Re-inventing the Family Bedtime Routine

Re-inventing the Family Bedtime Routine

Finally, what we had all been waiting for arrived - the kids went officially back to school
(…and breathe). With everything parents have had to deal with over the past year, bedtime routines
have understandably become a little more relaxed. However, now that the children and families are
easing back into a school routine, it’s time to re-master the bedtime routine for both children and
parents, to ensure we are all getting the most out of our shut-eye.
A ‘Bedtime Routine’ is essentially a set of activities you do every night, starting about an hour or so
before you go to bed. It is important to mention here that bedtime routines are not just for the kids;
adults also need to master a stable structure to make sure they are getting the best possible sleep!
Of course, timings and routines will differ for children and adults, but as creatures of habit, it is
important for the whole family to have a simple set of bedtime routines that they follow every night,
to let our brains know that it’s almost time to switch off. Bedtime routines are super important as they
encourage our mind and body to relax, they help reduce stress and anxiety that can sometimes keep us
awake at night and improve our overall mood, mental and physical health.

Here are a few steps for the family to follow to help wind-down before bed…

Stick to a strict sleep-wake schedule:
You probably already know how much sleep you need, but it's recommended that adults need about 7-
9 hours of sleep to function properly, whereas school kids need anything from 10 – 15 hours. When
you know what bedtime works with your and your child’s optimal amount of sleep then aim to start
your bedtime routine about 60 – 30 minutes before this time.

Switch off the screens:
According to The Sleep Foundation, an excessive amount of screen time during the day and before
bed can affect the body’s levels of Melatonin, often referred to as the sleep hormone. The blue light
emitted by screens - including phones, laptops and televisions can reduce the amount of Melatonin
that is produced and in turn, disrupt the quality and duration of your sleep, upsetting your cardiac
rhythm. Try to turn off or steer away from digital devices before bed, to allow your mind, eyes and
body to completely relax and de-stress.

Everyone has their favourite ways to relax and again, these will differ slightly for adults and children.
Taking a warm bath before bed is said to help our muscles and mind relax and feel sleepy - warm
drinks like a chamomile tea or warm milk also have the same sort of effect (but make sure you spend
a penny before you sleep). Reading a light-hearted book can help distract our minds from any worries
we may have. Yoga and meditation have also been known to improve our sleep, helping regulate our
breathing patterns and stretching away any built-up tension.

Create a sleep sanctuary:
Sometimes it can be tricky for our brains to differentiate the multiple uses that our bedrooms have,
from a place to play, get ready and tackle homework, it’s important to create a relaxing place to
unwind in the evenings. Dimming the lights, burning a wax melt and setting the mood lamp to a warm
hue-colour helps comfort our senses and send us into a spa-like mood.
Whatever age, Bedtime Routines should be a factor in our family’s everyday lives to create structure,
calmness and get the most out of our slumber, so that we’re ready to tackle the school run tomorrow.