We mamas know a good morning routine can help you get your day started. I for sure can tell the difference between the days I’m up early and able to do my routine and the days my kids are up before me and I’m still groggy.
However, I’ve discovered that night routines are just important, if not more so! Maybe you already have a good bedtime routine, but either way, I want to share some helpful night routine ideas to inspire you.
By establishing a good bedtime routine, I’ve found that I not only set myself up for a smooth and productive morning routine, but it helps my ENTIRE day run a whole lot smoother.
It’s true that the work of a mother is never finished, and because of this, it can be easy to allow our days to run into late nights and for us to never have a distinctive stopping point. However, this is not good for our physical or mental health, and if this describes you, then you’ll want to create a your own bedtime routine you can implement tonight!
But are night routines really necessary?
Like, why can’t we all just go to bed whenever we decide we’re tired enough? Why the need for a whole routine?
We humans are creatures of habit, and we’ve been designed by God to be able to build habits and function optimally this way. Yet, when you’re a stay at home (or homeschooling, or work at home) mom, it can be difficult to get on top of things enough to be able to put a healthy boundary with all the things after a long day.
Night routines can help us establish that healthy boundary with all the things that constantly demand our attention and need to be done. Mamas, we simply cannot work from the moment we wake up til we’re too tired to function. We do not “clock out” from motherhood, but a good night routine is a way for us to tell ourselves that it’s time to stop right here for today.
Then there’s the issue of circadian rhythms. These are behavioral, mental, and physical changes that take place in your body in a 24 hour cycle, and these changes mainly respond to light and dark. For instance, when it gets near bedtime, our brains release melatonin to help us fall asleep.
A good bedtime routine can keep you from disrupting your circadian rhythm, prevent chronic health issues and sleeplessness, and get good, healthy sleep.
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My personal stay at home mom night routine
Let me first start by saying that I am a recovering night owl. In the good old days before night routines, I’d stay up well past midnight, and I would feel like my night was just getting started at 9 pm.
Well I’ve finally come out of denial and accepted that I just can’t function well and at full mental and emotional capacity without getting enough sleep. It’s harder to be present, harder to be patient, and I’m just always thinking about when I can sneak back to my bedroom for a quick nap.
Going into this homeschool year, I’m going to work on being in bed by 9:50. This is pretty early for me compared to when I usually sleep, but it’s absolutely essential for having a solid morning routine. After all, wasn’t it Benjamin Franklin who said, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a person healthy, wealthy, and wise”?
Early to bed, early to rise, makes one healthy, wealthy, and wise.
~ Benjamin Franklin
I recognize that this will be an adjustment, but I’m motivated enough right now to make the change. I want to be asleep by 10 so I can not only get a good night’s sleep, but I can be up by 5 or 5:30 and be able to enjoy my morning routine.
When I was dealing with anxiety back in 2019, going to bed early and getting plenty of sleep were both key to my healing process. Eventually, along with spending much time in prayer and using Dr. Caroline Leaf’s formula for changing my thought patterns, I was able to fully recover from a heavy bout with anxiety.
On the flip side, when I don’t get enough hours of sleep (which for me is no less than 7), I can tend to be irritable and overly self-focused, and I’ll inevitably end up having to sneak in a quick nap to avoid going to bed with regrets from having been a mean mom.
Ok, on to the night routine ideas!
Here’s what I currently do :
- I do a hard stop from work. This is pretty new for me, and I’m working on doing it on a regular basis. This has been the best thing I’ve added to my night routine.
I know myself and my tendency to dig my head in and keep working til the work is done. But when you stay at home, it’s never done-there’s always another task to be completed. I’ve worked on setting my night routine aside as a way of making myself stop working and develop that healthy boundary with all the things.
- Make sure air is set at the right temperature, lights are off, and doors are locked.
- Evening hygiene. I’ll admit, I’ve never been one to take great care of my face. However, as I get older, I’ve been more aware of the importance of this, and have been consistent about having a good evening skin care routine.
I’m currently loving the April Skin skincare line. I have two of their serums and their mask, and they’ve done wonders to help clear up my skin. I also use Aveeno’s skin brightening cleanser/moisturizer and the Balancing Capsule toner from Hero. My skin has gone from being pretty dull to bright and glowing.
After my facial routine, I brush, floss and put in my teeth trays. Then, I:
- Spend time with my husband
- Turn rain sounds or soaking worship on and turn out lights
- Set my alarm
- The last thing I do is spend a few minutes meditating on some Scripture, and I put my phone down when I feel like I’m dozing off
Things I’d like to add
While I have adjusted my evening routine over time to be more strategic and include things that both help me wind down and need to be done, there are a few important things I’m still wanting to incorporate.
- Turning off all electronic devices. Apparently the blue light from laptops/computers affects your brain by confusing your biological clock, and can affect your sleep quality. Turning off all necessary lights is a great way to help your brain calm down.
