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Bedtime and Nighttime Routines: What’s The Difference, Why You Need Them, And How They Work.

bedtime and nighttime routines

May 29, 2022


I have spent the last seven years of my life being a mom. At first it was just to one, and I lost A LOT of sleep. I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t have a bedtime routine, nor did I have a nighttime routine. Neither did I teach my child what healthy sleeping patterns were. She depended on me for everything. Then, I had a second child. And I decided that I was doing this different. I want this to be different for you too! Therefore, I am sharing with you everything you could possibly need to know about creating your ideal bedtime and nighttime routines for you and the whole family! Finally get the sleep your body so desperately needs!


Although, I have always been a structured person with my routines. My daughter went to bed at the same time every night, sleeping didn’t really happen for her. So when the second one came around, I decided I was going to take a course. I decided I was going to teach my daughter healthy sleeping habits from the day that she was born because I saw other people achieving success with that. I knew I could achieve that too.

Once going down that rabbit hole, I found a whole another world, that I really want you to find too. Nighttime routines and bedtime routines have absolutely changed our entire family dynamic. It has changed my marriage, changed how I interact with my kids. As well as, changed our ability to sleep well, which in turn keeps us happy, healthy, and less irritable. Most importantly, we don’t dread putting our kids to bed anymore, and they don’t dread it either.

In this episode you’re going to get your evenings squared away and learn all about setting up a bedtime and nighttime routine. Find all the details below on when I fit in these routines to our day, and other helpful resources.

What’s the difference between a bedtime and a nighttime routine?

A bedtime routine is the routine we have set to get children to bed in the same way, every single night. These terms on Pinterest and Google are used synonymously but for the purposes of my life and what could further on be the language used in your home, the term BED TIME routine is for our children and NIGHT TIME routine is reserved for you and your spouse.

A nighttime routine is what takes place for you after your children are in bed. This is the nightly ritual you do to cue your brain that it is time to turn in and rest peacefully.

Why do you need a bedtime and nighttime routine?

You need this in your life because you want more sleep and more energy, but lets dive a little deeper.

Just this week I decided to lax on my boundaries and stay up late to get some extra time in with my husband. We are over the moon about life and transitioning into this new decade and a new season of life. But, let me tell you what happens when I decide it’s okay to stay up late. It’s not pretty. Sleeping in is fun and 8 hours of sleep is great. However, when you shift your rhythm it feels different, and not a good different.

Its called circadian misalignment … a fancy way of saying your bed time isn’t the same every day. A recent Duke Research Institute study showed an association between sleep irregularity and depression severity, perceived stress, cardiometabolic syndrome, congestive heart failure, prevalent coronary heart disease, documented deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. That same study also mentioned a direct correlation between irregular sleep patterns and deepen states of depression.

The Problems With Poor Sleep

National Institutes of Health states poor sleep can also increase the risk of slowed reaction times, irritability, anxiety, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Studies have proven that not only do children need more sleep to have better executive function, emotional regulation, and overall health, but adults do too.

We need to go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time every single day. If women like Oprah, Marie Kondo, Ariana Huffington, and the Bucket List Family are doing this then we know it’s part of the equation when getting your life together and accomplishing big things.

If you are at all interested in personal achievement, being less grumpy, snippy, or short …. give this a try. My downfall when I am tired, the ugly side of me, is over critical and extremely anxious. Not showing those parts of me is impossible without consistent sleep. Its not enough to just be sandwiching in 7-8 hours somewhere. Consistency is key and I promise you it helps. In order to live the life you truly desire, you must learn to prioritize sleep. And that begins with a solid bedtime and nighttime routine.

How do you establish a bedtime and nighttime routine?

Consistency is key: I have friends that have younger children from infants all the way to high school age and no matter what this is absolutely possible and necessary. I put this system in place and run it when my husband is home and when he’s working. This system also runs when I am not home and am out working late.

In order to live the life you truly desire, you must learn to prioritize sleep. And that begins with a solid bedtime and nighttime routine

If you are struggling with little ones that are unable to sleep through the night, depend on you for sleep, or just want to teach your babies and toddlers healthy sleeping habits check out this amazing company called Taking Cara Babies. Her course literally changed the entire trajectory of our life, and I am not exaggerating. I had more sleep in the first 4 months of my second borns’ life than I did in 19 months of my first born. Her education is PRICELESS!

As is with any goal, we are going to start at the end.

