Nighty Night

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Morning routine. You’ll find article upon article if you page through fitness and lifestyle magazines, quarry Google for productivity boosters, or dig into the habits of highly successful people. Nearly everyone has a morning routine of sorts. Even if it is isn’t the healthiest.

I first began developing a morning ritual back in high school! Yes, I was a high-level, narcotic planner even then! I remember writing out a very detailed morning routine my senior year. It was complete with what time my alarm was set to go off, how many minutes were allotted to ‘waking up,’ when I’d begin those necessary morning time tasks (teeth brushing and using the bathroom), what time I’d begin my yoga flow or other 15-30 minute workout, when I needed to hop in the shower to get ready for school, etc, etc, etc . . . Embarrassingly enough, I recall—with such clarity that my face gets hot thinking about it even now!—my step-mom coming across this cherished list and commenting on how I better not lose my life schedule or I wouldn’t be able to live . . . But I digress! This has nothing to do with my point. 

I haven’t ever really focused my energy on creating a nighttime ritual. I’ve read an article here and there on the importance of limiting screen time at night, or about not working out within 3 hours of going to bed, and on other pre-bed no-nos. And like the majority of information taken in, I read and mentally dispose of the content within minutes, hours, or days.

As a new mom, I’ve learned the importance and necessity of creating a sleepytime routine for my little dude. A predictable set of events that cues his little brain to begin winding down and relaxing, promoting peaceful rest. My own bedtime routine, however, is non-existent!

To be honest, I am a mess come the day’s end. When I will head to bed always seems to be a mystery. It’s dependant on when I’ve finished working for the night (as this is really the only time I can get productive work done), how late we’re eating, if I’m getting an evening workout in, or what the hubs and I have planned for the night (aka if we’re marathoning Bobby Flay or Worst Cooks). 

Creating structure in my evening I realize, is just as important to my health as how I begin my day. While I can fall asleep at the drop of a pin these days, creating space to wind down and relax is still vital to promoting restful sleep. And so, that is precisely what I aim to do over the next few weeks or so. No dramatic changes that will inevitably be impossible to hold myself to. Just adding a few things to my nightly routine to create more of a defined ritual.

  • Drinking a warm cup of digestion-promoting tea after dinner.
  • Putting my phone down for the night between 9:30pm and 10pm. In all honesty, I am not calling, texting, or emailing anyone that late, and won’t be responding to calls, texts, or emails that late unless it’s an emergency.
  • Reading only a physical book if any at all before bed. Sometimes I like to wind down with a little reading, but since I read on my phone 97% of the time, this habit will need to change.
  • Trying my absolute best to unplug and log off from any and all work tasks within one hour of going to bed. This will be the toughest I fear.
  • Finish eating dinner 2-3 hours before bedtime. Another tough one, as this is the one meal the hubs and I get to enjoy with each other. He gets home right before little man’s bedtime, so we wait until baby’s down for the night so that we can actually eat together. Add in the fact that we eat homecooked food more often than not. A great habit, but it can delay dinner even further.
  • And working out also falls within the 2-3 hour before bedtime window.

This is going to be a huge challenge for me! I can already foresee that. My aim is not for perfection, but for healthful changes!