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Rise & Shine Challenge: Day 3


Good morning! How’s your morning going so far today? I “slept in” until 5:30 a.m. this morning.

I was in bed by 9:45 p.m., but when my alarm went off at 4:30 a.m. this morning, I could tell an extra hour of sleep would do my body good. Because I’m trying to do a much better job of giving myself grace these days, I set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. and went back to bed. And it felt so good.

Today’s assignment is about getting better sleep. I typically sleep really well. In fact, my husband jokes that it’s basically impossible to wake me up in the middle of the night if a child needs me and that he’s the one who always takes the night shift if a child is sick… which is somewhat accurate — at least the part about me being hard to wake up! 🙂

Unless I have some big something the following day and am feeling anxious or nervous about it, I sleep like a rock most nights. And I feel blessed that sleep is not an issue that I struggle with most of the time, because I know that many people do struggle with it.

That said, since committing to going to bed earlier, I’ve noticed that I’ve struggled to get to sleep at night. So I like the idea of being intentional about winding down at night in order to encourage restful sleep.

As I thought about it more, I realized that I actually do have a pretty solid Evening Routine/Before Bed Ritual — or whatever you want to call it. 🙂

My Current Bedtime Ritual

Here’s how it typically looks for me (note that I don’t always do all of these things, but I usually do most of these in this order):

::Do a quick clean up the kitchen/main living areas of the home — There’s something about waking up to a clean house in the morning that just feels SO good!

::Consult Google Calendar and write a to-do list for the following day.

::Wash face, take out my contacts, take pills/vitamins.

::Snuggle with my kiddos and send them off to bed. (Confession: I sometimes fall asleep right here — and then Jesse has to send them off to bed!)

::Make a cup of soothing tea and slather some essential oils or lotion on my feet.

::Turn off the electronics.

::Climb into bed. Chat with my hubby. Fall asleep.

The biggest thing for me is to start planning to go to bed at least an hour and a half before I actually plan to get in bed. It seems to take me that long to get everything done without feeling like I’m rushing through!

This Morning’s Report

  • Got up at 5:30 a.m.
  • Read my Bible and devotional books. Prayed over my day.
  • Made some coffee, opened my laptop and answered emails & comments.
  • Scheduled some posts — including this one asking for your input on my book.
  • Jesse came back from the gym and got Kathrynne up. They made breakfast together, and then she started on her independent work. We decided to let Silas & Kaitlynn sleep in this morning as they both seemed like they could use the extra sleep. 🙂
  • Finished this post.
  • And now I’m off exercise and shower, start the laundry, make some breakfast for myself (I’m going to try the Trim Healthy Mama Pancakes this morning), and help the kids with their chores and start in on our homeschooling for the day. We’re getting a later start because I “slept in” but we have a quieter day today so I think it will work out. And here’s to hoping I get in bed by my actual bedtime of 9:00 p.m. tonight!

How has your morning been so far? Do you have a bedtime routine of sorts? If so, what does it look like? If not, what would you LIKE it to look like?

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  • I messed up yesterday but I did better today. Already up and did devotions and I am drinking my coffee.

  • Victoria says:

    My bed time routine is kind of long. It starts at 8 with me getting off screens and reading a book for an hour. I crawl into bed at 9 (after brushing teeth and such) Read “Jesus is calling” and look up verses in the bible. Complete my gratitude journal. Lately I have added one more journal and that is a health journal of sorts . I use a simple $1 weekly at a glance calendar and note what vitamins I took all day long, what exercise I did, and what junk I ate. I got inspired to do this after reading your monthly challenges for better health and it is making me more aware of my bad habits and my good ones that need a bit of polishing. After that I read a magazine for a while (because if I read a book I stay up way way too late) and usually after an article or two I am ready to sleep. Generally lights are out by 10 pm. I too sleep like a log. My husband says the same thing as yours, and the kids do come to his side of the bed if they need anything at night knowing they won’t be able to wake me. 🙂

  • Amber says:

    Hey Crystal,

    So not participating in this challenge this time around but just wondering about your gratitude journal that you had talked about several months ago. Is that still a go, are you still planning on coming out with one? If so, I’d really like to purchase one! 🙂

    Thank you!

