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Discussion > Off TopicAug 4, 2022 8:00 am CT

What is your comfort content? What games or activities help you wind down?

Some days are just rough. You struggle through, get to the end, and hit the mattress only for this thought or the other to keep you awake until the wee hours. And then, of course, the following day is a wreck as you haven’t gotten nearly enough sleep to function.

This is the closest we get to a universal human experience, other than belly buttons. But there are ways to cope! Some folks love chamomile tea and counting sheep. Others swear by warm milk and meditation. Still more espouse Dr. Pepper and Diablo. Actually, that last one is not a solid plan, as it’s usually my recipe for blasting at the start of a new season.

I am neither a doctor nor a particular genius at sleep hygiene. But there are some things that make the coming day a little more bearable, even when the sleep meter is particularly low. Once I’ve chased sleep two or three times (generally with a break or two between to stretch my back), I’ll usually turn to one of a few options: a gentle audiobook, a cozy mystery novel, or a soothing app on my phone (yes, I just felt every sleep doctor on the planet wince).

Each option is for a different situation. I go for the cozy mystery when I’m feeling particularly anxious and need something to wrap my brain up like a big fluffy blanket. Conversely, audiobooks are the winner if I’m just at the edge of sleep and need something rhythmic to get me there — Neil Gaiman’s “Norse Mythology” and Stephen Fry’s “Mythos” are old reliable friends at this point.

And mobile apps? I don’t turn to these very often, because I do actually try to respect good sleep advice. But there can be a particular point of brain spiral where I’ll need something to kick my thoughts into a different path. I tend to restrict my options most here — lately I’ve been using Sorting Therapy on my iPhone. It’s very chill; you are presented with a few colors and order them from lightest to darkest. There are no timers or achievements. You just sort and relax. I tend to pick the darkest set when it’s night and always keep on my blue light glasses.

Are these foolproof ways to get to sleep? No. But they calm my mind enough that I don’t feel quite so awful and angry with myself when I inevitably have to get going the following day. And sometimes, that’s all you can ask for, right?

So tell me in the comments — do you have a foolproof method for getting your Zzz’s? Or are you more like me, where some nights you just muddle through? We’d love to hear from you!

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