Typically, when people think of a nighttime routine, little children are who come to mind. Yet the reality is this is something that can be super beneficial for us as adults too. While I will be sure to put one together for us single folks sooner than later, today, I wanna offer up some tips for married couples. The reason why is simple. No matter how many husbands and wives that I work with, if there's a common thread that's among them all, it's the fact that they suck when it comes to going to bed. What I mean by that is, unless it's for the purpose of sex, a lot of them don't go to bed together and, if they do, they treat their bedroom either like another home office (laptops and work stuff all over the place) or an entertainment center (watching TV and constantly scrolling online). None of this creates a truly relaxing environment nor does it encourage couples to get in a few moments of intimacy together.
So, let's do it. Let's explore 12 ways that spouses can come up with a nighttime routine that can help them to chill out, sleep better and get closer to one another in the process.
1. Schedule in 30-60 Minutes Together. Every Night.
Around this time last year, I wrote an article entitled "7 Things Married Couples Should Do...At The END Of Their Day". One of the things I mentioned that really can't be expressed enough is the importance of carving out 30 minutes for nothing but quality time — and no, sitting in front of the television doesn't count. The reality is that couples, on average, only spend 2 ½ hours together and that includes the weekends. That's why it comes as absolutely no shock to me that some couples contemplate divorce, simply on the basis of "we grew apart". I mean, how were you gonna get closer if you don't even talk? You schedule in work. You schedule in exercise. You should definitely schedule in quality time with your partner. Making that a part of your nighttime routine is a way to make that happen.
2. Share ONE Need That You Have. THAT Day.
If needs never switched up, our spouse would be able to easily satisfy — as they do the same thing for us — on the daily. However, that isn't even close to being the case. Since no one is a mind-reader (no matter how much some people may think that there are), it's important that you and your boo are given the floor to articulate what your needs may be.
The reason why I think that this is an important part of a nighttime routine is because couples often don't get to really mentally and emotionally connect until they are doing some pillow talking (which is another reason why I think it's important for couples to turn in together, at least a couple of times a night, every week). And why did I say just ONE need? Because you don't want to overwhelm your partner, especially right before they are turning in. Stating one thing gives them enough information to be able to "take your temperature" and ponder without feeling super burdened down. It oftentimes can give them insight on how to approach you the following day as well. And vice versa.
3. Sip on Some Herbal Tea
I mean, I could list red wine here because it can help lull you to sleep (or get you pretty horny) yet at the risk of not trying to turn our readers into a lush, how about some herbal tea instead? While it's not uncommon for some of us to snack on junk food (all sugar and carbs are really gonna do is stimulate you), even while sitting in the bed, teas like chamomile, lemon balm, passionflower, peppermint and kava all contain properties that will relax your nerves and calm your mind. And if you add some honey to your cups, believe it or not, it will provide your brain with enough energy to keep you from waking up (funny how that works, huh?).
4. Put on Some Music
I spend quite a bit of time just randomly researching stuff. Something that I found to be interesting is there happens to be one song that has received constant raves for making people fall asleep. It's called "Weightless" and it's by a Manchester-based band called Marconi Union (it happens to be a whopping 10-hours long, by the way). Anyway, whether it's that or some other kind of playlist that is soothing to you, even if you only listen while getting ready for bed, because soft music is scientifically proven to regulate your hormones (including your stress hormones), if you and your boo have had a hard day, listening to some music together definitely couldn't hurt.
5. Read Together
Here's the thing about this particular point. There's a study that says that spending six minutes reading before turning in can reduce your stress levels by as much as almost 70 percent. Meanwhile, the blue light that comes from your television screen can jack up your melatonin levels and make it more difficult to fall and/or stay asleep. This is just one more reason to either get or keep your television out of your bedroom. As far as reading goes, there is something very romantic and sweet about a couple who decides to cuddle up and read a chapter or two of a book together. When's the last time you and yours did that? Hmm.
6. Swap Out Your Lamp’s Light Bulb
After the two of you have read something, swap out your lamp's bulb to something that is a little more romantically erotic like maybe a purple, blue or even red. It only takes a couple of seconds and can definitely put you and your spouse into the mood of relaxing — or something-else-ing. Speaking of something-else-ing, if you're curious about which color bulb will boost your libido the most, word on the street is that it's orange. Interesting.
