Fall Asleep Without Counting Sheep

Having recently moved to New York City, I’ve found countless challenges and annoyances when it comes to falling and staying asleep. My situation is a bit more challenging than most considering that I live in a room with a faux wall (i.e. it’s as thin as cardboard), with a large window at the top of said wall (the living room TV is constantly flashing into my room), in a ground level apartment, and three doors down from a popular bar. However, I’ve found that a combination of these inexpensive and easy sleep aids helps me get a good night’s sleep. If these items can help me my seemingly impossible sleep situation in the concrete jungle, they can surely help you wake up feeling fully rested and ready to take on the day.

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Eye Mask

The idea of wearing an eye mask usually conjures images of Holly Golightly peering out from a silk mask, but she might have had the right idea on wearing this accessory. Even if you think your room is dark, you might be surprised by the smaller light sources you don’t take into account, alarm clock, television, laptop charger, lights from semi-sheer curtains, that can easily be blocked out by wearing a sleep mask. Eliminating any light as a stimulus that might keep your brain distracted makes it easier for you you fall, and stay, asleep resulting in a better night’s rest.

Ear Plugs

Foam ear plugs are extremely inexpensive and can be bought in packs of multiples. They muffle most annoying sounds like the ones I hear from outside my windows, but still allow me to hear my alarm going off in the morning. Ears are dark and moist, so plugging them with the foam ear plugs can create environments that bacteria thrive in. To avoid ear infections be sure to replace your ear plugs every so often. Normally, while we sleep ear wax drains from our ears (gross, but true), thus, cleaning them out. However, wearing ear plugs makes it difficult for the ears to drain properly. Clean out your ears regularly to avoid impacted ear wax.

Sleep Cycle App

Sleep Cycle App for iPhone tracks your movements as you sleep, and wakes you up when you’re at an optimum sleep cycle to feel most rested when woken up. Set your phone for a time period of 30 minutes that you want to be woken up. Then, place your phone face down on your bed, fall asleep, and wake up feeling rested! Be sure to plug in your phone before you go to sleep, as this application uses quite a bit of battery. I made the mistake of skipping this step (even though the application has a warning) and woke up the next morning an hour late with a dead phone. Have you ever had that feeling when your alarm goes off that you are still dead tired, even though you got plenty of hours of sleep? This app helps avoid that dreaded feeling, leaving you more energized throughout the day.

Using one or all of the quick and inexpensive solutions can help you get a longer, and better night’s sleep making you more energetic and productive throughout the entire day.


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  • Reply September 25, 2013

    Margaret Mulkerrin

    Awesome piece Tess!! I often struggle with sleep patterns. I had never heard of the Sleep Cycle App!

  • Reply October 3, 2013

    When I was living in Asia, foam earplugs saved my life! I lived by a busy highway and there was literally no hope for me to sleep without them.