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?
I know some of you are in the trenches of raising babies and toddlers (I am just now coming out of that season!), but if at all possible, I encourage you to get as much sleep as you can.
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.
To begin your own nighttime routine, I highly recommend Crystal Paine’s eCourse, Make Over Your Evenings. Crystal also has a great eCourse on making over your mornings!
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.
My Plan for Adrenal Fatigue Recovery
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
Duke University Scientists Find Women Need More Sleep Than Men @ news.com.au
Reading on a Screen Before Bed Might Be Killing You @ Huffington Post
4 Natural Sleep Remedies @ Wellness Mama
Kelly @ The Nourishing Home
It looks like the Lord is teaching us both the same lesson right now, sweet friend! I am SO with you on making sleep and rest a priority! Thank you so much for the shout-out on my post about “hitting the pause button.” I’m praying for us both, and all those other weary mamas out there that we all learn to hit that pause button and make rest a priority, especially resting in HIM! Love to you! xoxo
I’m so glad we are on the same path, Kelly! I hope you are feeling better! Much love, friend!
Oh I struggle with this! I started getting up early to have time in the morning before my girls woke up. The morning time has been wonderful, but I have so much trouble getting myself to bed early. I have come across sooo many articles recently regarding the importance of sleep for kiddos. I heed the advice for my daughters, but not for myself! Getting my 3 year old to bed earlier made a huge difference to a few behavior issues we were having. You would think I would make changes for myself after seeing how she has better days when she is not sleep deprived!
I enjoyed reading your nighttime routine schedule. My question: How do you “finish up” your computer time? I cannot peel myself away. I am only a few months into blogging and want to stay up working on it, but then I am up way too late.
I better stop…I don’t want to write you a book for a comment. 😉 Your post just resonated with me!
I totally agree with you but for me it’s impossible. My kids refuse to sleep. My two year old girls go to bed at 9pm and I am lucky if they are asleep by 9:30. My son who is four stays up until 10pm at the earliest. Since I can’t really get much cleaning done with them awake never mind get myself ready for work the following day I am lucky to be in bed by 11:30pm and I have to get up for work at 6am. My poor husband works late and doesn’t get to bed until 2am at the earliest and has to be up at 8am to get my son to school. Plus we both get woken in the night at least once by someone. I have realized that the word parent must be Latin for “sleep deprived” or something LOL
I’m so sorry! I have been there and know I will be there again at any time because they go through seasons…we’ve had our 4-year-old in the bed with us for several nights in a row. I hope you find some relief soon!!
I’m right there with you! In fact I even ordered The Fringe Hours today 🙂
I’m loving it so far!!
Going to sleep early is something I’ve struggled with all my life! Now as a mom, it is really hitting me hard too! I naturally feel more awake at night, so I lay in bed awake for hours before I finally drift off to sleep, well after mid night. How do you fit hubby-time in your evening routine? Another challenge I’m having is connecting with my spouse in our chaotic life right now. I try to make sharing a few moments with him each evening a priority, but it never seems to be enough. Fortunately, our baby and toddler are decent sleepers. I just can’t force myself to drift off to sleep as early as I would like. I feel like I get my best sleep in the morning. Lol.
We are trying to go to bed around the same time to have time together–although I am typically going to bed a bit earlier on the weekends. He gets up early to work out during the week, so we naturally go to bed closer to the same time then.
Heather @ My Overflowing Cup
You are not alone! Thanks so much for sharing this very encouraging reminder. As I read, I thought about the directions on an airplane in the event of a crash. We are instructed to apply our own oxygen masks first because if we don’t take care of ourselves, we can take care of others.
I do pretty well with getting adequate sleep although I know I need to get to bed earlier. Where I get too lax is in the exercise department. I will consider working more important, but just like sleep, exercise is important to me feeling my best.
My routine is to drink tea and read before bed, too. Baths are also wonderful.
Thanks for the reminder, Erin!
I love your airplane analogy! That is so, so true! I go back and forth on exercise too. Once I feel like I have sleep down pat, I want to reintroduce that because I’ve fallen off the exercise wagon this winter!
Great routine. I think I might give it a try myself! Have you tried sleepytime tea? I’ve heard it’s great.
I hope you find it helpful! I have tried a nighttime tea from Trader Joe’s, and I love it! I’m about to go make it now!
It’s easy to underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep. Creating a great bedtime routine is a great strategy. Other things, such as choosing the right bedding and maintaining a good sleeping temperature, are also important. My approach is to keep a list of how I can optimize my sleeping environment and make any changes as needed.
I am in the season of a preschooler and infant and two part time jobs and am experiencing bus realization firsthand. I used to be able to gogogo but now…it’s bad when your preschooler knows you need coffee and how to help you make it..I am nursing still and have just now started not getting up in the middle of the night to pump since she sleeps all night.
I am trying to find the balance between nursing/pumping, having time for my kids and husband, getting all the housework done, and also working (I work shift work). Do you have any ideas? Suggestions?