A little food for thought today, concerning that old buddy Sleep. For those of us with children to care for (or just struggle to drift off), sleep is often seen as the Holy Grail, the unattainable prize and yet…think about it for a little longer and there could be something fundamental missing. No, not a set of amazing linens/ blackout curtains/ total silence; but that little word that is so often associated with children and sleep: routine.
Seriously, think about it, each day we run the gauntlet with the kids of the witching hour: tea – bath – teeth – bed – stories – cuddles – lights out – sleep. OK so it doesn’t *always* go that smoothly (occasional carb induced chaos springs to mind), but we all know what is coming next because it is a routine we are accustomed to. What we are trying to achieve is a gentle wind down, relaxation and a peaceful sleep. So, why don’t we nurture ourselves as adults the way we would our children? Sleep eases so many ills, it allows the immune and nervous systems a chance to repair and reboot, it helps our body regenerate, it enhances your mood leaving you energised in the morning (well, generally it does, on tough days there’s always caffeine!).
It has long been said that we should kill our screen and tech time at least 30 minutes before bed and that in an ideal world, mobile phones shouldn’t be in the bedroom either – even on silent Mrs W! Usually for Mrs N the pre bedtime routine involves making sure her dishwasher is switched on, the kitchen is tidy (nothing worse than coming down to find last night’s pans still in the sink) checking homework hasn’t been left lying about, that school bags and shoes are where they should be. On a really organised night, there may be packed lunches sitting waiting ready in the fridge! Now, a more purposeful evening, ‘The Ideal’, would involve a lovely bath, spiced hot milk or camomile tea and some reading pre sleep. Now obviously the dishwasher still has to be dealt with and the other jobs too, but it’s more about a bit of planning (and a bit less TV if we’re all honest), so that we can lull ourselves into a relaxed state of mind ready for a good sleep.
The beauty of creating a relaxing routine for yourself is that the routine itself can become therapeutic, and, because you have spent a bit of time doing something that is solely for you, if your sleep is disturbed you will still feel fairly refreshed in the morning as you will have slept deeper due to the relaxation process pre dropping off: deep sleep is quality sleep – even if it has been shorter than you would have liked. The joy of having a good bedtime routine is waking up feeling recharged and energised, when we are happy we respond rather than react – a win win in our book.
Do you have a bedtime routine? What works best for you, we’d love to know so please share!