nighttime routine vs bedtime routine: what’s the difference, why you need them, and how they work.

Updated: Feb 27, 2020

Listen below for the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast


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 but 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 and the effects in a recent Duke Research Institute study show 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.

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, Arriana Huffintgton, 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.

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 systmes also runs when I am not home and am out working late.

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 its a fine balance in a limited amount of time each day to determine where to start. Since many of you struggle with were to find time, I'm going to make this straight forward.

By 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.

They very end of the day is dictated by how much sleep you need. 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. 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!

Once you have YOUR bed time, lets say its 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

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 thats I did in 19 months of my first born. Her education is PRICELESS!