All the Things I Do When I Can’t Sleep
Plus: 8 products that can actually help you K.O.
For 32 years of my life, I was an excellent sleeper. Brag-worthy, even. As a child, a falling tree narrowly missed my bedroom roof during a twister. Didn’t flinch. I once fell asleep in front of a blasting speaker at a party. Pools of drool (my new band name) would form on my desk during class. The term “narcoleptic” was tossed around like a cute badge of honour.
When people would complain about their misadventures in Tossing and Turning Land—including my ex-boyfriend, a lifelong insomniac—I would yawn unsympathetically and retort, “Sorry, can’t relate.” So it’s only fitting that after three decades of being an A-hole, I’m now being tormented by the anti-sleep fairies. To be clear, I do sleep. Just not in long spurts or with a lot of regularity. The formula for my insomnia is pretty simple: 1 part stress + 2 parts anxiety + a healthy dash of way too much cold brew. (Sounds familiar?)
It can be lonely laying in bed with no shut-eye in sight. But, I’ve found creative ways to pass the time, and sometimes they even help me doze off. At least for a bit.
Things I do instead of sleep, a comprehensive list:
- Add large vats of extra virgin olive oil from Costco to my online cart. Honestly, it’s the best deal out there.
- Recount every awkward moment I’ve ever been associated with.
- Watch YouTube videos of middle-aged moms doing grocery hauls and meal prep. I don’t actually care, but I do find solace, so I thank you, Tammy.
- Seethe over what Amber Smith (name NOT changed) did to me on Pyjama Day in the fourth grade.
- Watch every IG Story in my feed, even the truly rotten ones. “You guyyyyyys, I’m getting SO many questions about my skincare routine.”
- Thoughtfully debate getting bangs.
- Research wiener dogs.
- Send my friends obscure memes and creepy selfies to wake up to.
- Wonder why my friends still like me.
- Ponder what Jason James Richter is up to. #FreeWilly
- Listen to oddly specific podcasts. (Hauling Ass, a podcast solely dedicated to hauling and rating bougie candles with Ed Droste is ~very~ important to me.)
- Write this article.
- Sign online petitions.
- Punch my pillow and cry a little bit.
- Stare at the ceiling fan and count the rotations.
- Revisit the storyline of me rescuing a wiener dog.
- Listen to the local racoon community make sweet, sweet, screaming love in the alley.
While I do find comfort in these things (read: finally get bored enough to drift off at 4 a.m.), I’ve found a proper bedtime routine, less cold brew and a few key items help me get snuggly-wuggly and ready for my long, very boring journey to Sleep Town, USA.
If you struggle with sleep, too, I hope some of these rigorously tested-by-me products can help you, too. Night! (JK.)
Products to *Actually* Help You Sleep
1/8 Lush Sleepy Shower Gel
Soothing lavender washes away the worries of the day and helps me feel relaxed. Keep the water hot and let your bathroom get nice and steamy.
Sleepy Shower Gel, starting at $10, lush.ca
2/8 Dermalogica Sound Sleep Cocoon
I’m nothing if not a sucker for putting expensive things on my face. But this is LEGIT. I’m on my third helping. French lavender, sandalwood and patchouli will help you to chill out and wake with a perfectly plumped complexion.
Sound Sleep Cocoon, $115, dermalogica.ca
3/8 Ikea Bedspread
GULVED is my boyfriend. We get to it every night. I’ve heard good things about weighted blankets, but I cannot handle being too hot or held down. Natural fabrics like linen are sustainable and breathable. Highly recommend this guy.
Gulved Bedspread, starting at $90, ikea.com
4/8 Hot Water Bottle
This is a total grandma move, but damn if it doesn’t work. Turn on the kettle while you’re readying yourself for slumber and slip this into your sheets. If a sweater-wearing bottle is too precious for you, the regular old drugstore variety is just fine. *Hot tip* Do not add boiling water to this. It can and eventually will split the rubber, splash out and scald you.
Hot Water Bottle Ivory Step Stitch, $30, indigo.ca
5/8 This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray
As the name implies, it works. Spritz your pillows and bedding with this fast-acting lavender and wild camomile-scented magic for a more restful snooze.
This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray, $34, sephora.com
6/8 Veeva Sleep Roll-On
If you’re ticklish, this one might take a minute to get used to. Roll the aromatherapy oil onto the balls of your feet and prepare to be wowed by an almost instant sense of calm.
Veeva Sleep Roll-On, $15, livingscience.ca
7/8 Deew Dream Cream
Give the people what they want. And by people, I mean me. And what I sometimes want is a little medicinal help. This made-in-Canada cannabis cream is thick and soothing. Keep it by your bed and lather onto your arms and chest.
Dream Cream, $38, youdeewyou.com
8/8 Slip Silk Sleepmask
Not only does it help my busy brain shut it down via complete darkness, but 100% pure silk is not messing around. It lets the skin around your eyes breathe so you’ll feel more hydrated in the a.m. Plus, I like to think it’s preventing wrinkles. I have absolutely no proof.
Slip Silk Sleepmask, $70, sephora.com