Because I believe that our children come before our own personal endeavors, but my marriage also comes before my relationship with my children. Therefore, it’s a fine balance in a limited amount of time each day to determine where to start. Since many of you struggle with hwere to find time, I’m going to make this straight forward.

By the default of your work schedule, you will find the amount of time each evening you get to spend on YOUR night time routine in this season of your life.

Step One: Establish YOUR Bedtime

The very end of the day is dictated by how much sleep you need. For example, IF you have to be up at 6 am to get out the door by 7:30 pull back 8 hours from 6am and you have a personal bed time of 10pm. Or, if you have to be out the door at 5:30am and you get up at 4:45 then you pull back to 8:45 for your personal bed time. If your evenings, your PM block of your day ends later bc you have older kids in after school activities, or you our your husband work late and you want dinner together then YOUR personal night time routine may only be 15 min every night…..and that IS TOTALLY OKAY!

Step Two: Establish Your Kids’ Bedtime

Once you have YOUR bed time, lets say it’s 10pm, Then you look at what time your kids will be in bed. Every family is going to be different but if you look at the recommended number of hours of sleep for your children age from the sleep foundation you can gauge how many hours. I shoot to have my 2 year old 12 hours of sleep and my 7 year old at 11 hours. Here is a list of recommended hours of sleep by age.

If you are pulling your kids out of bed at 6 am count back 10 hours from that. Even if your kids are functioning just fine the studies show proven cognitive function and immune systems with adequate and consistent sleep. Thats 8pm for kiddos that are getting up at 6am. You can adjust as needed.

Right there you can see that by having your kids IN BED at the time they are suppose to you are now getting 2 hours to yourself before bed. I choose to get up early in the morning long before I actually HAVE TO BE UP so I get to bed by 8:30.

My daily segments and routines

In my daily schedule, I segment my day into five different blocks. Starting with a morning block, an AM. block, a nap block, a PM block, followed by my nighttime block. These are the five time blocks that I organize and schedule everything by. There is more on how I schedule my day using these five time block method here! Within those segments, I have my routines. Such as our bedtime routine and our nighttime routine. My bedtime routine happens during our PM block. As shown in the visual below.

nighttime and bedtime routines

Creating Your Bedtime Routine

Once you have established your actual bedtime for your children. Then you can work out the logistics for the actual bedtime routine. This includes what you are going to do with each child, how you are going to pour into them and love on them, and how long it is going to take until lights out.

For us, this looks something like this. Our bedtime starts with bath, followed by thirty minutes of individual time with each girl. During this time we read books, say prayers, brush teeth, put on jammies. Every single night this is what we do with both kids. This allows them to know that they can count on this devoted and dedicated time with us. Then lights are out. We let them fall asleep with books and a nightlight on, until they are actually asleep. But, they are no longer dependent on us for falling asleep.

Creating Your Nighttime Routine

Once lights are out for kids, then our nighttime routine begins. This gives me ninety minutes to cue my brain that is time for bed. I am very flexible with the things I do within my nighttime routine. However, there are a handful of things that I am consistent with every single night.

As soon as the bedtime routine is over for my kids, I am done for the day. I don’t do anymore work, I put down my phone. For me, these evening hours are sacred. There is no rush. My go to things to do during this time are taking a bath, an at-home facial routine, time spent with my husband. There is always time within our nighttime routine for reading books, followed by prayer. Then lights are out!

Maintaining a Solid Bedtime and Nighttime Routine

Start taking inventory. Start trying it out. See what happens when you go to bed at the exact same time every single day and wake up at the same time every single morning. See what happens with your mood, your energy. In order for you to get to a place where you have a solid bedtime and nighttime routine in place it is going to take a commitment. You have to be committed. But once you have that in place, you are set up for success.

bedtime and nighttime routines

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get 7-8 hours a sleep each night? I have SO much to do!

First, and foremost, take a good hard look at everything you are doing! Are there things you are doing that don’t need to be done. Are there tasks that can be outsourced for someone else to do? How much time of your day is spent doing mindless, distracting things? As you sit and work through your weeks, schedule into your weekly schedule, specific times where the cleaning, and your work blocks are going to happen. That way, after the kids are in bed, you have the time to go through your own nighttime routine, and prioritize the very things that are of importance to you! Check out my system for time-blocking, to allow you to create your weekly schedule built for success!

the importance of establishing bedtime and nighttime routines
how to set up a nighttime routine that allows you to get better sleep

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