  • Leigh says:

    I love that the challenge is making sleep a priority and asking us to take a hard look at our bedtime routines. I am at a season in life where sleep deprivation comes with the territory. My 3 year old struggles with sleep. He always has. He gets it from me because I am a super light sleeper and if I am woken up for any reason, I’m up for hours, even if it’s 2:30am. My husband sleeps like a rock. Last night my infant was asleep by 10pm. My 3 year old was up until 12:15am. I went to bed at 12:30am and was woken up at 1:45am by a crying 3 year old. He finally went back to sleep around 3:00am and my infant woke up at 5:00am. It’s a struggle to find time for myself right now. My alone time is my commute as I typically have a child in the bathroom helping me as I shower and get ready for my day. This program had been encouraging though and that’s exactly what I was hoping for.

  • Kristin F. says:

    After evaluating my sleep yesterday, my husband pointed out that I’ve been averaging about 3 hours a night for the last 2 weeks, which clearly had its effect on me, as he came home from work last night and asked me if I was feeling well. 🙁 It definitely wasn’t intentional to sleep so little, but I’ve always been a light sleeper and have always done some work after my son went to bed. We reevaluated my schedule and he showed me that the work I’m doing at night could be done in the morning, since I’m committing myself to getting up earlier. I was “sent to bed” last night with chamomile tea and feel much better today!

  • Shay says:

    That is awesome! I hope that I can get to bed by 10pm tonight. I really want to start waking up at 5:30am to see if I am more productive in the morning rather than at night.

  • Laura says:

    I don’t know about you, but I have found if I take my vitamins at night, I can’t sleep. They give me a little energy boost that I don’t need as I’m going to bed. Maybe taking them in the morning would help you get to sleep faster at night? Just a thought. Thanks for all you do!

  • Kristine says:

    I normally wake up between 5:15 and 5:30. I get ready for work, by 6:10 I am getting my 16 mo old daughter up and ready for the day. My husband gets our 5 year old up and ready. I am out of the house by 6:20-6:30 to catch the 6:30 or 6:40 bus. My husband takes the kids to day care/school they are out of the house by 7:15. I leave work by 3:30, pick the kids up, and head home to make supper and get the kids prepped for any night time activities. Our 16 mo is in bed by 7, 5 yo is in bed by 8ish. I usually clean up the house and get ready for bed. Some nights I workout. I am usually in bed watching tv or reading by 8:30 and asleep by 9 or 10. I need that time after bed to unwind. I would like to start getting up at 4:30 to workout before starting my day. I have done it before and once you get used to it, it’s not that bad!

  • Tam Hodge says:

    Woke up at 7 got ready and headed to the gym. I worked out for the first time in 4 years today. In fact, I took a class. It ended up being higher cardio than normal and I only got half way through. I eventually had to go home. I’m gonna blog about this later!

    But I started out my day pushing myself. And I feel great about it!

    Now, I’m eating my omelet 😉

  • Sheila says:

    As a person who’s gotten up most days at 4:25 am for years, I was a little concerned about your setting that time. To do it long-term in a healthy way, it has to be a real lifestyle change, and not everyone will understand it. It generally works for us because my husband and I both do it, and we agreed years ago on an 8:30 bedtime. We don’t always make it, but we try to shoot for that. It is really hard a lot of times, because the world doesn’t operate on the same schedule we do. 🙂 But I really need 8 hours of sleep, or I do not function well. We do this because I work and this way I can start at 7 am (I go to crossfit at 5 and get my workout in) and finish work at 3 pm in time to pick up my kids from school and be with them the rest of the day. But if that were not the case, I definitely think we would push it back at least an hour, just because it is so difficult a lifestyle to keep even though I am definitely a morning person.

  • Christine says:

    This is off topic, but one day I would like to see a post of your typical homeschool day (when you start/finish, order of subjects you cover, etc.) I homeschool my two boys and am always looking for ways to improve our day. Thanks for all you do for us 🙂

  • My bedtime routine starts after supper. I clean the stove (dreaded task, but I can’t stand waking up to a dirty stove in the morning!). Wash and moisturize my face, make a to-do list for the next day and set out my clothes so I don’t have to stumble around in the dark to find them in the A.M.

    I make sure all screens are off at 8.

    Then I spray myself with magnesium oil (great for sleep and helps with pregnancy nausea) and get in bed around 9:30. From there I read, snuggle or read with kids who make their way to my room, chat with hubs.

    This morning:
    – Up at 4:30 (more pregnancy insomnia. My ideal wake up time is 6)
    – French lessons with DuoLingo
    – Blog post (about simplifying my life avant bebe)
    – Type daily/weekly homeschool schedules into Google Drive and print for kids and myself

  • Sakura says:

    Have you ever tried to go to sleep and knew you had to be up at a certain time only you never fall asleep and watch the clock pass? That was my night. I will push thru the day and try again tonight! I hate insomnia!

