How To Stop Being Tired

Ear Plugs
Elemis Quiet Mind Bath Elixir
Sleep Mask

Us apartment-dwelling New Yorkers are allowed to complain about, or at least mention, being sleepy. The kind of tired where everything moves a tic too slowly and you wish you could just lie down to expire like a settler on The Oregon Trail™—though instead of cholera, the cause of death would be "Craigslist Roommate." We stopped trying to ford the river and retain all our oxen a long time ago, and now we've simply learned how to rest well despite our surroundings. Here are a few techniques for catching all the zzzz's that your schedule will allow:

Use Some Herbal Essences
Take that imperative as you will, but our herbs of choice are valerian and melatonin. Valerian is a natural sedative and melatonin is a rest-cycle-regulating hormone, so you should check with your doctor before you start using them. Long story short, they work brilliantly in some cases. If daytime stress or timezone changes have disrupted your sleep clock, a combination of these two can help knock you back out. Maybe not as effective as Ambien, but also a lot less likely to make you hallucinate while driving. Or eat cigarettes.

Try Aromatherapy
Once you're groggy from the OTC sandman meds you ingested right after you got home, it might be a good time to take a bath with some therapeutic essential oils. We spend a lot of time at the Gloffice, and to unwind, sometimes a tubful of warm water infused with Elemis Quiet Mind Bath Elixir is very necessary. If you're fidgety or had a hard day, forcing your muscles to relax can help your mind relax, too. Even if you don't have magic tub oil, consider just making yourself sit somewhere quiet and dark for twenty minutes or so. Anything you can do to feel a little less wired helps. Some members of Team ITG are even lowering their caffeine intake to help with this, although for the safety of your family and friends we'll caution that only some people can really handle going sans coffee. H. Gillerman also makes an essential-oil-infused Sleep Remedy, which you dab into a Kleenex and inhale slowly several times before hitting the sack, but be warned: it made Nick have crazy dreams. But some of our editor friends swear by it.

Get Physical
Daily exercise gets a lot of credit for helping people sleep better, but by "physical," we mean literally using any tactile object at your disposal to create a dark, silent vacuum where rest is the only option. A light, breathable, perhaps cashmere sleep mask and good earplugs can cover a multitude of (other peoples') sins. Opening—or closing—a window should also never be underestimated when it comes to acoustic comfort.

If all else fails, pour yourself a glass of wine, put on some jazz, get a little tipsy, and then yell at the people who are keeping you up—sometimes a little confrontation is what it takes to get a good night's sleep.

Photos by Mathea Millman. 

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Ailyn Koay

    I hear apples are good

  • Anne

    From psych classes during my under grad programme we learned about melatonin and that it is useless for most people as a self medication. Useful information about that here:
    I think the best is always to establish a good sleep hygiene, eg put electronics away and read a book (kindle, ipad etc is NOT a book), dim the lights etc.

  • petal

    HAHAHA love the last paragraph

  • eastvillagesiren

    Must try the WF brand of Valerian. I find chamomile tea with a little honey is good, along with putting a few drops of undiluted Lavender oil on my pillow.

  • JCE

    Kiwi fruit, for reals

  • Martina

    A small lavender pillow.

  • Mademoiselle nature

    Magnesium is really great to use as extra when you feel a bit stressed or tired. Super safe as any excess gets naturally eliminated :-)

  • Isabel

    I know New York is loud and all, but nothing is loud like a student house with the single glazed window from your bedroom facing out onto a four lane road in Liverpool with two bus stops literally less than 10 metres from your window (do you know how loud old buses are when they stop and start? They may as well have been in the room with me). There was a shooting on my road, and guns are loud. Basically, I do not recommend those foam ear plugs at all. If you really need to block out noise, try those silicone ones that you can use to keep water out of your ear while swimming. They mold to your ear but you don't actually stick them in the ear canal, so they're more comfortable, too.

    • Katy

      The only bummer about the silicone ones is that your hair get stuck in them.

