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:

  1. Add large vats of extra virgin olive oil from Costco to my online cart. Honestly, it’s the best deal out there.
  2. Recount every awkward moment I’ve ever been associated with.
  3. 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.
  4. Seethe over what Amber Smith (name NOT changed) did to me on Pyjama Day in the fourth grade.
  5. Watch every IG Story in my feed, even the truly rotten ones. “You guyyyyyys, I’m getting SO many questions about my skincare routine.”
  6. Thoughtfully debate getting bangs.
  7. Research wiener dogs.
  8. Send my friends obscure memes and creepy selfies to wake up to.
  9. Wonder why my friends still like me.
  10. Ponder what Jason James Richter  is up to. #FreeWilly
  11. 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.)
  12. Write this article.
  13. Sign online petitions.
  14. Punch my pillow and cry a little bit.
  15. Stare at the ceiling fan and count the rotations.
  16. Revisit the storyline of me rescuing a wiener dog.
  17. 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.)