Maintaining a Healthy Bedtime Routine


An alarm clock, a book and a cup of tea
Mamas, the last thing we need to do for our mental and physical health is sacrifice our sleep in the name of everything we do on any given day. Self-care is health care, and we are not being selfish in prioritizing our own health.

Especially when it comes to our sleep.

This healthy sleep series has focused on establishing an effective bedtime routine to improve our sleep quality. Quality sleep, outside of healthy nutrition, is probably the most important thing you can do to improve your overall mental health and clarity.

In Part 1 of this series, “Even Mommy Needs a Good Bedtime Routine,” we discussed why we adults must have a clear and well-established bedtime routine. If you have not read that, you can go check it out!

In Part 2, we shared several strategies to help set a routine and improve sleep. If you missed that, you can find it right here: Establishing a Healthy Bedtime Routine

Now we will look at a few more ways that, if utilized, could help you establish and maintain your bedtime routine and keep it strong. 

1. Take 15-30 minutes of relaxing time JUST FOR YOU. 

We mamas spend all day taking care of everyone and everything else. It starts with the family in the morning, shifts over to your job (if you have one) or other obligations all day, then back to kiddos and family until all eyes but yours are closed and sweetly dreaming until the morn. Now is YOUR time!!! Use it wisely to calm your system to prepare for sleep. Here are a few things you can do…notice, none of these are connected to any device (phone, tv, Kindle, etc.). That is essential.

    • Take a hot bath. Add Epsom salts for added relaxation benefits—1 cup per 50 pounds of you. Soak for a minimum of 30 minutes. This will calm your adrenals and lower your cortisol levels that were elevated throughout the day, allowing you to relax. For even more benefits, add a few drops of lavender essential oil.  
    • Read a book…an actual turn-the-page paper book (preferably fiction), not on a device. This is great to do while in the bath. The point is to relax your brain, not engage it.  
    • Do light stretching or yoga. This can help release some of the toxins that have built up in your muscles throughout the day, allowing your body to flush them away as you sleep.
    • Practice rhythmic breathing. For example, the 15-second breath – in through the nose for four counts, hold 1.5 counts, out through the mouth very slowly (like you are blowing on a candle but don’t want it to go out) for eight counts, hold 1.5 counts. Repeat until calm and relaxed — usually about 3 or 4 cycles. This works any time of the day!
    • Write in your journal. Focus on what you are grateful for from your day…or anything. There is so much research out there about practicing recognizing gratitude and starting and ending the day every day by declaring the things for which you are grateful, big or small.
    • Drink non-caffeinated herbal tea. You can easily stack this with any of the above suggestions.

2. Have a light low-glycemic, low-carb snack

Yes, you read right. It is 100% ok to eat close to bedtime, but it is what you eat and how much that is important. You want your snack to be low-glycemic and even packed with a little protein – think savory, not sweet. Doing this will help stabilize your blood sugar before you sleep, promoting restful sleep. When we have not actively worked to stabilize it before bed, we sleep restlessly because our body is engaged in a blood sugar spike and crash rollercoaster all night long.

Studies show that having your big meal earlier in the day is best, but if you must have a big nighttime meal, try to have it at least three to four hours before bed and keep the snack on those nights super light. Or, on those rare occasions when you cannot help it, maybe limit your bedtime snack to an herbal, non-caffeinated tea.  

    Some suggestions for a before-bed snack:
    • 2 Tbsp hummus and cucumber slices
    • Individual low-sugar (I always recommend Two Good Brand) yogurt cup and berries
    • Small Caprese salad (low-fat mozzarella slices, tomato slices, fresh basil, drizzle of balsamic vinegar)
    • ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese with a few grape tomatoes
    • 10-15 low-salt almonds
    • One low-fat mozzarella cheese stick or baby bell cheese wheel and a small apple
    • 10-20 slices turkey pepperoni with one low-fat mozzarella cheese stick
    • A few teaspoons of natural no, sugar-added nut butter with celery
    • ½ small apple with 2 Tbs natural no sugar added nut butter

3. Prepare your space.

You want your sleeping space to be welcoming and calming. Take a few minutes to put the laundry away, deal with any clutter stacked up from the day, close the blinds or curtains (the darker, the better), shut off any light emitting devices, and set the temp to between 69 and 71 degrees (our body will relax better in a cooler space). 

4. Beds are for sleeping. 

Once in bed, put your head on your pillow and close your eyes. Get out of the practice of doing anything in your bed other than sleep … well, aside from snuggling with your kiddos or fur baby and maybe intimate time with your partner, of course, which can also actually promote healthy sleep … but that’s another article for another day too. You want your brain to associate your bed with sleep so that when your head hits the pillow,  your brain will signal your body to relax, release all those wonderful sleep hormones, and drift right off into that much-needed peaceful slumber.  

Now… let’s get better sleep…

Ok, mamas. You work so hard to establish a beautiful and peaceful bedtime routine for your kiddos. NOW, let’s get serious about creating a beautiful and soothing bedtime routine for YOU so you can wake rested, restored, and ready to take on your day being the best version of yourself possible. We have enough that is out of our control daily; why not take back our sleep? Creating a habitual bedtime routine can do just that. No matter where you are or where you go, your routine is there to welcome you to a blissful night of slumber.  

And, of course….a good night’s sleep followed by an effective morning routine sets your and your family’s day up for success. Keep an eye out; we will be discussing that soon. 

For more resources, check this out:

American Academy of Sleep Medicine: “Healthy Sleep Habits”


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