      • Isabel

        That's true, I forgot about the hair thing. I always had to tie my hair up to sleep with them in. Still better than foam, though, in that they actually block out sound. Always a bonus in earplugs.

    • ITGLacey

      I was writing this story in my bedroom overlooking the FDR freeway while my roommate played How I Met Your Mother reruns on full blast and the ice skating rink downstairs was bumping the Frosty the Snowman soundtrack, so I feel you.

      • Isabel

        Christmas songs on repeat in January, is there anything worse?

    • eastvillagesiren

      Great tip, I will switch to silicone form foam. Awful that you have to deal with gunshots.

  • NadFor

    Great tips! I'd say exercises are the best way to get energy and good sleep :)

  • Charmystique

    Love the tongue-in-cheek feel of this post!

    Aromatherapy is really awesome, those essential oils do help you relax! If you're on a budget, Johnson's Baby Bedtime Oil works wonders. A quick massage helps it absorb quickly into your skin, so you can get comfy in bed right after without feeling like an oil slick.

    Please visit my blog - or follow me on Bloglovin' -

  • Androbel

    hahaha love this! I agree with aromatherapy!



  • blow LTD.

    Sold on the last paragraph...

    Blow LTD.

  • bluesky557

    If only I could get my 2 year old on board with these. And also get him to stop waking up at 6am....

  • zhou laoshi

    I'm a big fan of these: I like their Rescue Remedy stuff anyway for general anxiety, and these plus herbal tea make for a very soothing bed time ritual.
    Apart from that and just generally trying to be healthy, the biggest things that help I think are controlling light - dimming the lights and not using electronics right before bed - and training yourself to see your bed as a place for sleeping by not doing work/watching tv in bed. I'm not always great at following that last rule, but when I force myself to stick to it I sleep so much better.
    Also, I am definitely one of those people who can't go sans coffee, but no coffee past noon is a great rule!

  • murt

    Ya completely agree on keeping the room completely dark and quiet - earplugs plus blackout drapes or a sleep mask help me the most.

    Also for some reason I sleep best when the room is extremely cold, so I keep the window slightly open in winter.

  • thejulia

    Loud noise is definitely annoying, but insomnia doesn't always respond well to more gentle solutions like eye masks or chamomile. I find that the routine of putting on the mask (mine has lavender in it too) and ear plugs can help, but will do nothing against insomnia.

    I used to take ambien when necessary (until I read all the scary stories). Now I take an herbal sleep supplement I got at Whole Foods too- main ingredients are a poppy extract and valerian. It's definitely an opiate, with that poppy extract in it, but it's very gentle and I wake up feeling great. If anyone needs to pick it up, it's called Deep Sleep, made by Herbs, Etc. It doesn't work the first night, but by the third time I took it, I was asleep in less than 10 minutes. I still don't recommend taking this sort of thing every day, but when you need it, you need it.

  • Kaitlyn

    Yogi Bedtime tea is my shit. It has Valerian Root, chamomile, and some other herbs that promote relaxation.

  • Behind the Mirror

    wow you read my mind, I am soooo tired lately. I don't think it is a roommate situation as much as just this winter is a bitch… I can't even muster the energy to go out. I have many a thing to do at home alone. Check it out if you would like, it is quite enjoyable.

  • Karen F

    A lavender bubble bath followed by a glass of red wine and bamboo sheets on my bed=a good sleep.

  • joannanyc

    I find white noise or sleep sounds are helpful too. You can just run a fan.

  • Fashiinruelle

    Unfortunately melatonina is not working for me, I always have big headache the next day :( I read books and I am trying to całym down.

  • Teckie

    There's also an alarm app called "Sleep Cycle" that wakes you up in your lightest sleep state. It works for me... I'm not as crabby because my alarm woke me from the dead.


Nature's Herbs
Nature’s Way Valerian
Melatonex Melatonin with Vitamin B6 Tablets
Elemis ‘Quiet Mind’ Relaxing Bath Elixir
H. Gillerman Organics
H. Gillerman Sleep Remedy
Alpine Sleepsoft Earplugs
Catbird Cashmere Eyemask