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Perhaps your daughter snuggles up with a stuffed animal or comfy pillow. Maybe your son reads a favorite story, flips on a night light or likes to be tucked in just so. Whatever your child's bedtime rituals may be, nightly routines are powerful signals that it's time to end the day.
In many families, these evening routines also include prayer. Whether a child's prayer is a poem — such as a variation on the traditional "Now I lay me down to sleep" — or a free-form petition, this nightly habit can serve as a foundation for a lifelong conversation with God. In fact, praying at least once a day is a religious practice of nearly six in 10 American adults, according to a recent poll by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life.
Prayer as part of a bedtime routine, physicians say, also can serve as a tool for healthful sleep. Steven Zorn, a sleep disorders specialist in Des Moines, Iowa, says consistent bedtime habits and restful evening behaviors can help children and adults more effectively transition their minds toward sleep.
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