Sleep hygiene: the evolution of bedtime routines

Everyone is tired all the time, right?

Well, I’m not. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Not lately, that is…

I go to bed relatively early to read or watch TV, now that I can. It didn’t used to be this way, my second baby didn’t sleep by herself, or through the night, till age 4 and a half.

Talk to me about sleep deprivation, and I got stories to tell you. (But I’ll save those for another day…)

After, when she finally did sleep, other things kept me awake: Worries, peri-menopause symptoms, pets, city wildlife, or my partner struggling with his own sleep issues and waking me up with his tossing and turning when he finally decided to go to bed at 2, 3 am. Just as I was in deep REM sleep…

These days, I can choose to go to bed relatively early to ‘come down’ from a busy day because that hands-on period with small children is behind us now. Even if I’m not tired enough to go to sleep, I choose to head to the bedroom just because there aren’t many options for solitude in our small home.

Doesn’t matter though. Technology is portable these days so if I’m inclined to read or write, I can do that anywhere including in the bedroom. The point is, I like my alone time in the evenings. Besides, I’m usually the first one up the next morning, often by 6 am. That’s just me, though. I prefer morning activity to late night wakefulness.

Bedtime routines do still exist around our household for the offspring however. They have school and activities most days of the week so they are being trained to respect downtime for the body, physically and mentally speaking.

They go to bed on their own, or their dad takes them to their rooms. Occasionally I may still do the whole tuck and kiss goodnight and all that. But most evenings, they do their own thing just as I do mine.

Actual bed (go to sleep) times for both kids have changed slightly as they got older. Up until recently we insisted they be in bed by 9pm. If they wanted to read for a while, I was ok with that. There are no devices in their rooms, and there won’t be for the foreseeable future. But books are allowed.

Now they’re older, at 11 and close to 14. Just because mom disappears after 9ish pm doesn’t mean they’re ready to do the same. They want to watch TV or Netflix mostly, which is fine.

So while the three of them watch something (The Office, Grand Tour), I head to the bedroom to watch my thing, read and/or write, as I said.

But by 10pm, the house is silent. Even the teenager is required to turn light off by then.

I don’t know about your night time routine but proper sleep hygiene is at least partially responsible for less grumpiness in this house.

If they get enough sleep
they are much less grumpy the next day.
๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ™ƒ ๐Ÿ˜

Especially now that school hockey begins again. Practices at 7 am means rising at 6 am and although my teen is pretty good about getting it together for hockey, he does complain slightly more later in the evening about how tired he is and how he shouldn’t have to do homework or chores because of that. ๐Ÿ™„

But then, we discovered something.

My partner told me that while he was just getting ready for bed at around 11:30 pm last night, he heard our son’s phone chiming incessantly. Normally, the phones are turned off overnight while plugged into the charging station near my desk. My son must have forgotten to turn off his phone that night.

So my partner walked over to have a look at the kid’s phone.

Four buddies of our son’s still in group chat, texting each other. Four 13 year old boys, up past 11 pm on a school night, on devices, texting each other.

(What will they be doing when they’re 15 at 11 pm? Don’t answer that, it’s a rhetorical question.)

Perhaps this is normal for most people, but I struggle with a deeper understanding of how a kid, a young teenager, can get by on less than eight hours of sleep at night on a regular basis.

Are we the oddballs here for enforcing earlier bedtimes on a school night?

For the record, I don’t micromanage the bedtimes on weekends when there’s no early morning practice. But I do notice that the boy especially does sleep longer when he doesn’t go to bed at a decent hour. Which tells me he needs his eight hours still…consistently.

Frankly, I find it hard to tolerate my kids when they’re sleep deprived, and there have been times…then again, I barely tolerate myself when I’m sleep deprived, so there’s that too.

I wonder how this sleeping situation is going to continue, going forward with adolescence. Will sleep elude them? Will they start this endless sleeping on weekends like we hear from other parents with teens?

How do you manage your own, or your family’s sleep? Do you (or did you) anticipate this less-than-adequate sleep to be a disruptive force in your household? How does one survive this next phase with sanity intact?

