Even if you know what time you ought to be slipping into bed for the night, at the end of a busy day, it can be difficult actually make it to bed on time. But consistency is important for healthy sleep. We’ve got some simple strategies to help you meet your bedtime most every night.
To-do’s delay bedtime
One of the most common difficulties people have when trying to stick to a regular bedtime involves wrapping up the day’s tasks before bed. This is an issue of scheduling. Of course, when you get home from work, the first thing you want to do is relax, not do more work. But some things simply must get done before bed! Here’s how to schedule your evening so you can hit the sheets at your appointed time.
Write it all down
File this one under obvious, but helpful.
- When you get home, write down all the things you want to accomplish that evening, from eating dinner to walking the dog, to putting the kids to bed.
- Next to each item guess about how much time it will take to accomplish this task.
- Add 10 minutes for every 3 items on the list.
- Rank the activities in order of importance.
- Add up the total number of minutes. Determine how much time you actually have to complete these tasks while leaving an hour before your bedtime for relaxation.
- Next, cross off all but 4 items. If you see that you can complete these tasks and still have more than an hour left before your bedtime, you can add something from the list back on.
- For anything that can wait, start a weekend list.
What’s taking up your time?
It can be a real eye opener to look at the typical activities you perform at night, and then see how much time they should and do take. (The S+ Mind Clear feature is designed to help you take daily tasks off your mind at bedtime; it is a perfect option for this exercise.)
- Make a list of all of your activities.
- Next to the list write out about how much time it usually takes you to perform each task.
- What are the top two things that seem to take up most of your time?
- Try to come up with alternative ways to perform these top 2 activities. Enlist someone’s help, or break up these activities throughout the day so you don’t have to tackle them entirely at night. Consider whether these are activities that would be better handled at a different time of day.
- If you find that you lose track of time at night, set an alarm to remind yourself to stop taking care of business and start winding down.
List all the reasons why you are not getting to bed on time and come up with at least two possible solutions to each problem. Here’s an example:
Continuous monitoring of my child, to make sure he or she is in bed, or asleep.
- Enlist partner to help certain days of the week.
- Place a child monitor in the child’s room.
- Start a reward system for my child: if he or she stays in bed for 5 out of 7 nights the child gets a prize he or she chooses.
These practical (and not too time-consuming!) exercises can really make the difference in keeping to your new bedtime, and finding that better night of sleep.