We all know the effects of a good night’s rest. We are calmer, more focused, less stressed and with more energy to handle what each day brings. Research on the subject of sleep has shown that it even clears waste from the brain and supports learning and memory. So while the body is sleeping, the brain is very much at work.
It’s no surprise that while we understand how important sleep is, many of us don’t get enough of it. As a mom, it’s almost impossible. Whether it’s the stresses of the day looming over our heads at night or the to-do list for the next day, it can be difficult to settle down and sleep. This is where a sleep ritual can be helpful in getting those hours in every night.
CREATE THE ENVIRONMENT
You want to create an environment that is primed for restful sleep. If you like the room dark, buy some black-out curtains to eliminate any light coming through at night. Dim the lights in your bedroom, as bright lights can energize instead of settle and calm. A white noise machine is also really helpful. We have this one in our room and each of our kids room. There is a reason it’s a popular item on baby registries!
If you like essential oils, get a diffuser and put a few drops of lavender or chamomile oil and let it fill up the room about an hour before you go to sleep. Scents are powerful and have a real impact on sleep.
Check your bedding and pajamas to make them as inviting as possible. I like an all seasons comforter that can go from summer to winter. Get some soft pajamas that are comfortable and you can easily move around in at night.
PREPARE FOR THE NEXT DAY
One of the main challenges for the mind in getting to sleep faster is the worries of the next day. A sleep ritual that includes preparing for the big things the next day can help.
I make the kids school lunches the night before to eliminate one more thing the next morning as I’m rushing to get the kids dressed and out the door. Make a list of things that need to be accomplished the next day- whether that be phone calls, appointments, grocery shopping or things to discuss with your partner or boss. This way you won’t forget to do them. My husband and I are not morning people, so taking care of those things the night before when we are more awake and focused works for our family.
Picking out clothes for yourself and kids (if they are at that age) is a great idea. Plan out what everyone is wearing so the only thing that needs to be done the next morning is getting dressed. This also applies to anything that needs to be packed for after school or going to the office. If you often find yourself forgetting it at home, try putting it in the car the night before so it’s there. This works for school projects and things that need to be returned.
SET TIME ASIDE TO SETTLE DOWN
My favorite thing to do is a guided meditation while in bed with the lights off. It helps me focus, eliminates distracting thoughts and more often than not I’m asleep before the session ends. Another great one is writing in a journal. Writing down just three things that you are grateful for the day can help put you in a more positive mood before bed.
Try to put the phone or computer down before bedtime. Not only can it be a time sink, but the blue light emitted from the devices can actually trick your mind into thinking it’s daytime and keep you up. Instead, listen to a podcast that is targeted for sleep with an automatic shut-off. Set morning alarms beforehand so it’s not tempting to pick up the phone while laying in bed.
Want a sleep ritual to get you started? Check out my post over on the Zulily blog 🙂