2 In Balance/ Motherhood

The Importance of Nighttime Routines

I’m a huge fan of intention setting and mindfulness. As a yoga instructor, I’m constantly telling my clients to set intentions for their practice and to practice mindfulness within their lives on and off of the mat. But when it comes to mindful technology and intentional nighttime routines, I never thought of the two going together – that is until I met Russell and his team at Atbay. Psst, they’re launching a Kickstarter today!

The guys at Atbay are gurus when it comes to balancing technology use and life. They believe that the home is a sacred space and that our time, as humans, is precious (especially as moms, am I right?). They also are realists, believing that smartphones and technology are going nowhere – meaning, we have to figure out ways to apply mindfulness and intentional use when it comes to smartphones and other devices – especially at night.

So I was curious – how do we create mindful nighttime routines and make this easier on all of us in an ever-growing technology-consumed day in time? How do we slow down at night when our smartphones keep us wanting and reaching for more? So, I asked the experts, the Atbay team. Here is what they had to say…

Why Nighttime Routines Are Important

According to Russell, nightly routine signals a change in your mindset from “work” or daily activity to relaxation. I don’t know about you, but switching off from work or parenting at night is one of the hardest things to do. And because I am both a career woman and a mom, I have to be five steps ahead of everyone – and so, my mind is constantly thinking, never switching off.

One thing that I personally have implemented as a nightly routine is the “brain dump” concept. Because my mind is constantly going, the only way I can turn it off and feel satisfied with my next day is if I have it written down on paper. So, I take out a sheet of paper (not my phone, and not my computer!! I put the devices away) every night and write out my next day’s work to-dos, personal to-dos, events coming up that I need to prepare for, what the kids are having for breakfast and lunch, what I need to prepare prior to dinner for dinner – and I just get it ALL out of my brain. If I don’t I think about it all night long. In doing this, I sleep much better!

Russell puts it this way, “It’s like a simple metaphor. A car going 90 miles per hour on a highway can’t safely exit the highway without slowing down. In the same way, people can’t fall asleep without slowing down, downshifting from the high gear of the workday into the low gears of nightly relaxation and rest.” Ah-ha! Makes total sense, right? Giving yourself time and space to slow down at the end of the day allows you to transition into a more peaceful and restful night.

A Few Tips on Nighttime Routines

“A nightly routine acts as a cue,” says Russell, “the off-ramp, that enables you to create a clear boundary between your waking life and relaxed life geared toward sleep.” Love it! But how do we put this all into action?

Glad you asked 😉 Russell offered a few tips on how you can get started today (yes, today…or tonight, rather), implementing nightly routines:

  1. Set a moment or action that signals the start of your wind-down routine. So, basically, what is your off-ramp (like the metaphor above)? Is it tucking your kids in bed at night? Making sure the dishes are clean and in the dishwasher? Making a to-do list or doing a brain dump? You need to identify what it is that allows you to feel comfortable closing down for the day, and do that every single night.
  2. Create a simple and consistent set of actions that minimize distraction and reinforce your time for relaxation. Physically put away all mobile technology devices – simple as that! Have a specific place where your cell phone, your computer, your tablet, etc., go every night. Hint: not on your bedside table (I’m guilty of it! If I’m being honest, putting my cell phone on the charger in our bathroom every night was the best thing I did! I wasn’t disturbed by buzzing, notifications, or the blue light.)
  3. Replace stressful activities with ones that bring you sincere calm, and decide on them before your routine or ritual. In a nutshell, you need to identify what activities bring you the most relaxation and calm? And mamas, let’s face it, this is probably not going to be while your kids are awake. That’s just a fact. But take some time to identify what this is and make time for it! Could you meditate for a few moments before falling asleep? Do you enjoy reading? Whatever it is, make sure it is not stimulating or causing you to think of your to-do list. Instead, the activity should help you to slow down.

It’s Your Turn

Do you have a nightly routine? How do you slow down at night so that you can sleep more peacefully? Leave your tips and tricks in the comments below. We would love to hear from you!

Also, be sure to check out Atbay’s latest product, Candle! According to Russell, “Candle is a mindful smartphone charger designed to transform the act of unplugging into a daily ritual.” You can learn more about Candle on their Kickstarter page here. Their early bird discount is going quickly!

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  • Reply
    Mayra Ward
    October 11, 2018 at 8:45 pm

    This is a great read and reminder that we all need some time to unwind and relax. With the everyday hustle and bustle its hard to disconnect from the rest of the world for the night. I’ll admit I struggle with that sometimes too, but then I look at my beautiful little baby, and she reminds me that she is here with me now in this moment. I savor every second with her, even when she wants to be in my arms all the time, and I cant get the dishes done or prep for the next day. I prioritize and give myself a break from time to time.

    Our nightly routine consists of playtime before dinner, we eat, I clean up the kitchen a bit while daddy gets the bath ready for baby. While I bathe her- he gets her “landing zone” ready for her. This consists of a soft blankie, her diaper, lotion and Pj’s all neatly arranged for easy dressing. By that time she’s ready to read, cuddle and sleep. This routine works for us, its helpful for us as well. We have specific songs that we play during this time so baby understands that its time to wind it down. The songs are helpful for her to understand its night time. We have been playing these specific songs since birth. After baby goes to sleep I prioritize and think about what is absolutely necessary for the next day. What can I put off until the morning OR what will be most helpful for me in the morning. Lunch prep at night or early AM while I make breakfast.

    I constantly remind myself to worry about my “3 foot world?”. Meaning- I should worry and take care of the things that are 3 ft with in my reach. The things and people closest to me are what I can help and nurture in this very moment. It helps me stay unstressed and its nice reminder that tomorrow is another day and I will have more time and opportunity to take care of the things that I didnt get to today.

    • Reply
      October 16, 2018 at 1:01 pm

      Thank you so so much, Mayra! It really is difficult to unplug and unwind with all the to-do lists, cleaning, work, thoughts, the list goes on and on!! But I’ve found that when I finally slow down and take a breather, a weight is lifted from me! I love that you have a nightly routine. When we finally got on the nightly routine wagon, things went so much smoother!! Your 3-foot world concept is such a great idea!! Love love love!!

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