A Simple Technique To Help You Sleep

I’m always jotting down ideas, including ideas for new blog posts to write. My big ideas and unique ideas I keep very close to the vest. The best way to present those ideas is by acquiring funding and presenting them under one umbrella. Think holism. But there are many other blog posts I can potentially (time permitting) do in the meantime. Case in point. Weeks ago, I jotted down the idea to maybe do a blog post covering what I will talk about below. Who knows if I would ever have actually gotten around to sharing this. But yesterday I saw on The Guardian website they’re seeking readership input for an article they’re planning to do on sharing useful tips for getting better sleep, and that provided motivation for me to push everything else aside and write this blog post. (I plan to fill out their form and direct them to this blog post to read about my tip for getting better sleep, which they are free to share with or without attribution.) Here’s a link to that “Tell us: what are your super-specific tips for getting to sleep?” callout, but I suspect it will disappear into the ether once it’s outlived its purpose. In all, besides the heading, subheading and caption, there are thirteen sentences in this callout inviting readers to share their top-tier tips for getting a good night’s sleep.

As a brief aside I’ll mention there’s at least one other person on this planet who employs the technique I’m about to share. A medical student once in conversation said he did this. I said “What? That’s exactly what I do!”

It’s a simple technique. While there’s nothing I know of that’s on the market that accomplishes this, a smaller-sized soft T-shirt is all you need. If you wear a medium or large, then use a small or medium T-shirt. Just pull it over your head, or specifically just over your ears — you want the ears to act as a “stopper” to prevent it from coming off. You want it to feel slightly “tight,” but only in a loose way. It should feel comfortable.

Now throw the rest of it behind your head (so you can see). But once you’re in bed and your head is nestled comfortably in your pillow, make sure you’ve placed that hanging down part of the T-shirt over your eyes so it doesn’t bunch up behind your head. That would make it uncomfortable.

This accomplishes several things. By covering your ears and covering your eyes, it reduces any disturbing or annoying background noise or sound, reduces light (which in turn signals for the body to produce melatonin) and insulates your ears. It might also create a pleasurable “pressure” feeling. Some research has shown benefits attributed to what’s referred to as “deep pressure stimulation” if you sleep with what’s called a “weighted blanket.” I don’t have one of those but this T-shirt technique might offer a similar benefit. Here’s a link to an article posted online about the benefits of weighted blankets:  “15 Weighted Blanket Benefits You Didn’t Know!,” by Mehran Uzair. For example, Uzair writes that “The weighted material inside the weighted blanket gives that light and stroking type of tactile sensation that feels similar to being caressed.” There could be something similar going on with this T-shirt technique. After all, the ears are considered an erogenous zone.

Also concerning ears, I can’t speak for yours but mine are sensitive to “cold” (even temperatures most people tolerate well). My ears want no part of it! I have Renaud’s phenomenon. That might be why I also sleep wearing a 100% acrylic turtleneck dickie (in all but the summer months).

Another tip for falling fast asleep is I sometimes think about a meal I’m planning on making the next day. It could be something simple. Like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with sliced banana (washed down with coffee, or Bigelow’s Lemon Lift tea). Perhaps centering your thoughts on anything in particular which you’re looking forward to doing the next day might have the same effect. Perhaps looking forward to listening to a particular podcast episode or finishing listening to one you haven’t yet finished might be motivation enough to help you drift to sleep. Think about it. The quicker you fall asleep, the sooner you can wake up feeling well-rested and get to whatever it is you were looking forward to doing. Another thing that’s worked for me throughout the years is I often don’t get to sleep until I’m utterly exhausted. But since that’s probably not healthy, I don’t recommend it.

So there you have it. My “super-specific” technique for sleeping like a baby. And if it helps, next time you’re counting sheep, imagine them all wearing turtleneck dickies with T-shirts pulled up over their heads.

(Correction:  I reworded this Nov. 12, 2023. “Turtleneck dickie” is a more accurately searchable  term. Still, for bedtime I might switch to something else I really love. It’s 9″ by 8.6 inches, 100% polyester and *just* covers the neck. It’s a really hard to find item! The only place I see it coming up is at an online marketplace which according to Wikipedia might use Uyghur forced labor — among other concerns — and it doesn’t even say what type of fabric is used.)