Do you have a typical bedtime routine that you follow each night? Or do you feel like you spend a lot of your focus on your little one’s sleep and your own sleep doesn’t get as much focus or attention? If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone, and I want to remind you that your sleep is important too!
I know it’s easy to fall into the routine of watching Netflix way too late after your kiddos go to bed or maybe you spend the evening trying to make sure everything is done before you eventually climb into bed. You might even end up skipping your own bedtime routine! Did you know that having some time to unwind after your little ones go to bed, and following your own bedtime routine can improve your sleep?
If you’re ready to prioritize your own sleep, I’ve put together some tips to help you prepare for a good night’s sleep!
Give yourself some time to relax, unwind, and shut off your brain in the evenings
This sounds amazing doesn’t it? You deserve a physical and mental break! As a parent you probably have a million different things on your mind at all times (and a million different things on your to-do list!). It’s important for you have some time to rest and relax – take a break from all of your to-do’s! Arranging some time in the evening for you to relax and take the pressure off yourself can help slow your body and your mind, which will help prepare you for sleep!
Dim the lights
Lowering the lights in the evening is beneficial for you in a couple of ways. It offers a calming environment for you to be in while you unwind before bed, and it also helps to promote melatonin production. Melatonin is our sleep hormone that is produced in dark environments, which helps us with falling asleep and staying asleep at night. Just like we try to make sure our children’s melatonin production begins in the evening, it’s helpful for you to promote your melatonin production to prepare your body for sleep!
Limit exposure to blue light from screens for 30-60 minutes before bed
I know this one may feel tricky! It’s easy to get caught up in scrolling your phone right until you hit the pillow. Keep in mind that blue light inhibits the production of melatonin, and if melatonin production is lowered at night, it can make it harder for you to fall asleep. Giving yourself some space from blue light also gives your mind a chance to settle before going to bed. Have you ever scrolled your phone right until you went to sleep, and you ended up feeling more wired than tired? The melatonin inhibition is one part of this picture, but when you’re also exposing yourself to mentally stimulating information on a screen right before bed, your mind will have a hard time shutting off for the night. Do yourself a favour and give yourself a break from that screen time!
Take some time for you!
I am a big proponent of self-care – you’ve probably heard me talk about it many times! I always encourage parents to arrange for some time to take care of themselves. Focusing on self-care activities in the evening is a great way for you to enjoy some quiet time when the little ones are asleep – pull out that favourite book, enjoy a cup of herbal tea, connect with your partner, or spend some time journaling – choose something that you truly enjoy, and go for it!
Follow a consistent set of steps before you head to bed.
This is something that probably comes more naturally to you, but sometimes a reminder is helpful. Just as you would follow a similar set of steps with your little ones before bed during their bedtime routine, you can prepare yourself for sleep by following your own set of steps like brushing your teeth, washing your face, getting into your pj’s, reading your book, and turning out the lights. Following a consistent set of steps is a good way of signaling to your brain that sleep is on the way!
If your little ones are struggling with sleep and you know you may be up during the night with your child(ren), try to arrange to get a chunk of sleep at the beginning of the night before the night wakings begin. This will help to make sure you are getting some rest before you head into the night. If you are struggling with your little ones’ sleep, and you’re feeling ready to make some shifts with supporting them to better sleep, I would be happy to help!
Making your sleep a priority and arranging an evening that’s promoting of sleep is a great way to make sure you’re getting the quality sleep you need to feel your best! It also models healthy sleep habits for your children, which is always a bonus! Remember your sleep is important, and you are deserving of sleep!
Jillian is a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant, founder of Twinkling Stars Pediatric Sleep Consulting, and a twin mom of three! Jillian provides personalized sleep support options to families with children between the ages of 0-5 years old to improve baby, toddler, and child sleep challenges, so that the whole family can feel their best! Jillian offers a flexible, compassionate approach, supporting each family’s unique needs, while empowering parents, and helping to decrease stress levels associated with sleep struggles. Jillian lives in the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario, Canada with her husband, three children, and two dogs!