7. Incorporate Some Aromatherapy
Something that easily takes more of my money than it should are AirWicks. I like that I can just plug them in and not worry about having to blow them out like candles or that they will create any smoke like incense. That said, whether it's a scented plug-in, a scented soy candle, an oil diffuser, some incense or even sprinkling some essential oil onto your bedding, make sure that you incorporate some aromatherapy into your bedroom space, each and every night. It reduces stress, helps to manage pain, treats headaches and migraines, decreases anxiety and yes, can improves your quality of sleep if you do it on a regular basis; especially if you incorporate it in the way that you're about to check out in the next point.
8. Give Each Other a Hand or Foot Massage
By definition, aromatherapy isn't just about appealing to your sense of smell via plant extracts/essential oils; it's about using these things to allow them to be absorbed through your skin too. This is where a hand and/or foot massage comes in.
By rubbing on the pressure points in your partner's hand, you can help to reduce bodily discomfort and decrease their stress levels. By rubbing the pressure points in their feet, you can assist in increasing blood circulation, reducing tension, fighting depression-related symptoms, reducing swelling and promoting a better night's sleep.
This is especially the case if you rub them down with some lavender oil (7-10 drops) mixed with a carrier oil like sweet almond oil or avocado oil (1/3 cup). The reason why lavender is so effective is it actually increases what is known as "slow-wave sleep" which, at the end of the day, helps to slow your heart rate down and relax your muscles. If you and your spouse take out 5-7 minutes, every night, to do this, there's no telling how much better you'll both feel in the morning! For tips on how to give a hand massage, click here. As far as the feet go, check out this video here.
9. Tell Each Other Something You’re Grateful for (in Your Relationship)
A novelist by the name of Cynthia Ozick once said, "We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude." I agree because I can't tell you how many times I have looked at a couple and been like, "When is the last time you actually focused on the good about your relationship — and each other? Lawd." There are many mental health experts who say that our brains are automatically wired to see the down/negative side of things. You know what this means, right? If we want to keep a positive outlook on our relationships, we've got to be intentional about seeing the good. One way to put this into practice is to commit to not closing your eyes for the night without verbally expressing to your spouse something about them that you are grateful for. Make sure you're being sincere. Avoid adding any "buts" to the end of your statement. And don't say the same thing, night after night. You know, they say that it's hard to stay angry or irritated when you're laughing. Same point applies to when you're in a state of gratitude.
10. Turn on a Fan
OK, so I am definitely the person who will set my thermostat to 68 degrees and still have a fan on while I'm sleeping. I like the room to be cold and then to snuggle up in a comforter.
The two main reasons why I think this should be incorporated into a couple's nighttime routine is 1) the room being cooler makes it easier to want to generate some body heat (if you know what I mean) and 2) the sound of a fan can produce white noise.
White noise is dope because it has the ability to drown out any other "background noises" that might make falling asleep difficult.
11. Cuddle. Even If Only for a Little While.
If you've ever heard that it's not the best idea to get anything larger than a queen size bed when you're married, there is some truth to that. Unless one or both of you are very large or tall, choosing a bed that puts distance between you can keep you from touching while you sleep and, on some levels, that can affect intimacy. However, whether you prefer to be up under each other or to kinda do your own thing as you sleep, do make it a part of your nighttime routine to cuddle, at least for 10 minutes. Cuddling also reduces stress. Not only that but it can boost immunity, lower blood pressure, encourage candidness in communication, relieve physical pain and make you hornier. So, whether it's spooning, hugging, putting your head on your man's chest or some other cuddling position, try and get into it for a little while every night. If the two of you are naked, even better!
12. Wake Up At Least 15 Minutes Earlier to Pray Together
Even if you're not the most religious person on the planet, there's no way around the fact that many studies point to there being many health benefits when it comes to prayer. It can boost your self-confidence, make you more empathic, release anxiety, make you more positive and even increase your longevity. There's a Scripture in the Bible that says, "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:20 — NKJV) Starting off your day by praying with your partner can give you the assurance that you both are closer to the Lord while doing what can benefit your mind, body and spirit, long-term. Can't think of a better reason to make this the cap on your daily nighttime routine. Can you?
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