  • I’m doing this right along with you. I start each day with coffee, devos, and blogging at and today I was gifted with ever more time to do this since we had a freak early morning thunder storm this morning in San Diego! Near as I can tell the storm began around 4:15 as that is when Joey, my border collie Australian shepard mix dog, jumped on the bed and began to howl.
    He’s sleeping now and I’m on to the next phase of the day: cleaning, laundry, and then lunch with mom!

  • Amy R says:

    I’m curious…Just getting started with essential oils. What oils do you use before you go to sleep?

  • Ann says:

    I am blessed to be on vacation at the beach this week and I am greatly enjoying NOT having routines this week! This is food for thought though because school starts Monday and routines will definitely be needed then.

  • Asheritah says:

    I’m usually a good sleeper but last night I was up for hours. I finally got out of bed and started typing all the thoughts whirling through my brain. Two whole posts came out before I was able to unwind and fall asleep at 1:50am. I still woke up with my baby girl at 6:30am, but took a nap this morning when she did.

    I need to get better about establishing a night time routine that helps me unwind and tells my brain to stop thinking. Being a night owl, some of my best ideas come at night; I’m hoping to reset my rhythm and start doing work in the mornings so I can be ready for my baby instead of waking up to her.

  • Sissy Sweet says:

    I love your routine, but a word of caution. Dr. Oz advises not to take medication before bed. It can cause burning of the esophagus. For vitamins, he says to break them in half, and take a half after breakfast and the other half after dinner. Other wise, your not getting the full effect.

    I am working hard at getting back to my night time schedule of going to bed at 8 pm. I had a recent surgery, then a pinched nerve the day I got home. So my sleeping schedule is all messed up.

    I also noticed something. When I went to bed at 8 am, I would be asleep with in 5 minutes, and get up refreshed 8 hours later, with out setting an alarm. My body just knew it was time to wake, because of my routine.

    Now that my sleep is not on schedule, I fight to go to sleep, tossing and turning for hours before I fall asleep. I don’t have a sound sleep either, waking up here and there.

    So I am working very hard to get back to my 8 pm bedtime. I get so much more accomplished when I go to bed early, and wake up ready to face the day.

  • Jennifer says:

    I have signed up to receive your emails. Will I also receive your blog for the Rise and Shine Challenge?
    Thanks 🙂

  • megan says:

    My “bedtime” routine starts after dinner, with some quiet activities with my kids, 11 and 13, either a walk, music practice, reading, and soon homework. “Lights out” for kids at a predictable time. It helps when I brush my teeth, etc when they do. Then I can spend a few minutes on email correspondance before reading or watching a few videos, and I am asleep by 10 or so. My alarm goes off at 6:30 or 7. Is this too much sleep? I know I can wake up earlier a d get stuff done, but I don’t ever do it. Oh–getting my family to help with dishes, picking up and pre-packing lunches helps soooo much in the am.

  • Ann says:

    My morning was great. I still felt behind before I left for work, but I got the important things done anyway. If only I had gotten up 30 minutes earlier, when I had planned, I would probably have completed everything!

    My bedtime routine is very simple. I typically don’t have any cleaning up around the house to do. I have a continuously running to-do list, so that is done already too. Here is what I do try to do though:

    – Put away whatever I am doing or working on
    – Brush teeth, wash face, take out contacts, etc
    – Turn off electronics
    – Climb into bed, read the Bible and/or devotions, and pray

    And that is enough for me! 🙂

  • Linh says:

    I am doing this and loving it! I get so much more done. Before I would wake up when my 7 month old wakes up and I would get nothing done , devotion got pushed until night time and I often forgot to do it ( or too tired). Thank you!

  • Ella says:

    I am feeling as if this is not going to be helpful to me. I am 82 years old and surely should have this down pat, but I am actually trying to get back in the groove! I lost my husband of 60 years in Jan, 2014 and I have been floundering since then.

    Are there any seniors in the group? My needs and chore list will not involve little ones, just attempting to gather past momentum, and get things done in a ‘routine’ kind of way. I will hang in with the work book, and maybe find my way again. I SO wish I could be planning my day around my four little ones and my sweatheart of a special guy. I remember trying to stay on track with homework, car pool, and all that goes along with what you do! I salute you all. You have the most difficult, AND the most rewarding, important job there is!

    • Ella says:

      oops! Hubby was a sweetheart..not sweatheart! sorry about that..

