Learn why the last hour before bed is important, sacred even! This last hour before bed is sometimes called the Amish Hour because just like the Amish, there’s limited use of technology. If you relax the last hour before you go to bed (or however long you have), you’re more likely to sleep better and be in a better mood the next day. That last hour is precious!
As a busy Mom, there are lots of things we’d love to have, but we know we’re not going to see anytime soon. We’d all love for our houses to be clean, our hair washed, and perhaps an extra 400 hours of sleep.
We made so many sacrifices when we became a parent – too many to even count. Most sacrifices we’ve learned to accept (my house will never look even close to any pictures on Pinterest….) But there’s one thing that we gave up that we need to reclaim: the last hour before bed.
It’s About Relaxing
The last hour before bed may be the most important part of your day. If you’re like most busy Moms, if you have an ounce of energy, you use this time to squeeze in anything you didn’t have time to do while the kids were awake. If you don’t have the energy to move, you either check Facebook or doze off while watching Law & Order reruns.
None of these scenarios are good for us. Whether you’re cleaning or surfing, you aren’t giving your mind and body the chance to relax. Instead, you are continuing the never-ending cycle of stress, exhaustion, and crankiness.
What Happens When We Don’t Relax?
When you don’t give yourself downtime to truly relax, everything suffers.
1 – It Creates a Stress Cycle. If you don’t relax before bed, you may go to sleep feeling stressed and anxious. You hope these feelings will magically disappear after getting a few hours of sleep. But unfortunately, that never seems to be the case. Instead, you probably wake up in the same mood you were in when you went to bed. This now sets up our your new day to continue exactly the same as your previous day. And the cycle repeats.
2 – Your Sleep Suffers. Experts say that looking at screens before bed effects the quality of our sleep. Ugh. This one is brutal because as busy Moms, we relish our before-bed screen time. However, even if you have no issues falling asleep after using screens, research shows that the quality of your sleep isn’t the same. And since you’re probably not getting a full 8 hours to begin with, the quality of the few hours you do get really matters.
Even if you’ve put away your screens but you’re working around the house, cleaning, making lunches, or doing other household tasks, your sleep will likely suffer. Without taking time to relax, it’s more difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. You’ll be amazed at the difference in your sleep quality if you leave the chores and take the time to relax, instead.
3 – You’re Cranky (or Depressed). Even though sometimes we may feel like a machine, we’re not. Our bodies need down-time. Without it, our minds suffer. If you’re not getting a full nights sleep, having time to relax is especially important for your mood.
4 – You Get Less Done. When we “push through” and work through our exhaustion, in the long run, we accomplish less. Sounds crazy, but it’s so true! On a day I’m happy and in a great mood, I run circles around what I can normally accomplish.
Related Article: How to Get More Done By Relaxing
How Long Should You Relax For?
We’re all short on time, but ideally, your relaxing time should last at least one hour. If you don’t have a whole hour, try to relax for however long you can. Even 15 minutes can have a huge impact.
If you’re short on time, here’s a great trick I learned from a friend. To maximize your relaxing time, get yourself ready for bed before the kids go to sleep! Shower, put on your PJs, brush your teeth, whatever you usually do to prepare for bed (which always seems to takes a ridiculously long time). Then, as soon as you’re done getting the kids to bed, you’re ready to relax!
Set up a Relaxing Environment
After you’re all ready for bed and the kids are settled down to sleep, set up your room for relaxation. I like to play soothing music and light a candle.
Things to do:
Here are some ideas of things you can do during your time:
2. Read a book or magazine
3. Chat with your spouse
4. Give yourself a foot massage
5. Relaxing Yoga
7. Write down things you are grateful for
8. Drink herbal tea
9. Call a friend
Help me add to the list! Please share in the comments below some things you like to do to relax before bed. I’ll update this post with your suggestions.
Wishing you a relaxed evening.
PIN for later
I’ve also found that it’s good to be careful about what you think about right before bed. Over the years I’ve noticed that if my thoughts are heavily on something negative or upsetting or hurtful, I have terrible dreams about that thing when I do fall asleep! So I try to think happy thoughts before bed. Lovely post!
Such great advice, Talisa! You’re right, if I go to bed upset, I wake up upset. Resting before bed so we’re filled with positive thoughts makes such a difference the next day. XOXO