Last Call: What helps you sleep?

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Last CallLast CallLast Call is The Takeout’s online watering hole where you can chat, share recipes, and use the comment section as an open thread. Here’s what we’ve been reading/watching/listening around the office today.

When you combine a pandemic and social distancing and then throw in a lot of social media and time alone with one’s thoughts, you get a perfect recipe for anxiety and sleeplessness.

An article published on Inside Hook earlier this week looked at some research that has been published about how eating habits affect sleep. Unsurprisingly, caffeine and alcohol are both bad; so is eating too close to bedtime. Foods that are high in fats and carbs can cause “micro-awakenings” overnight. Those also happen to be the foods sleep-deprived people are most attracted to. It’s a whole vicious cycle.

There are, however, two foods that may help with insomnia, at least according to scientific studies: kiwis and Montmorency cherry juice. Both should be consumed an hour or two before bedtime. (No one has any precise data on exactly how far from bedtime.)


It has never occurred to me to kiwis or cherry juice could be soporifics, but hey, why not? Here’s an incomplete list of methods I have used: exercise (specifically running and Yoga With Adriene’s bedtime yoga practice), reciting song lyrics in my head, deep breathing exercises, warm milk, melatonin, long conversations with my stuffed dog Bridgie, obsessing over unkindnesses I did years ago, the journalism of John McPhee.

What helps you sleep?

Aimee Levitt is associate editor of The Takeout.

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I find reading nonfiction books (on paper, not a screen) while lying down works to knock me out if I’m tired. Something interesting but not to the point of “wow! this changes my life!!!”, and it helps if it involves brainwork — the combination of exhausted brain and exhausted body and lyting down and not wanting to hold up/prop open the book... zzzz-ville. Good luck!

Re: obsessing over past unkindnesses -- my meditation practice mentions that a way to not obsess is to do kind things going forward in similar situations. If making amends isn’t possible, not repeating the unkindnesses with others going forward helps show that a lesson is learned and contrition is showed in not repeating them. So, in a sense, every time you don’t do what you did, there’s evidence of sincere remorse and apology to the person or animal you can’t apologize to. Good fortune to you in letting go of these things and forgiving yourself. You do good in many realms, this website being one of them.