    • Grete says:

      I’m so sorry for your loss – what an amazing, long marriage you enjoyed! I hope you have a great support network of friends/family nearby…

      I think your efforts to make a routine for yourself and start your mornings intentionally will help you find a new perspective on how important and purposeful your life continues to be. There are definitely places and people who need your spirit and wisdom, and those in-the-midst of child-rearing aren’t available to provide to others what YOU can.

      I applaud you for going through this course! 🙂

    • Cynthia says:

      Ella, I am a senior, 54, with no young children at home but there are new challenges in each stage of life I guess. I know what you mean about trying to gather past momentum as I don’t have the stamina I used to. My husband is a diabetic and I need to cook healthy meals for him. In making my to-do list, I need to schedule in rests which I don’t like doing but if I don’t I end up getting sick. I am adjusting my needs and chores to include things like “load pill trays” and “set medications out on table the night before” for my hubby.
      I am so sorry for the loss of your hubby 🙁 I bet this course will help you get into a new routine, allow time to remember and reflect, even schedule it. It helps me to schedule something, anything, outside the house so I have to get ready and get there…lunch or walking with friends, doctor appointments, volunteering.
      Please do share your nuggets of wisdom with the younger crowd.

  • Sarah says:

    Just came to this link thru your Make Over Your Morning Course (which I am loving!). I used to have a good FlyLady routine before bed and it made life SO much easier, and then child #3 and 3 cross country moves came and I have not gotten my mornings (or evenings!) back under control. Thank you for sharing your bedtime routine, it encourages me to get back to mine. And I love your kids’ names….I have a Silas and a Kaitlyn too 🙂

  • Amy says:

    This is so encouraging! I have older kiddos and I know that they’d help me knock off my evening routine if I asked them to. Thank you!

  • Samantha Gordon says:

    The whole getting up early thing kind of scares me, because I’ve struggled with falling asleep since I was a little kid—like I remember having insomnia as a 4 or 5 year old. I’ve tried and failed so many times to go to sleep early and get up early. 🙁

    • Samantha Gordon says:

      I LOVE the quiet solitude of the early (before anyone else arises) times. Jet lag always gives me that opportunity. BUT, getting to sleep so that I can actually get up early is not easy. Sure, I can put myself to bed early, but I’ll lay there till who knows how late. At the moment it’s 2am. My alarm is set for 6am. No idea when or if I’ll finally fall asleep tonight.

  • April says:

    I’m on Day 2 of the course, and I appreciate this post! My evening goals were too lofty. I tweaked them after reading this. Thanks!

  • Stay At Home Mom says:

    Thanks for your guide. I’m on Day 1 am excited to try it out.

  • jennifer says:

    day 2 here i’m trying to get my life in order i am a homemaker and mother to 4 girls and a lot of fur babies… i am struggling terribly lately and i hope with this course i can pull it together.

  • Rachael says:

    I am on Day 2 of the Makeover Your Mornings course and stuck on 3 – 5 things to do before bed. I have a written list of things to check off, which comes to 19 things! Some of the things I could do in the morning, but that will take away from my “bigger picture” things to do when I’m fresh in the morning, so I’m a bit stuck!

  • April S. says:

    I try really hard to get a bed time routine together. However, I just end up falling asleep with the boys as they always want me to come to bed with them. So in falling asleep, I need to work harder on modifying this. I KNOW that when I finally establish a bed time routine, that Life will be much more simpler and less hectic for me. I signed up this week for the Make Over Your Mornings course. I found it through Pinterest! And I am hoping to do better with making over my mornings after this course and looking forward to it! On Day 2 today for me! 🙂

  • Mary Owens says:

    It looks like its easier when you homeschool your kids because I know I dread having to get them off to school especially when they both hate it so my days start off with a big fight trying to explain to them that they have to go to school. So not good to start my day off so I absolutely love it when they aren’t in school.

  • Lisa says:

    Hi, Crystal!
    I’ll be on Day 3 tomorrow. Getting up at 5:30, I stumble to turn on the coffee pot (I grind coffee beans and prep the night before…yes, that’s on my nightly tasks list), grab my laptop and open where I’m reading the Bible chronologically this year. My son is an early riser, so he comes downstairs wrapped up in his blanket and climbs into my lap by 6:30. It’s a sweet way to get the day started. After my husband wakes, we chat over coffee for a bit, then breakfast and he’s off to work. My son and I then begin our homeschool day. I find that I’m a better mom and wife when I start my day with intention and time in the Word.

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