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.
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.
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.