As parents we focus all of our energy on establishing a healthy bedtime routine for our children. We do whatever we can to ensure our children get the best sleep possible each and every night. We never consider our own sleep needs. Think about it, when did you last add some structure to your evening/bedtime routine?
The only structure in my evening/bedtime routine is the list of TV programmes I watch. I don’t allow myself time to wind down or do anything to aid a restful sleep. Once the children are in bed, I head back downstairs, catch up on TV, switch on my laptop to get work done and then head back upstairs to bed. Very little relaxation occurs, or at least it didn’t until I made a few small but effective changes.
Screen time is something I always consider when establishing or changing routines for the children. However, I’ve never considered the impact screen time has on my sleep. This blog, my full-time job, requires me to be sat in front of a screen on an almost daily basis. If I’m not on my laptop in the evening, I’m watching TV. I’d never allow the children to spend that amount of time in front of the screen, no matter how flexible I am about their use of tablets etc, so why am I allowing myself?
The first thing I changed about my bedtime routine was the amount of screen time I have. Once any work I need to do is done and the soaps are watched, I switch off the TV and head upstairs where I read a book or simply lay down and unwind. I no longer mindlessly scroll through Netflix trying to find something, anything, to watch. Falling asleep has become so much easier. Switching off isn’t quite so difficult, and when I wake, I feel far more rested.
It sounds silly I know, but trust me, it works. Other changes I’ve made to my evening/bedtime routine include:
- Not waiting until the children are in bed to eat my dinner. Instead, I’m eating dinner with them. By the time I need to go to bed, the post meal bloat has subsided which makes settling down much easier.
- Keeping any household jobs to a minimum after 7pm. As the only adult in the house, there is always something for me to be doing. I could spent all night ticking off my never-ending to do list. I’ve been known to stay awake all night decorating and/or organising our home. Rather than polishing tables and scrubbing pots and pans whilst the rest of the world is snoozing, I’m making sure the washing up is done, the laundry is sorted and everything is prepared for the next morning before the children go to bed.
- No mindless scrolling of social media – Facebook and Instagram can wait.
- Last but not least, I treat myself to a little self-indulgence. I’m not talking about giving yourself a full blown makeover or at home spa treatment before you go to bed, I’m talking about little snippets of indulgence that will leave you feeling good about yourself. It can be as simple as applying face cream, just make sure you do something for you.
It really is as easy as that. A simple tweak to the way you do things could have a huge impact on the amount and the quality of sleep you are getting. I’m getting more rest, although probably not as much as I should be getting, and I don’t feel as sluggish and slow in the mornings, much to the children’s delight!