Before reading today’s short post, I just wanted to thank my incredibly talented fiancée Rachel Tingle for creating a logo for this newsletter! She posts her creations and illustrations on Instagram, where you can follow her @liltingz or @rayricreates.
I’ve heard that, in order to fall asleep quickly and efficiently, you need to make your pre-sleep routine as boring as possible. Simply put, I’m astoundingly bad at that. Before I even get in bed, I’m watching YouTube videos and listening to music. You could say I also fail at this because I never actually fall asleep to silence. I usually have something on in the background functioning as a kind of white noise. The thing is, though, I never fall asleep to actual white noise. Sometimes it’s a podcast. Sometimes it’s a YouTube video. But typically, it’s music.
I’ve been falling asleep to albums since my freshman year of high school. Some of these records were M83’s Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, Bombay Bicycle Club’s A Different Kind of Fix, or Passion Pit’s Manners, to name a few examples. All of these are albums I still love, and falling asleep to them regularly made me love them even more. Admittedly, there are some tracks on each of those albums that aren’t exactly sleep-friendly. Ironically, Passion Pit’s “Sleepyhead” is thoroughly obnoxious, but that’s part of why I adore it.
Since then, I’ve fallen asleep to a wealth of records that span a wide gamut of genres. I’ve drifted off to hazy ambient music such as Julianna Barwick’s Healing Is a Miracle, gritty blues-rock like The White Stripes’ De Stijl, and boisterous hip-hop such as SOB X RBE’s GANGIN. I’m fairly open to falling asleep to almost any genre or artist, so long as I’ve already heard the album and enjoy it. You also probably observed in that sentence that I’m capable of falling asleep to notoriously loud music. I believe this is a mildly inhuman ability I’ve cultivated in the past decade or so. How do I doze off to what some people include on their workout playlists? Frankly, I’m not exactly sure, but that won’t stop me from exploring the concept altogether.
It’s tremendously difficult for me to fall asleep when I’m surrounded by pure silence. My mind is constantly occupied by what I need to work on, when I’m going to work on it, and when I need to finish it. Such is my anxiety-riddled brain. I have problems taking breaks for myself or relaxing in even the most elementary fashion. I look at my planner approximately 900,000 times on a daily basis (I’m getting better at it, though!), and that unhealthy obsession with completing tasks seldom leaves my brain, even when I’m lying in my bed in a completely dark room. It still affects me even then. I need a form of distraction, so I turn to music most of the time.
I have an exceptionally busy mind, and I need something to help quiet it, at least temporarily when I need to rest. This is why I occasionally turn to loud music at night. It envelops my surroundings in all of its disarray, taking up my entire room to guide me into sleep. The clamorous guitar noise section in Sonic Youth’s “Silver Rocket?” It works! The booming 808s in Vince Staples’ “Yeah Right?” It works, too! The pure pandemonium of SOPHIE’s “Faceshopping?” Yes, even that works!
If you find yourself struggling to fall asleep with nothing in the background, then I suggest putting on one of your favorite albums. It’s often comforting to listen to some of your favorites while allowing your mind to rest. Honestly, it’s the way I’ve fallen in love with some of my favorite records, and they’ve helped me get a good night’s sleep when nothing else could.