Books at bedtime?

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What is your bedtime routine? In this age of obsession, there is a lot written about how to get children to sleep well, in fact there’s a whole determined industry surrounding it, but less is written about getting adults to do the same. However similar principles apply. Evenings should feel different from the earlier, busier part of the day. Lighting should be dimmer and more intimate, which has the effect of slowing down the body. Your last meal of the day should be sociable and take place in the early part of the evening, preferably around a table with the rest of the family. Ideally you should then aim to have at least an hour to yourself to unwind after putting children to bed or encouraging teenagers upstairs.  A useful inducement to children to support this is the offer of helpfully removing their pocket money if they bother you after 9pm. Failing that, demonstrating physical affection between parents is another useful weapon in your arsenal as far as older children are concerned.

As any granny will say, you will probably sleep better if you set yourself a bedtime and try to keep to that fairly consistently. At bedtime itself, avoid having the TV on in the corner and/or using the computer while you get ready, as these stimulate the brain in the wrong way for the time of day, as does texting friends or posting on websites. Instead, try to adopt little rituals such as the time-honoured warm bath, pampering skincare regimes (even if it is only using a warm flannel on your face and then dabbing a bit of own brand basic cream here and there), and light reading to make this time of the day enjoyable and relaxing. Wearing nightwear made from natural fibres can also help with developing an overall sense of wellbeing, especially if it helps you maintain the optimum body temperature for sleep. Surprisingly, supermarkets often have very impressive ranges of flattering pyjamas and nightshirts if you feel like indulging at comparatively low cost. If you’re selective, shopping for nightware in such places does not have to mean sporting a compulsory pink fluffy Snoopy motif across your bosoms every evening, like an overgrown nine year old, fatally compromising your sex life for ever. You can find glamour if you rummage a bit.

A postscript to all the sleep advice of the last couple of posts is that obviously in a real life family situation, all of these strategies won’t be possible all of the time, but the more you manage, the better your sleep quality is likely to be. And then you’ll be less grumpy and more able to face what life throws at you.

Image: Maggie Smith / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Any mountain can be conquered after a good night’s rest.

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