Early on, in my career as an educator, I often felt we didn’t fully settle into the school year until September was over. Looking back now, that seems like a long transition period. I can’t help but wonder if there’s a happy medium.
I think sometimes we rush the ‘creating the routine’ period when we return to school. I, for one, know I’m guilty of this. I thrive on having things structured and consistent. The happy medium comes with patience. Patience for ourselves and our children to take the time we need to create good habits.
Because of this, I AM going to use the whole month of September for routines….for discussing routines that is. It’s as important for us to create routines for ourselves as the adults in our children’s lives. So we are going to be looking at establishing habits for ourselves before we create them for our children. You know that ‘put on your oxygen mask first’ routine!!
In my Focus on You Friday post last week I mentioned creating an adult bedtime routine. We do a really good job of establishing good sleep habits for our children but what about ourselves. Often we fall into bed, later than we should, exhausted and committed doing better the next time. All to do it all over again the next night.
I woke up at the nice and early hour of 3:30 a.m. this morning. I am what’s considered a middle of the night insomniac. I rarely have a hard time falling asleep when I go to bed. However, I know if I wake up in the middle of the night, I have a small window to fall back asleep or I am up for the rest of the night.
I worked with clients suffering with depression for a number of years. We always created a toolbox of strategies they could use to battle insomnia. Of course I can never access a single thing I shared with them when I am the one awake in the middle of the night. It’s beyond frustrating.
I have found my greatest tool is creating a good bedtime routine. It doesn’t happen consistently but I notice a significant difference when I do. And I can promise you I will be using it tonight!
Creating your nighttime ritual
A quick search of adult sleep routines provides a whole list of suggestions. I’m highlighting a few of the most common and those I find most helpful.
Power down at least an hour before bed and declare it a digital-free zone. The night shift on my phone is a good reminder it’s time to start to power down. Not only does the blue light from the screen disrupt your body clock, but one last look at Facebook can easily turn into an hour of mindless scrolling.
Disconnect from work
Ever made that mistake of checking email one last time before bed? Give yourself a buffer period between the time you read your last email and the time you go to bed. The idea is to get your head out of work before you lie down to go to sleep. It will help you go to bed feeling less stressed, and allow you to sleep better, with a clearer mind.
Take a few moments to just breath and relax. Meditation is a great way to relax your body and quiet your mind. Meditation apps can be especially helpful. Calm and Insight Timer are my go to resources before bed.
Reading is a great way to relax before bed. I find I have to read books with short chapters or I will read ‘just one more’ and end up reading later than I’d planned. Yes I was the kid that had to be told numerous times to turn out the light.
Writing in a journal is a great way to reflect on your day. Use it as an opportunity to think about what went right with your day. Keeping a gratitude list can also be a wonderful way to reflect on your day.
What works for you
You have to find what works for you. Spend some time trying new habits and take the time to reflect on how you feel before hitting the ground running in the morning.
Allow me to be a resource for you. Be sure to share your go to tools. I am always looking for new ideas to add to my sleep routine.. especially when I find I am starting my day in the middle of the night! And as always, remember You are enough and are not alone.
Sleep well friends