Who doesn’t loved a chilled and focused start to the day?
Wake up before tiny human, hydrate, 20 minutes meditation, 30 minutes boxing, shower without an audience, choose an outfit, eat my chocolate overnight oats, wake up tiny human with lots of cuddles.
That’s my ideal and to achieve it I need to get up between 530 and 6am (not the easiest when you’ve been summoned to help tiny human pee at 3:45am after getting under the duvet at 11pm).
There’s an entire industry built on ‘Miracle Morning Routines’ (having a chilled out morning is a miracle when you’ve reproduced.)
Here’s the deal though. You’re never going to have the ideal miracle morning if you’ve been up till 2am watching Call my Agent or drinking a chilled sauvignon while scrolling insta, wondering whether you need pink tiles in your utility room (you probably don’t!)
I remember having this chat with someone on my team in a bank that will remain nameless. He was always yawning because his tiny one woke up at 6am and he’d been up till midnight. I was confused why didn’t he just go to bed if he knew he’d be woken early?
Now I know.
It’s one of the only times we get to chill, not wipe surfaces, bums, snotty noses or tears (unless their our tears from watching Queer Eye).
When our days feel like they’re not our own, that’s when we take any time we can to retrieve some time for ourselves and that’s usually when the little loves crash out for the night.
Just like your tiny one has a wind down routine, you need one too. It’s never going to be perfect and sometimes we *need* a Netflix session.
But if you’re feeling tired, the first place to look is how you get ready for bed, then you can start working on those miracle morning routines.
Here’s some ideas to help you establish a positive bedtime routine:
Go to bed around the same time every night.
Does your small human have a bed time, one that’s gorilla glue sticky? One that only gets relaxed on holiday? And if it doesn’t happen, well you know the next morning is going to be tantrum territory? Thought so. You’re a toddler in an adult outfit that thrives on routine.
Getting to bed around the same time every night helps your body reset its natural sleep/wake cycle, helps your body shift into wind down mode and gives you signals as to when you need to turn Queer Eye off. It doesn’t have to be 9:30pm. Go for a time that works for you and then bring it in by 15 minutes.
Give your devices a curfew at 9pm
I know you’ve heard and read this advice 25 different times from 25 different sources. It’s annoying and it works. Studies have shown that blue light suppresses our sleep hormone, melatonin, which makes your body think it’s daytime and time to stay awake.
One study showed that the effects of blue light can be felt in the morning – aka blue light hangover – making you and your metabolism sluggish when you wake. Which equals one grumpy mother not absorbing and digesting her breakfast.
Have chilled out evening – think bonk buster instead of true crime podcasts
Who reads bedtime stories to their small humans as part of a wind down to bed routine? I bet you’re not reading the one about the scary monster who lives under the bed and likes to come out when the room is dark. You don’t want to trigger a cortisol reaction in the small ones as it’ll keep them awake. You don’t want to do it to yourself either.
Cortisol is the hormone that was designed to keep you alive as it triggers your fight or flight response when you’re running away from a tiger that thinks you’re dinner. Unfortunately it doesn’t recognise the difference between reality and podcasts. I used to love reading Patricia Cornwell murder thrillers until I started to piece together all the reasons why I was wide awake, checking the cupboards at 1am.
Have a warm milky drink like oat milk with cinnamon
Research is mixed on this one. The effects could be linked to habit forming sleep cues instead of milk actually sending you to seep. Most milks do contain tryptophan, the precursor to your sleep hormone, melatonin. Research on cinnamon shows that it contributes to blood sugar balancing. If your blood sugar is roller-coasting, it can keep you awake or wake you up.
No caffeine after midday
Legend has it that monks drank lots of coffee to make sure they stayed awake for night time prayers. As we’re not monks and our only praying is that small humans stay asleep, we don’t need as much caffeine as we think we do.
If you struggle to sleep, there’s no way to burst the caffeine bubble other than to tell you no caffeine after midday. That includes coffee, red bull, Monster (please NO!), coca cola, pepsi max and green tea.
The release of adrenaline is one of the ways caffeine disrupts your sleep, along with the release of dopamine – the feel good hormone in your brain. Together they contribute to disrupting your natural sleep/wake cycle. So you may get a short feel good boost, but you’ll need a bigger boost the next morning as you won’t be getting restful sleep.
The gist of my recommendations are to treat yourself with the same love, care, attention and bedtime routine you would your small human so that your in built sleep/wake cycle is reset.
If you don’t want to go to bed and don’t want to get out of bed in the morning, choose 2 of these suggestions and put them into pre bedtime activity and track how you feel. The quantity of sleep might not go up, but the quality will and then you might get one of those miracle mornings.