Six Gifts For the Person Who Can’t Fall the F*ck to Sleep

Insomnia is the worst. Be a hero this holiday season with these sleep-inducing gifts.

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We all know that person, or perhaps we are that person- the one who just can’t f*cking sleep. Unfortunately, I heavily identify with the insomniacs of the world. I could list some statistics about how common it is to have bouts of sleeplessness or some kind of sleep disorder, but truthfully, you’re probably reading this because you or someone you love just wants to fall the f*ck to sleep.

Legal gifts for these people that you can buy *not* on the black market exist. This list is not an ad for any product, and also, consult doctors before use, and all that good stuff. But let’s get to it so that you or someone you care about can just !#%$ sleep for once, dammit. Out of all of my years of sleeplessness, these are the gifts that I have found to be the most helpful, in no particular order, with their typical price range. (Fun tip: ‘more expensive’ definitely has not equated to ‘better’ with these gifts, in my experience.)

1. Soothing LED Lights

Help the mind prepare for sleep by using any number of relaxing LED lights. Trick the mind into believing it can do this. Force that overstimulated machine to calm down. Bonus points for LED lights that come with a remote control, so that when ready, the anti-sleeper can turn them off without moving and without fear of burning the house down overnight. I personally use dark blue and off-white Christmas lights because they’re like $3, but any search for remote control LED lights will set you in the right direction and won’t even completely decimate your bank account.

Typical price: ~$15–35

2. Lavender Essential Oils and Pillow Spray

Lavender is a longstanding remedy to aid in falling the !#%$# to sleep. It’s supposed to help with anxiety and induce a deeper, more rejuvenating sleep through something about black magic and GABA receptor action. Whatever the reason, I swear I always sleep a little more easily and deeply when I roll some lavender oil onto my wrists, temples, and neck. Beware of allergies or scent sensitivity and give it a try.

Typical price for essential oil singles: $3–15
Typical price for a pack of essential oils: $10–30

3. An Essential Oil Diffuser

My brother and sister-in-law got me a bamboo, light-changing oil diffuser a few years ago for the holidays and it’s one of my favorite relaxation, deep-sleep gifts to this day. Turning this on before bed signals the brain to calm the !#%$#@ down and get ready to take on the impossible task of sleep, especially with the deep blue light softly radiating into the room. I keep mine in my bedroom so that it fills the room with the scent of lavender and eucalyptus- another scent associated with aiding sleep. Add in some essential oils that are safe to put on the skin and hear tales of your tortured gift receiver delightfully passing the !#%$#@&%* out for once.

Typical price: $15–30 with higher range options into the $60s

4. Blackout Curtains and an Eye Mask

Is the god forsaken sun disrupting slumber? Eliminate it from the sleeping habitat for good with these two important items. Blackout curtains changed my life, and come with the bonus perk of keeping the heat of the Arizona sun out of my home. They come in all shades and patterns and they’re worth every penny. However, be forewarned- by engaging with blackout curtains, the sleeper is committing to being permanently disoriented in the morning and having no idea what time they’re waking up. It could be 2am or it could be high noon. Consider rolling them up a little bit on days with important mornings meetings and letting some natural light roll in. If the issue is coming from within the room, such as electronics kept on all night by a sleep partner, or an obnoxiously piercing yet practical night light, eye masks are the answer. Eye masks come in all forms, and truthfully, my favorite are those kind you get for free by flying the red eye on JetBlue. They’re lightweight, easy to travel with, and they block out all the damn light. Especially not knowing what to expect when staying at another person’s home, I never travel without them.

Typical price for blackout curtains: $10–20 per panel
Typical price for an eye mask not from a major airline: $5–30 (I’m willing to bet the small, satin eye masks for $5 are amazing)

5. A Subscription to a Meditation App

I don’t have the !#%$#@&%*! patience for meditating, but I started to make myself do it anyway. Even a quick 3–5 minute body scan is so relaxing that my mind actually calms down and I notice my heart rate slow and my muscles settle. Trust me when I tell you that if I can meditate, anyone can. Several apps meant for meditating and relaxation have guided meditations that can be sorted by time and topic. Some of them even have sleep courses built into them. Another perk of these apps are that they have relaxing music and sounds that allow my ears to trick my brain into understanding that I am super !#%$#@&%*%$& tired even when it insists that it is not. My personal overall favorite is Insight Timer, but Breethe has my favorite instrumental playlists for sleep, and Calm is a favorite across the board. Fun tip: download free trials or monthly versions and pick the favorite to subscribe to- it’s worth it for the premium subscription perks.

Typical cost: $70–100 per year (some also have monthly and lifetime subscriptions)

6. Wireless In-ear Headphones

What better way to listen to those magical meditation apps than with in-ear headphones that cancel other noise and also double as earplugs? There is none. These are the answer. Especially practical for people who are highly active during the day or listen to a lot of music while participating in a sport, these bluetooth headphones are so good for so many reasons. The best part? My favorite pair cost me $20 on Amazon, the bass is amazing, they fit snugly in my ears, and they’re waterproof. So !#&*$# functional it hurts. Buying big brand name headphones is a waste of money. You don’t have to sacrifice sound quality, noise cancellation, practical additional features, or durability for a low-cost earbud. While my favorite pair is currently out of stock, a quick web search will help you. Don’t be afraid of the cheap ones, but check the ratings and make sure they have 4+ stars. If the sleeper falls asleep with them in, the bluetooth feature ensures that they won’t accidentally strangle themselves with cords in the night. And did I mention they basically double as earplugs?

Typical price: If you’re paying more than $35, you’re doing this gift all wrong. Check out the $18–30 range and be amazed with the results.

I Mean, They’re Worth a F*cking Shot

When tea, diphenhydramine, doxylamine, melatonin, Magnesium, Valerian root, earplugs, doctor’s visits, the entire Target OTC sleep shelf, sleep studies, animal sacrifices, and herbal remedies fail, getting some damn peace and falling the !#$% to sleep might still be possible. What better gift to give than sleep during this holiday season after an especially anxiety-inducing year? If I missed something great, help your fellow insomniacs out and add to the list in the comments.

Written by

Passionate about reframing the narrative around sexual violence and immigration. Health & Fitness. Runner, Traveler. OG Student. Believer in the Oxford comma.

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