Alternatives To Counting Sheep


U up?

In this case, maybe the more apropos question is just how long have you been up. Since 5AM? 3AM? Or was that when you were finally, miraculously, able to hit the hay? There’s no “snooze” button for the brain (not even hidden behind the ears—we checked), and in stressful times like these, it can be a lot easier to count every speck on your ceiling than address the thoughts that keep you up. A small consolation? Everyone seems to be in the same boat. We put out a call to find Glossier HQ’s best sleepers, and they shared the little tools that help them get to sleep and stay asleep. If you find yourself restless in the wee hours, try going down this list until one of them works for you. Chances are, something will.

Try An Ingestible

“I drink a cup of Egyptian Licorice Mint Tea, which I don’t think is actually specifically meant for sleep. I just like it because it’s so nice and warming and kind of feels like the tea version of a weighted blanket. Then I deploy my blackout shades.” —Alena King, Art Director

“My boyfriend bought a bottle of Nature Made Magnesium to help with anxiety, and when I noticed the bottle in our bathroom and saw "muscle relaxation" on the label, I took one. This stuff has helped me fall asleep like nothing else I’ve tried, probably because I hold a lot of stress in my neck, shoulders, and hips. (Which doesn’t help when you’re trying to fall asleep.) I take one about an hour before bed.” —Elly Penning, Associate Manager, Email Marketing

“I drink Sleepytime Tea about 20 minutes before bedtime. It’s a combination of chamomile and spearmint, and aside from being very tasty it soothes my anxious brain. I watch Sex and the City reruns until I get sleepy, and then when I’m ready bed, instead of counting sheep I count everything I’m grateful. Soon enough…” —Katerina Correa, Associate Manager, Performance Marketing

Or Out-Braining Your Brain

“I’m guaranteed to fall asleep within 15 minutes of reading a book (on paper, or on my kindle). A few books I read this year and loved are Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman, The Ride of a Lifetime by Bob Iger, and a great Nordic-noir thriller called The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen. I’m currently reading L'Anomalie by Hervé le Tellier, which won the Goncourt literary prize.” —Roxane Cosnard des Closets, Manager, Financial Systems

“If I can’t get to sleep, I journal. I typically just go through my day and write anything that happened, even small details—I find the more I have to think and remember, the more tired I get. I have a lot to emotionally unpack as of recently and writing out my thoughts is so draining that it makes me tired within like 10 minutes. If I ever have a super boring or uneventful day, Suleika Jaouad’s newsletter sends out daily journaling prompts created by her and guest contributors to promote journaling more, especially through isolation!” —Bianca Garcia, Social Media Associate

Hit Play On Some Soothing Sounds

“I found these videos in my YouTube recommendations, and randomly started watching. I honestly have limited knowledge about the creator—I know she’s a designer living in Japan, but that’s pretty much it. She posts silent vlogs doing things like cooking and fixing broken bowls, and I find them really relaxing to watch before sleep. I am saving it to watch one per day since she doesn't have a lot of episodes.” —Iris Liu, Senior Accountant

“I’ve been using TV or radio noise to fall asleep since I was 10 or 11, so it's pretty Pavlovian for me. Netflix will play like a podcast if I watch it on my iPad—I have other streaming platforms, but in my opinion they’re not as good for sleeping. I queue up a show I’ve already seen, close the case so it’s dark, and hide it under my pillow. I used to play West Wing or The Office, but now that they’re off of Netflix I go with Schitt’s Creek.” —Emily Ferber, Brand Strategy

“Usually The Great British Bake Off is enough to put me to sleep, but on nights I feel really restless YouTube ASMR can always get me there. I go straight to Karuna Satori, who I stumbled upon a few years ago, and try to find a makeup, hair, or personal attention video. At first it seems really weird—there’s a lot of whispering, mouth sounds, and tapping. But you’ll know it’s working if you feel a tingly sensation in the back of your head. After a few minutes my lids grow heavy, and I have a hard time keeping them up. Then, I pass out. Once my phone screen times out, it shuts off for the night.” —Ali Oshinsky, Associate Editor

Headspace was originally an app for meditation and mindfulness, but in the last six months they’ve really stepped up their game in the sleep space! I love the headspace Desert Campfire Sleepcast, which is a guided wind-down with someone speaking. It has different exercises so you don’t get bored—last night it was a breathing exercise, the night before it was a visualization. And the Ocean Dock Soundscape makes me forget that I’m in a tiny apartment with no nature! Most of the sounds run for 45 minutes, which is enough for me—I haven’t ever been woken up by sound once I’ve fallen asleep. But if you’re into sound for the whole night, there are other recordings that run for up to 500 minutes. I cast them through my Sonos through my phone, but if I’m not at home I just play them through my phone.” —Emma-Jane Leung, Special Projects

The Full Monty

“I had a really hard time sleeping and have spoken a lot with my primary care about good sleep hygiene. My pre-sleep ritual is super important. I try to keep everything as consistent as possible—brushing my teeth/washing my face at the same time, trying to sleep at the same time. Then I do a 5-10 minute sleep meditation on the Peloton app. I really love the instructor Anna Greenberg—her voice is sooo soothing. I turn my phone over, and when the meditation is over it just turns itself off. If I find I'm tossing and turning, I don't get back on electronics. I get up and go into the living room and do something (read on my kindle, meditate more, listen to white noise or other soothing music) else until I’m ready. I only want to be in bed to sleep so my body knows it’s not a place to hang out. And if I really can’t sleep, I take Unisom or ZzzQuil.” —Sara Craun, HRBP for Tech & Growth

And The Last-Ditch Fail-Safe

“I count backwards from 100, and every time I mess up or lose track of where I am, I start over. Usually I don’t make it past the mid 70s!” —Elizabeth Sotchko, gTEAM Supervisor

Photo via ITG