Managing kids isn’t easy. If you’re a mom, then you already knew that. However, if you find yourself constantly at your wit’s end, trying to figure out where you can find a few extra hours in the day for a nap, then it might be time to re-think your schedule. Because a good night’s sleep is not something you should ever go without, especially when you have little ones who need you to be at your best, we all need to get to bed earlier.

While it’s true you can’t stretch the days out to make them longer, these 4 life hacks can help you get the most out of the time that you do have.

4 Life Hacks That Will Help You Get To Be Earlier

Hack #1: Start A Routine before bed

How many times have you found yourself ready for bed, but your to-do list still feels like it’s a mile and a half long? Well, one way to fix that is to get a routine started in the house. You should be flexible with it, but at the same time you should take care of the same tasks at the same time every day. Whether that’s cleaning the kitchen, vacuuming the living room, running errands, or even getting an hour of exercise in, you get better results when you do repetitive tasks at the same time every day.

If possible, you should also combine them. For example, throwing a load of laundry into the washer, going to the gym, then throwing it in the drier lets you make more of your time.

Hack #2: Make Single-Recipe Suppers Whenever You Can

Sitting around a table and eating together is important for family togetherness. However, cooking complicated meals ensures you spend several hours on preparation, and then a lot of time on clean-up. To save time, try to make meals that have a single-recipe. Things like lasagna, casserole, and other dishes where you can focus on the main course, and not worry about a slew of sides and accessories. Not only does this make preparing dinner easier on you, but it makes cleaning up a lot faster. Less time, and less effort, means you can spend those resources on other things.

Hack #3: Put Together A Quick Bedtime Routine

Do you find yourself meandering when it’s time for bed? Do you pick up the living room a little,check your email, watch a video on your phone, and then you realize you should have been asleep more than an hour ago? That sort of thing happens to all of us, and one of the best ways to combat it is to put a bedtime routine in place.

Think of it like going to the gym. If you want to achieve certain results, you put a routine in place. Whether you’re toning, strength training, or just looking to maintain what you have, a routine helps you focus your mind and your body, getting you closer to your goals. A bedtime routine isn’t much different. You brush your teeth, wash your face, floss, and go through all the other motions of getting ready for bed. This sends a signal to your brain that it’s time to sleep, and you’ll find that going through the routine gets you ready to crawl beneath your blankets, and sleep like a rock.

Hack #4: Institute Lights Out

Bedtime routine

While you don’t want your kids to feel like inmates, sometimes it’s necessary to give them a hard “lights out” time. That means no quiet reading in bed, no sitting up on their phones and texting with friends; in bed, with the lights off.

This has two advantages. First, it gives your kids a bedtime routine they can get used to. Second, and more importantly, it gives you some quiet time in the evenings to relax, and start coming down from the day. You need some time for yourself, and sometimes you need to enforce some house rules to be sure you get it.