Sleep. We all need it and many of us don't get enough of it. It effects every area of our daily life and yet we don't spend much time trying to improve it.
I am a very process driven person. If I have a routine, I can set goals and make sure everything that I need to do gets done. For a long time, I didn't have a good sleep routine. I'd run, run, run and then jump into bed and wonder why I couldn't fall asleep. The problem was that I didn't tell my body that it should get ready for sleep. Our bodies have a biological process for restful sleep, but that process can only start if we give ourselves subtle cues. So I developed a bedtime routine that now involves serious quality time with my wife, Alison.
When I don't get a good night sleep, I drag. I get grouchy. I'm very irritable. So getting a solid night sleep is very important.
Light is a major cue for our bodies. In the evening, low light causes our brains to release melatonin, which promotes good sleep. Things like TVs, computers, and mobile phones produce a blue hue that turns off the melatonin release. Planning to avoid those devices can help you get a great night sleep.
I start getting ready about an hour before bed. I finish up most of what I need to do on my phone, I go into the bathroom and brush my teeth. I then get into bed and turn on only a bedside lamp. I then pray for 15 minutes and read for 30 minutes. About 20 minutes into my reading, my eyes are getting pretty heavy.
After the 45 minutes of reading and prayer, I turn off the lights and cuddle with Alison until it's time to roll over and drift off to sleep.
What is really great is that Alison has started to join me with the prayer and reading time. After a day apart, we have quality time together. The pre-sleep cuddle time fills that particular want of hers and makes the perfect end to the day.
A sleep routine is good. A sleep routine that builds your marriage? Well, that's even better.