleep. Just as I make my bed each morning, recently I have started to move everything off of the floor. There still may be a pile of clothes on the chair, but it removes obstacles in the given walking space. Having a dark room or using blinds or curtains to keep out street lights or morning light, allows for the mind to know it is night time. Notice where you have lights flashing or shining or where your cell phone is. There are many research articles on the correlation between decrease in sleep and constant stimulation with keeping electronics in one’s room. Notice, how this impacts you. If it isn’t necessary to have electronics in your room, keep them out. Have pillows, heating pads, body pillows, whatever you need to help your body be at ease and feel comfortable. The art work on your wall is also important. Notice what kind of a mood the images set before going to sleep. Are they thought provoking, are they negative in nature, or do they cause restlessness or are they reminders of the past or sorrow? Set a mood of calm, peace, love, and joy. Look throughout your room and figure out what each piece means to you. If it doesn’t align with peace, love, and joy, remove it. Either remove it from your room or completely out of your living space. There are many other tips and Feng-Shui ideas to creating a comfortable environment and set up. Some of these things are: have your bed in a position where you can see the door, keep your bed away from windows or water running, and place your mirror facing away from your bed.
For me, I need my room dark, with a body pillow and warm blankets, and the images of my wall to be of nature.
Consistency in time and routine is important because it allows for your body to internally know, it’s time for bed. My routine usually begins around 10:00-10:30 pm. It involves brushing my teeth and then flossing my teeth while I run my bath. Then, I take a bath, wash my face in the bath, dry off, put on my pajamas, put on face cream, and head to bed. I usually look at my phone for a bit, even though it is not recommended; however, I have my light on as low as it can be. Then, I think of the day and something I was grateful for. Sometimes I say a prayer and ask for assistance in sleeping and guidance in the following day for me, my family and people close to me. If I cannot fall asleep within 10-15 minutes, I do a body scan where I go through each part of my body beginning with my feet. I tighten my muscles in that certain region breathe in and then on the breath out, I release my muscles. This contraction of muscles to a relaxed state has me fall asleep within in minutes of going through the body scan. The body scan takes a couple of minutes. I stick to a consistent routine and even if I am really tired, I always follow my routine, especially a bath each night.
Recently, my friend shared how her 8-month old child is beginning to sleep throughout the night, because her child's body has adjusted to the consistent schedule. Each night he is read the two same stories at a certain time, which is the final step in his sleep routine. Each time the last story comes to a close, her child begins to rub his eyes and his body knows, this is what happens before I fall asleep. By reading the same stories at the same time, the sleeping step is automatic. Solid bed times and routines are not just for children. Adults also need routines, because this allows the brain to unwind and the body to just follow the sequence of steps without thought. This allows for relaxation, which is what we want to promote before bed.
Relaxing activities before bed help provide a calm state. There are four stages of sleep, plus REM (Rapid Eye Moment) cycle. If your body cannot relax completely, it cannot make it through all the stages of sleep and your body misses out on the deeper sleep. Deep sleep is important for physical renewal, which is essential for the brain and optimal-functioning. Research states the body needs 7 to 8 hours to be working at full capacity. If your body has been in a habit of less sleep, your brain will opt for a lighter sleep. Engaging in activities that create a winding down feeling is essential in creating the space for your body to go into deeper sleep. This includes watching your thoughts. Rapid anxious thoughts produce a stress response in the body, causing the body to stimulate the nervous system as well as the brain. The best way to calm your mind, is to notice your thoughts, write them down if you have to, preferably in another room, and practice deep breathing, a body scan, or doing something different. I read somewhere, if you cannot sleep, don’t lay there and think over and over about not being able to sleep, do something else. For me when I cannot sleep, it is usually also associated with pain, so I will sometimes take another bath, even at 2 am. Having a gratitude mind-set allows me to focus on what I can do and not what I cannot do, which is sleep. I can be thankful, I can take a bath or I can be thankful for things in my life rather than miserable that I cannot sleep. This gratitude mind-set changes the perspective of the situation, and sometimes that’s all you need for a good night’s sleep or a good experience.
A bed time routine is unique to you. Find out what works and what doesn’t work. Also, be kind and gentle with yourself when there is a disruption in the routine, as it is inevitable in life, that things happen and sometimes your routine will be disrupted. Be mindful in those moments, work from a beginner’s mind of curiosity and have some love and gratitude to yourself and others. A bed time routine consists of having a comfortable environment, consistent time and routine, and engaging in relaxing activities and a gratitude mind-set.
Each day is a fresh clear canvas to create your day. So how will you set up your nightly routine to reflect and create thankfulness for the masterpiece you created each day?
Get Your Joy On: Challenge 4 April 15 -21, 2018
Your Challenge this week of April 15 to April 21 is to choose five or more things that are important to you in a bed time routine. Your second part of the challenge is to begin to find gratitude before you go to sleep. Your third part of the challenge is to reflect on how your morning routine is going.
Happy Joying XO ~ Love Cynth