Learn What You Can Do TONIGHT To Set Yourself Up to Win and Sleep!
Fact: Kids need bedtime rituals.
Fact: Adults believe they do not.
Fact: Adults are WRONG!
If you have a kid, or have ever been a kid, then you know that you can’t just interrupt your kid from playing at 7:30pm, put him/her in bed, turn off the light, walk off saying, “It’s bedtime… Goodnight!”
That would never work.
Why? Because there are sequences that must happen in our brain in order for us to settle down and go to sleep.
Just a few hundred years ago, we used the sun as our only cue as to when to be asleep and when to be awake. And that was all we needed because night equaled inactivity (because we couldn’t do things in the dark) which signaled a chemical cascade in our brain, slowing down the neocortex, and getting our bodies ready for sleep.
But in today’s world, electricity = lights = activity = stimulation.
So in order to be effective in calming your kids (or yourself) down to head in the direction of sleep, some great first steps are:
👉 Dim the lights (or block the blue light spectrum)
👉 Decrease activity
A great next step…
A time-tested relaxation technique for settling into a relaxed state that’s ready for bed is taking a bath.
Baths are great prepping tools because they give us the space to settle down, but also because they decrease our body temperature. Even warm baths are usually not as warm as our core temp, and this reduction of our core temperature tells our bodies to get ready for sleep.
Some companies like Johnson and Johnson have taken the bath ritual a step further and created bath soaps that contain a lavender smell. (Lavender has been shown to decrease anxiety and cognitive stimulation, helping kids and adults settle down.)
For kids, baths are typically followed by baby powder, pajamas, storytime, cuddles, and good night kisses. Front to back, the process can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half to get a kid ready for bed.
And consistency is key!
Rolling through the ritual one time won’t produce results. Sticking to a schedule trains the brain to settle down and preps the body for sleep.
As adults, we may not need the powders and the PJ’s, but we DO need to create for ourselves a ritual, and stick to it .
What are some good adult-focused bedtime rituals?
Baths are great. Reading is great. Blue-light blocking glasses are wonderful.
I’d recommend NOT watching murder shows or play loud music.
Do calming, relaxing things, and you’ll find that you go to sleep a lot faster, a lot easier, and you’ll wake up with a better quality of sleep.
For a deeper dive, some of my favorite bedtime ritual adjuncts are listed below:
Go the F**k to Sleep 😴 written by Adam Mansbach and narrated by Samuel L. Jackson. This is pure bedtime ritual audio gold. If you have kids, you’ll LOVE this book.
Gorilla Grip Bath Pillow 😴 Give your shoulders and neck some much-needed orthopedic support while you’re kicking back and winding down