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5 Time-Tested Bedtime Relaxation Techniques to Try Tonight

A woman holding a teacup, while reading a book.
Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

If you’re having trouble getting to sleep, you might find rest sooner if you end your night with some relaxation techniques. These five bedtime rituals can help ease you into a good night’s sleep!

Hot Drinks

Two drinks that have been go-to’s for ages on sleepless nights are warm milk and hot chamomile tea. What is it about these beverages that help to calm an unquiet mind?

Warm milk helps largely due to the placebo effect, although, it’s certainly a pleasant one. It was once believed the tryptophan in milk made people tired, but there isn’t enough in one glass of milk to do so. Still, it’s as calming to drink as anything else that’s warm.

Chamomile is an herb with a calming side effect, but it’s not the only herbal supplement found in teas that can help with relaxation and sleep. Valerian root, lavender, passionflower, lemon balm, and magnolia bark all have stress-relieving qualities that will help you relax and get some sleep.


If you’re struggling to get to sleep at night, consider listening to some calming music or a guided meditation. The right music or words recited in a soothing voice can help you relax and clear your mind. It’s kind of like being “hypnotized to sleep.”


Reading takes you out of the stress of reality and allows you to think about something else for a while. It also makes some people sleepy.

It could be because you’re not ruminating on the day’s happenings, or simply because you’re lying in a comfortable position that your brain decides it’s bedtime.

Searching for a good book to dig into? Check out NPR’s Book Concierge for recommendations.

Make a List

Got a lot to do tomorrow or this week? Chances are, all those things you’re trying to remember not to forget are contributing to your insomnia.

Instead of trying to memorize that to-do list while you’re trying to fall asleep, write it down! Making a list for the next day will help clear your mind; plus, you won’t have to worry about forgetting to do something.

You can use any ole pad of paper, of course, but you might find it easier if you keep a small pocket notebook on your nightstand. Then, in the morning, you can just grab your notebook and go!


Certain scents can also make you feel calmer and more relaxed at night. However, it varies from person to person. Peppermint might be relaxing for some, but invigorating to others. Vanilla might remind you of your grandmother baking cookies and, therefore, calm your nerves.

Long believed to be one of the most relaxing scents, lavender does help increase the ability to sleep and decrease anxiety. You can use it, or any other essential oils, in a relaxing bath or in a diffuser by your bed.

If you want to get that soothing lavender scent without soaking in the tub or fussing with a diffuser, try a pillow spray.

Stress keeps lots of people awake at night, so finding ways to decrease it might help you get a better night’s sleep. If none of our tips help you out, though, definitely talk to your doctor about further ways to combat your sleeplessness.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow is a professional writer with two decades of experience. She has written and edited for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and more. Yvonne is a published poet and short story writer, and she is a life coach. Read Full Bio »
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