Last Updated on April 21, 2022 by Rebecca Huff
Establishing Bedtime Routines
It's so important to get good sleep each night! Having a bedtime routine will help you on your way to dreamland so you won't have to count as many sheep! Children thrive on routine, if they know what to expect next, they will not fight against it so adamantly.
Try experimenting with bedtime routines to help your children fall asleep faster, sleep better and feel amazing which will help improve grades at school as well as keep them healthier overall.
According to some experts, it is more restful and therefore better for your health to sleep alone. If your pets, kids, or spouse keep you up at night, you might consider kissing them goodnight then sleeping alone.
Best Snacks Before Bedtime
You may have trouble falling asleep if you eat a dessert such as ice cream right before bed because sweets can mess with your blood sugar levels.
However, there's no reason you can't enjoy healthy bedtime snacks. You just need to be smart with your snack options.
A high protein snack will help to stabilize those blood sugar levels. Healthy fats and protein rich meals will contribute to better sleep and help you achieve your wellness goals. Here are a few snack ideas to keep in mind
- greek yogurt with fresh fruit (Yogurt is high in protein, pair it with kiwis which are an excellent way to raise serotonin levels that help you relax.)
- whole-grain toast with peanut butter, almond butter,
- low sugar granola or a nut mixture with pumpkin seeds, pecans, etc. which are a good source of high fiber and protein (Avoid trail mix with chocolate, dried fruit, or other high sugar ingredients.)
- whole-grain crackers with deli meat (Turkey has tryptophan which helps increase melatonin production to get you better sleep!)
- cottage cheese or hummus with cut veggies like carrots, celery, cucumbers, bell peppers (Amino acids threonine and tryptophan in cottage cheese can help you sleep better.)
- tart cherry juice helps symptoms of insomnia, but pair it with a bit of protein like a spoonful of nut butter
- small bowl of edamame beans – a high fiber snack that is also very filling
Snacking in general, but especially late-night snacks aren't ideal if you're trying to lose weight, so if you're in weight loss mode, try to avoid eating in the two hour window right before bedtime.
Best Books to Read Before Bed
You may have tried reading to help you or your children get sleepy before bedtime. Reading does help some people feel sleepy, but you need to pick the right kind of book. In addition, if you are reading to your child, the right bedtime story can help them get a good night's sleep or it can have the opposite effect.
Light-hearted fairytales with happy endings are one of the best book choices you can make for children's bedtime. Books like the Harry Potter series may be so exciting that your child doesn't want to fall asleep, they just want to know what happens next.
Consider this when reading together or choosing bedtime books.
Using an ipad or other electronic device for reading bedtime stories may also prevent yoru child from feeling sleepy. If you must read from one, make sure it has a blue light blocker or filter installed.
Children's books can be checked out from the local library and they usually also have many book recommendations available based on your child's age.
Good Book Recommendations for Parents
Need to get better sleep? What do you do in the hour before bedtime? If the answer is watching tv or looking at your phone, consider implementing this new bedtime routine strategy: books.
Bedtime reading is best kept to light fiction. Self help books, suspense novels, science fiction or murder mysteries may not be the best choice. An easy read that isn't too intense will help lull you to sleep whereas a book by Stephen King may keep you up all night.
Book clubs are another place to get inspiration and find your next great book. Oprah, Reese Witherspoon and many other celebrities have book clubs with many recommendations. In fact, it was Oprah's book club choice “The Good Earth” that turned me on to my favorite author: Pearl Buck. This also ignited my love and passion for Chinese history and learning Mandarin Chinese.
Now I've read all of Pearl Buck's books and I've been to China twice!
You can also listen to audiobooks if you want to get sleepy. Audible (this is my amazon affiliate link) is perfect for collecting audiobooks, but you can also sign up to listen through an app connected to your local library.
The Calm app has short stories intended to help you sleep, so you can also utilize apps to help you “read” your way to sleep;.
My Bedtime Routine over the years
After raising six children, here's what worked best for us. For most parents, sleep isn't hard to find after a long day of parenting.
My bedtime routine begins after dinner time. If you have young children, you might need to start winding down after dinner as well.
We usually linger at dinner as this is one of our favorite times to just catch up and chat about life. After dinner clean up is done, I instruct or assist the children with their bedtime routines.
Our routines consist of a shower, brushing teeth, braiding hair, and pjs. Then a short devotion, prayer, hugs, and kisses. Our bedtime routines intertwine, but here's the “just mom” part below:
Dry body brushing to stimulate the immune system and increase circulation.
Warm shower or bath to relax and detox, using Epsom salts, magnesium flakes or I usually do this while the children are watching a short cartoon, 20-30 minutes usually.
Essential Oils mini routine: I use Lemongrass in a body butter I made for spider veins, I use grapefruit oil on my problem areas, and I diffuse “pillow potion” which is a blend of oils in our diffuser during the night.
Reading, no how-to books or self-improvement books at night, it gets my brain going with too many ideas. I usually read some fiction at night. I use a yellow light for reading so that I do not disrupt my circadian rhythm.
No smartphone before bed; no looking at the phone in the hour before I want to fall asleep. Definitely avoid social media at night. Nothing worse than getting all worked up over someone's political post right before you go to sleep.
However, I do use my phone to track my sleep cycles, but it is ALWAYS on Airplane Mode! I do not browse on my phone after 8 p.m.
Another habit is to keep a glass bottle of water beside my bed in case I do wake up thirsty. Before bed, I take Magnesium which I keep in my nightstand. I don't have toddlers anymore, so take precautions if you have little ones!
At exactly 9:30 p.m. well ok, sometimes nine, I set my Sleep Cycle app and go to sleep! Normally, I get about 7 1/2 hours of sleep. I do not use an alarm clock, I wake up naturally between 5 and 5:30 a.m. Even on the weekends, even on vacation… yeah, even on vacations. But hey, I get to see the sunrise!
It truly does matter what type of mattress you sleep on, it's important to Create a Bedroom Oasis so you will have an optimal environment for sleep. I truly believe if you improve your sleep everything in life will seem better!
For children, bedtime routines are of utmost importance. I explain the rest of our bedtime routine in this post, if you want to get an idea how to implement one for your children.
This article is not medical advice and should not be taken as such.