Establishing a nighttime routine has helped me finally begin to get adequate rest. Going to bed earlier has made me feel like a different person!
A few months back, my mentor asked me what I thought it would take to get me to a place where I felt like I wasn’t constantly spinning my wheels.
“Going to bed earlier,” I told her. “I honestly think if I could just discipline myself enough to get to bed at a decent hour that it would improve every other area of my life–or at least maximize my energy to confront my work load head-on.
But still…I continued going to bed late and regretting it each morning, telling the girls that mommy needed to make her coffee, so she could be cognizant enough to make them breakfast.
Then, in January, I crashed. I had finally gotten to the point where it actually scared me to think where continuing the cycle of sleep deprivation would lead me.
So, I quit cold turkey.
I began a nighttime routine (which did not involve spending hours on the computer after my kids went to sleep), and I started getting in the bed at 10 p.m. and sleeping in until I naturally wake up.
(I’ve been sleeping anywhere from 8 to 10 hours per night. I hope to eventually back it up to just 8 hours per night.)
The results? Incredible.
I don’t mean this post to sound like I’m writing a sales pitch on sleep, but, friends, it’s true: Getting adequate rest makes me feel like a completely different person.
Before, I spent many, many days feeling fatigued, foggy brained, and just plain lethargic. I was definitely not functioning at my optimal level. I felt completely drained.
When I go to bed around 10 p.m., I am shocked to find I have energy the next day! I almost always feel like a normal person! I honestly think I had forgotten what it feels like not to feel tired!
Rest is Vital to Health
Although I’ve known for a very long time that rest is important to our health, it’s something I ignored. But really, it’s not just important: it’s essential.
What’s interesting is that the Bible even addresses rest and repentance in the same verse in Isaiah 30:15:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.”
In his foreword to Bonnie Craig’s book Finding Spiritual Whitespace, Jon Acuff addresses our culture’s neglect of rest:
“Somewhere along the way, we stopped valuing the idea of rest. We lost sight of the fact that it’s a critical part of creativity. It’s a critical part of our health and it’s a critical part of our faith….We preach a thousand sermons on repentance for every one we preach about rest. And then our lives burn out, our pastors burn out, our families burn out–and we wonder why.”
My Nighttime Routine
1. After we get the girls into bed (between 8 and 8:30 p.m.), I throw a load of laundry in the washing machine. My husband and I finish cleaning the kitchen, and I usually sit down for a few minutes on the computer, to quickly skim through emails. (I would love to not turn the computer on at all, but because I am a work-at-home mom whose work hours are never enough, this few minutes is usually a must.)
2. I settle down with a cup of hot tea–usually chamomile or something else calming. I drink this tea while finishing up my computer time.
3. I take my supplements before heading up to bed. I follow a winter supplements regimen, and right now it’s usually vitamin C, vitamin D3, elderberry, magnesium, a multivitamin, 42 Fruits and Veggies, and a probiotic. (I get most of my supplements from Vitacost.)
4. I head upstairs, stopping to switch the clothes from the washer to the dryer. (I fold and put them away the next day.)
5. I put on my pajamas, and I wash my face, floss and brush my teeth, and rub on some calming essential oil blends.
6. I lie down in bed and read a few chapters of whatever book I’m currently reading. Right now it’s The Fringe Hours!
(You can follow up with what I’m reading over on Goodreads!)
Sometimes, if we get the girls into bed extra early or if I don’t need to get back on the computer for anything, I will take a little detox bath. This is so relaxing!
I’m finding that this time of self-care via this nighttime routine is exactly what I need to put me in the mood for truly restful sleep. Although there have been a few nights when I have stayed up past 10 p.m., I always regret it in the morning.
Whereas, before, I would keep working late into the night, thinking this was the best use of my time, I am finding that I feel so much better with adequate nighttime rest that I am actually looking forward to my nighttime routine and guarding my rest time!
What about You?
Is it just me? Am I the only humbled homemaker dealing with sleep deprivation?
Sometimes, in the name of being “good moms,” we will feel like we have to do it all–sign up for that bake sale, keep the church nursery, volunteer to be the room mother. The list can go on and on.
But if we’re not setting aside time for adequate rest, we will not have the energy to be the moms our children truly need us to be. I know because I’ve been there. I am there.
I’ve decided that I don’t want to keep waking up grouchy because I stayed up past midnight. My girls don’t deserve that. My husband doesn’t deserve that. And I don’t deserve to do that to my body.
Don’t burn yourself out–like I did.
Crystal has been an early riser since age 11, and she is an expert on maximizing morning time before her three children wake up. She spends time with the Lord, exercises, and runs a full-time business. This gives her room to breathe the rest of the day.
Each course comes with a printable workbook and video sessions for each day. The sessions are short enough to not be overwhelming, but they most definitely pack a punch!
I have been pouring over some really great encouraging books this past month that the Lord has used to speak “rest” into my life. Along with these, I’ve been encouraged by other women who have walked this past of burnout before and have found or are now finding rest as well.
I hope you will find these books and posts encouraging in your journey to rest.
Finding rest might be as simple as starting that nighttime routine.
What Is Adrenal Fatigue? @ Red and Honey
Hitting the Pause Button @ The Nourishing Home
How to Overcome Burnout and Get Back on a Routine @ Money Saving Mom
Avoiding Burnout in the Age of Busyness @ Modern Mrs. Darcy
Reading on a Screen Before Bed Might Be Killing You @ Huffington Post
4 Natural Sleep Remedies @ Wellness Mama