- Put a hard stop on social media. I don’t scroll every night, and I definitely wouldn’t say I’m an addict, but I’d like for my brain to not look at a screen for the last hour or so of my day.
- Adding some herbal tea. I know chamomile tea is a general favorite, but I’ve never really liked it. I’m gonna try it again though, because I know that a warm cup of tea before bed can help wind you down for the night!
- Adding oil pulling to my dental routine. I’ve done oil pulling on and off here and there, but I’m wanting to be more consistent with it. Don’t know what oil pulling is? Check out this oil-pulling post by Dr. Josh Axe.
Things I stopped doing
Even as my night routine is evolving, it might be helpful to note that there are things I used to do as part of my night routine that I stopped doing.
- Watching a show/movie. I mean sure, there are times where my husband and I enjoy watching movies in the evening together. However, at a certain point, I felt that this had become an every evening thing and I felt like I was getting kinda addicted to it, so I started setting boundaries with this.
- Eating a pre-bedtime snack. Now, I love me some after-my-kids-are-asleep snacks. However, eating late night goodies every night was putting me on the fast track to gaining and keeping on unnecessary weight.
I’ve recently started intermittent fasting again, so I’ve worked into a habit of stopping eating around 6 or 6:30 and not eating again until 9 or 10 am or so. So far, this has started to help me trim a little bit here and there.
Night routine ideas
To create a night routine or optimize your current one, here are some night routine ideas to inspire you:
To get started:
Decide on a decent bedtime that works for you. If you’re not sure, ask yourself these two questions:
- What time do I need to be up in the morning?
- What time do I want to be up in the morning?
Personally, I need to be up at least by 7 if I want to have even five minutes to myself. My three year old is always the first one up and he hits the ground running.
However, my goal is to be up consistently by 5 am so I can spend time in prayer and Bible reading, get a good workout in, and have sufficient time to get myself ready for the day.
Considering the fact that I need at least seven hours of sleep, this would put me falling asleep at least by 10 pm.
After you decide on a bedtime that works for you, figure out how long you want your night routine to be.
With everything I have in my routine, it takes between 15-60 minutes, depending on how long I choose to do certain things, or if I even choose to leave some things out. I’ve found it helpful to set an alarm on my phone to let me know it’s almost time to start my evening routine.
Night routine hygiene ideas:
- Dental-brushing, flossing, mouthwash, oil pulling, retainers (if you have them)
- Face-makeup removal, wash, toners and serums, moisturizer, masks
- Hair-masks, braids, curls, etc (if you desire)
- Warm bath
Night routine ideas for mental/emotional health:
- Put a hard stop on your work. Pack away your laptop, turn off your desktop, put away all books and paperwork and to-do lists.
- Put all unfinished work on a list for the next day. There’s no use going to bed thinking about the things that weren’t able to get done-put ‘em on your list to complete the next day. If they really bother you, consider getting up early the next morning while you’re alert and everyone’s still asleep to knock these things off your list and put your mind at rest.
- Meditating on Scripture. I love for Scripture to be the last thing on my mind as I drift off to sleep at the end of the day. I also used to do Abide’s guided meditations to help put my mind in a good place right before dozing off.
- Practice gratitude. Consider picking up a gratitude journal just for your bedtime routine to help you put your mind in the right place right before you doze off!
Night routine ideas to help prep for the next day
- To do list-write out your to-do list for the next day so you can get all the things that need to get done (including things you might forget about tomorrow!) off your mind.
- Outfit prep. Whether gym clothes or a stay at home mom outfit is the first thing you put on, it helps to have these things ready to go when you wake up.
- Food prep. Need to prep lunches for an outing or for the hubby for the following day? Want to throw a crockpot meal in? Your night routine is a good time to get tomorrow’s food taken care of.
- Schedule run through. Sometimes it helps to rehearse what you have planned for the next day, and even write some notes on your to-do list while you remember them.
Night routine ideas to wind down
- Spend time with spouse. Busy schedules can get the best of quality time with your spouse. This is a great time to be able to spend quality time with your spouse daily!
- Go to the bathroom. Avoid being woken up from restful sleep in the middle of the night by a full bladder!
- Eat a light snack. Apparently going to bed with a little something in your stomach as part of your nightly routine can help you sleep.
- Turn off all electronics. The blue light from our phones and computers can mess with our circadian rhythm and make for sleep problems.
- Turn on some relaxing sounds. We like to put on rain sounds in our room and our youngest children’s room. I have a Rain app on my phone that I put on, then I put my phone face down so it remains dark in our room.
Are there times I wish I could just do nothing before bed? Absolutely. I wish I could just chill and fall asleep and not have it be a big deal. And there are times I do this…and always wake up wishing that I hadn’t.
Your night routine is your deserved wind down after a long day of caring for your children and your home. Bless your life with a routine that sets you up for the quality sleep you deserve!
What do you do in your night routine? Comment below-I would love to hear it!