I have found, as I get older, that an evening routine is pretty necessary. The difficulty is finding a HEALTHY routine that gets me ready for great sleep and effective rest.
If the truth be known, the bedtime routine really starts for me first thing in the morning. If I get up earlier and take a walk for exercise I am more tired when it is time for bed and sleep better.
The first thing I try to do is have dinner a little earlier... later dinner seems to keep us all up a little longer. We have a homework time before and after dinner during the week and then a family prayer before everyone heads to bed. Even the teenagers are in bed by about 9:00 pm most nights. We have kept this bedtime ritual since they were born.
I have to usually have some decompression time after they are in bed. I need the house quiet and some time to let go of the day.
Dan likes television... I am grateful that we don't have cable, though. He watches things after the kids go to bed and I join him if it is something I like. If he is late getting home some nights I will find other things to do and often wind up in bed earlier on those nights.
I crochet sometimes in the evenings and that helps wash away the tension of the day.
I drink herbal tea in the evening...especially when it gets colder outside. Chamomile often does the trick. It is very relaxing! Absolutely no coffee... I stop the coffee around noon each day because it makes me wakeful if I drink it too late in the day.
Some things I am trying to start changing is putting my phone away on the charger earlier in the evening. I have also moved the charger to another room but still within range to hear it if a certain recruit were to call.
I am working on turning my computer off earlier and just winding down from the drama that is called Facebook or from e-mail that can start my brain going. I don't tweet or instagram or have any other social media outlets other than Facebook or e-mail but often that is far too much for me anyway. I find that just being online in any form makes my brain race and brings less focus. I also try to leave my computer outside of the bedroom and not use it much there. The best place for it is the dining room table when I am working on it. It is also, often, plugged into the kitchen outlet on a crate full of cookbooks next to the sink area so I can watch stuff while I work on big kitchen work days. Either way... it does not belong in my bedroom when I am trying to wind down and sleep.
If my brain is still wired after an episode of a favorite show I will take some time to read a little to focus the brain. I have also found that Scrabble on my Nook puts me out faster than anything. Hahahaha. I find that anything that focuses the brain seems to settle me and let me drift off quickly. Reading, electronic Scrabble, prayer... all of those things focus my brain. Not to say prayer puts me to sleep but there is definitely a calming effect when talking to God for me. I call it peace...
On a really hard night (because of the Lupus sometimes) I will take a Valerian Root dose and that does the trick.
The key is to find what settles you.
What do you do for an "end of the day routine" to get you ready to sleep?
Any tricks? Any suggestions?