Having a good night’s rest is essential for healthy lives and in many ways, a healthy marriage. Sleeping affects your bodily, mental, and emotional health--all of which are important to successfully taking on the next day. Plus, studies have shown that a good night’s sleep can reduce stress and improve your mood.
Establishing a bedtime routine is important to help you fall asleep, and stay asleep until morning.
You and your new spouse probably came into your marriage with your own pre-bed rituals but the excitement of falling asleep next to your new spouse is sure to shake things up a bit.
Creating a bedtime routine together helps ensure that you and your spouse are getting the rest needed to fully live out your vocation as husband and wife.
Create a Sanctuary
Ideally, your bedroom is the place you go to wind down at the end of the night and wake up refreshed each morning. It should be primarily a place of rest and peace, but for many new couples it often doubles as a home office or storage closet. The added clutter and noise can make you subconsciously feel anxious or stressed and therefore, affect sleep.
Your bedroom is where the liturgy of your life begins and ends. It is where your vows are made flesh and where the veil of the day is torn; it is a place of unity and intimacy for couples. Your bedroom is a sacred place in your home and should be treated as such.
Keep unnecessary work and noise out. Make sure you have a comfortable mattress and pillows, and try to keep the room as clean as possible (even if that means tidying up the room before your lay down). Create a space in which you look forward being after a long day, and that will help ease your mind and body into a restful night.
Set Boundaries for Technology
Do you and your spouse spend time scrolling on your phone before bed? Not only does the artificial light from phones, tablets, and laptops disrupt the circadian rhythms of the body, it communicates indifference to your spouse.
Spend time in the evenings together without the distractions of text messages and emails. Set a time where the technology is powered down and put away.
If possible, keep the phone out of the bedroom. Again, this keeps the unwanted stress out of your sleep environment but also eliminates the temptation to reach for your phone during the night or first thing in the morning.
Make Time for Prayer
Setting aside time each night for prayer is a great way to recenter before bed and to thank God for the day.
Not only that, but praying aloud with your spouse deepens your relationship with one another; it increases intimacy and contributes to the spiritual health of the family.
Not sure where to start? Try incorporating compline (or the Divine Office’s night prayer) or an Examen into your evening routine. Whatever you decide, make sure you pray before your head hits the pillow.
Go to Bed at the Same Time
Between kids and work schedules, it’s not always possible to go to bed at the same time as your spouse each night. But if you have the opportunity, choosing to go to bed at the same time as your spouse, helps create a feeling of connectedness, especially if you don’t get a lot of time together during the day.
Research has shown this small practice as a great way to increases intimacy and conversation between couples. It also increases positive feelings between partners that affect their interactions the following morning.
It may seem odd to say “goodnight” before you fall asleep in the same bed. However, a simple “good-night” communicates to feelings of love to your spouse.
Saying goodnight, especially after a bad day, communicates to your spouse that your relationship is more important than any upsetting incident that may have happened during waking hours. These words offer closure on the day and allow husband and wife to fall asleep knowing that they are cherished.