30 thoughts on “Sleep hygiene: the evolution of bedtime routines

  1. Iโ€™m exhausted ..hahaha with my peri-menopause as well , usually Iโ€™m a great sleeper . I love your night time routine, I like to go into the bedroom around 8 sometimes earlier to do as you do. My son though being back and coming in late or friends over is not helping.. Iโ€™m hoping when things calm down and he heads back to Missouri In 5 days will get me back into earlier sleep. Oh the phone omg my son has his on his room and leaves it on I do not know how he sleeps we have a Sm house so if his volume is up we can hear it going off constantly ..itโ€™s crazy. Surprise how teenagers alone get any sleep..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a hot button issue for me because I’m also super bedtime focused. I read once when the kids were very little that the secret to parenting is “never let them be tired, never let them be hungry.” That’s not always possible, but it was a pretty good guideline to avoiding things like meltdowns and freakouts. I also think it was good for their brain development.

    Now that our older two are bigger we have relaxed the rules but we still have two firm ones – lights out by 10:30 on weekdays, and no phones in the bedroom. My kids say both rules are super strict and “none” of their other friends have that. I have definitely heard their phones pinging late into the night with notifications from friends, even after midnight. That just doesn’t work for me! Sorry teens :).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep! When my teen tells me all his friends say we’re too strict with him, I have half a mind to point him to the comments section on this blog post. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Turns out I’m not that much of an oddball…๐Ÿ˜Š

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    1. My son was like that too, a mature kid. He’s a young teen now and since he’s my first teen, I don’t really know what to expect, but certainly teenagers are not the same as the kid you remember when they were 6, or 8…anyway, we’re on the same journey, him and me, so we’ll figure it out together. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My son is 12 and we have similar rules on devices. His cell is a flip phone that has the internet blocked and it only works from 3:30 to 9:30 pm on school days (we donโ€™t allow him to bring it to school). He does sleep until noon on the weekend, as did I at that age. During the week, heโ€™s in bed between 10-11pm and up at 6:30 am.

    I know we are in the minority with informing restrictions on technology in the room or even by not giving him a smartphone, but I donโ€™t care. Iโ€™m trying to raise a son to create healthy limits around screens and instill healthy sleep habits since thats when our bodies can perform cellular rejuvenation and healing. Youโ€™re not alone!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You know my son says his buddies think we’re weird for not allowing, or only occasionally allowing video games during the school week. I tell him I don’t care what other 13yo boys think. He’s learning that we’re not pushovers just because “everyone else” is doing it.

      Thank you for your comment. It’s good to know there are others in the minority! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, my daughter didn’t get a cell phone until she was much older, and all of the other electronics had to be shut off at 9:00. I even unplugged the landline while she as on the phone to enforce that rule. But we all resist rules at that age don’t we? I won’t tell you the crazy stuff I did at that age so as not to worry you, and we didn’t have any electronics when I as growing up ๐Ÿ™‚ And we survived and are sane, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You’re right on track – the phone chargers in our family were located in the hall next to our bedroom, and they had to be there by a certain time or they didn’t have the phone the next day. My advice…get all the sleep you can at this stage, your brain, and their brains will love you later in life. Brains need downtime to rebuild cellular connections and recharge. PS – You’re gonna feel way more sleep deprived when they start driving and you’re worried when they’ll get home safe and sound at all hours of the night!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. oh man have we gone through this and sstill go through this with each kid. My youngest of the oldest 4 is 14 and we just had to tell them that they have to bring their phone out every night at 9:30 because they were staying up till like 2 am and complaining they didnโ€™t get enough sleep. We talked to them about managing their sleep schedule but they proved they werenโ€™t quite ready to do that on their own yet.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, I understand. We never started phones in rooms to begin with because I heard how difficult it is to take away after the habit has formed. But you’re not alone, I sometimes don’t check if he’s still plugged into the PS4 in the rec-room on a non-schoolnight, who knows how late he stays up then….๐Ÿ™ƒ

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  7. Mine gets in bed at 10 but is not usually asleep until 11 and heโ€™s up by 7 to get ready for school. Iโ€™m the one sleeping more lately. I have overslept 2 school mornings this week and he had to catch a ride with the neighbor! Maybe I am playing catch up from when he kept me up 10-13 years ago? ๐Ÿ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I gave up on a bedtime when my kid hit high school. Too many activities, too much homework, etc….during tennis season she doesnโ€™t get home till 8 at least 2days a week….and then 3 hours H.W., and shower and eat….

    Liked by 1 person

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