Thank you Colgate® for sponsoring this post.
Long ago (well, actually only a few years ago; but it kind of feels like forever), my nighttime routine consisted of leisurely getting ready for bed after a nice, quiet reading session or movie with my husband. I’d stretch a little, brush my teeth, wash my face, and slip under the covers for a nice, peaceful slumber. Fast forward to more recent times, which involve two kids three and under (neither of whom are great sleepers), and that ready-for-bed routine became a frenzy of frantically trying to squeeze in all of the things I didn’t get done for the day, and, more often than not, throwing on the same oversized t-shirt I wore to bed the previous night, doing an inadequate job of washing up, jumping into bed at an unreasonably late hour, and hoping for an hour of two of sleep before one of the babes woke up. This rushed, chaotic routine, despite the high intensity of it, got pretty stale after a while. Instead of looking forward to getting ready for bed, I dreaded it. So I decided to make some changes, and try some new ways to establish a routine that was healthier, more enjoyable, and less predictable. Nighttime has been infinitely better since then, so today I thought I’d share with you guys five ways I’ve shaken up my ready-for-bed routine in hopes of maybe inspiring those of you who could use a change yourselves.
1. One hour before bedtime, I stop “getting things done.” It’s not realistic for me to set the same bedtime for every night, but I’ve found that I get to bed earlier if I stop myself from scrambling to get more and more done once I start getting tired. If I look at the clock and it’s 11 PM, and I’m cleaning the house or answering work emails or paying bills, I just stop wherever I am and start focusing on bedtime. And in an effort to keep things “shaken up” and not boring, I do different things with this hour (see below!). Whereas before I used to just keep going until I could no longer keep my eyes open, I now allow myself an hour to calm down and prepare for bed. I’m not only in bed earlier every night, I fall asleep faster too.
2. I write in a journal – without rules. A few years ago when I was going through a particularly rough time, every night before bed I would write down something good that happened that day in a journal, in an effort to stay positive. And while this was incredibly helpful on many levels, it also felt a little forced to have to do it night after night. So now I do something similar, but I allow myself to change things up so it doesn’t feel like a chore. On some nights I’ll write about something good that happened or something for which I’m grateful, but other times I’ll write down something funny one of my kids did or said that day, or something I’m looking forward to, or even something that is frustrating me or making me angry. Some nights I’ll even just doodle. It’s a great release to journal for a minute before bed without any rules.
3. I choose a different way to relax each night. Doing relaxation yoga every night before bed is a great way to wind down, but the whole point of shaking up my nighttime routine is to keep things fresh by not doing the same thing night after night. So one night I might do 20 minutes of yoga. The next night I might watch a movie. The next night I might read blogs or browse Instagram. The following night I might read a book. The next night I might meditate. I find that by doing whatever I feel like doing at the time (as long as it’s relaxing) is the perfect way to really unwind before bed without feeling like I’m being forced into a stagnant routine.
4. I use a fun mouthwash (that literally shakes things up) right before going to sleep. One of my recent favorite additions to my newly shaken up nighttime routine is Colgate Total® Advanced Health Mouthwash. First, I shake to activate the mouthwash (a dual system that freshens breath and kills germs, woohoo!), then I use the mouthwash, and then I take a look in the sink to see the bacteria that’s removed. Pretty cool, right? It removes 24 times more bacteria (vs. ordinary, non-antibacterial mouthwashes), reduces plaque, helps prevent gingivitis, and freshens breath. I look forward to using this before bed each night, because in addition to really working, it breaks up my old boring brush-rinse-spit nightly mouth care routine by allowing me to “shake, clean, and see.”
5. I do a different beauty or skincare activity each night. Yes, I wash my face with the same cleanser and apply the same creams, etc. every night – but if that’s all I’m doing, it can feel a little robotic. So I try to do one different self-care thing, just for me, each night. One night I might paint my nails. The next night I might do a face mask. The next night I might exfoliate. Thanks to giving myself that hour before bed (see #1), I’m able to do this. And as simple as it is, it makes a big difference in my mental state to allow myself some self care before bed.
I can genuinely say that I really look forward to my ready-for-bedtime routine these days, now that I incorporate different ways to shake it up and keep it fresh. If you have any other tips for doing this, I’d love to hear them!
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