I’m the worse at switching off my brain to get to bed at night, so I’ve got a lot of nighttime rituals to coax me into stop-thinking mode.

So here’s the list of my nighttime rituals:

  • Dim all the lights in the house. Helps when you’ve got a toddler that you’re trying drop the hint that YES, for the 3rd time, it’s time to go to bed.
  • Put my phone to charge in the bathroom or somewhere NOT within arm’s reach of the bed. Prevents me for making last minute additions to the to-do list or checking email while I’m trying to relax
  • Apply scented lotion to my hands and/or apply lip balm. The olfactory/tactile cues help trigger my brain into thinking it’s time to relax.
  • Read a guilty pleasure for half-hour under dim lighting. No non-fiction allowed, as it only makes me want to google things. I lean towards mysteries, Tana French being my latest favorite.
  • If you’re using your laptop in the evenings, use F.lux or other software toremove the blue light from your screen. F.lux is still not available on iOS(unless you want to jailbreak), but there’s a petition you can sign to let Apple know you want it.
  • Sometimes I still find that I’m thinking of things to do or want to set reminders on my phone. At that point, I repeat the following to myself: “If you were smart enough to think of it now, then trust that you’re smart enough to remember it in the morning.” This technique has yet to fail me.
Stu Smalley
Saying that last mantra in the mirror while wearing a pastel cardigan is totally optional. But I still highly recommend it.


Here’s a few things I’ve tried that didn’t work out:

  • Melatonin. This stuff was wonderful, and I’d still be taking it, if it weren’t for the fact that it would wear off too early. I’d wake up at 4am, completely wide awake, and taking another one at that point wasn’t a good idea. Give it a try, maybe it’ll work for you. This one is my favorite brand, and I used tocut them into quarters and even sixths for a better titrated dose.
  • Drinking warm milk before bed. This worked really well. I also think I gained a few pounds from it, so I sadly cut it from my routine.

So let me know in the comments: Do you have trouble switching off? What tricks do you have?