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How to Sleep If You Live in the City

14 Sleeping Tips For City Dwellers

My boyfriend and I recently moved to a bigger apartment. The place is great, with one minor exception: it's located on a major 4-lane road. No complaints about dwelling in the heart of a beautiful city (isn't that every 20-something's dream?). However, my grumpy, sleepy self forgets the perks when, at precisely 3:51 a.m., a full-fledged motorcycle gang roars by just outside the bedroom window. "Can't it wait till the daytime?" I groan, stuffing a pillow over my face and internally freaking out that I won't fall back asleep before my alarm buzzes.

Needless to say, since settling into the place, I've been forced to master the art of snoozing in a loud urban area. Ahead are 14 tips for my fellow downtowners who just want to hibernate peacefully.

  1. Invest in a sound machine. One reviewer says of this highly rated one, "Go ahead and buy it (the world ain't getting any quieter)." Fair enough.
  2. . . . And a slightly noisy fan. Since I'm a light sleeper, I use a fan in conjuction with my sound machine. It may seem like overkill, but for me, it's just enough kill.
  3. Try a DIY sleep salve. Soothing smells have the power to quickly whisk you off to la-la land.
  4. Use ear plugs (when you have to). I suggest using ear plugs sparingly — only during those nights when it's impossible to drown out the racket — because you want to be sure you'll still wake up for work in the morning.
  5. Read a book. A low-key, mellow book will leave your lids feeling heavy in no time, no matter who's shouting something incoherent on the sidewalk below.
  6. Wear an eye mask. Busy cities are loud, but sometimes the biggest distraction is the brightly lit street. I keep my blinds tightly closed at night, but a sleeping mask is the easiest way for light-sensitive sleepers to resolve the issue.
  7. Eat the right food in the evenings. Bananas, nuts, yogurt, and leafy greens are a few things you should munch on prior to hitting the hay. Sugary treats and drinks? Not so much.
  8. Purchase a good pillow. An extremely cozy pillow will go a long way in helping you doze amid the clamor.
  9. Make a sleeping spray. Mist this mix over your face to calm your nerves.
  10. Buy a thick blanket. Covering your ears with a plush, double-layer blanket can muffle thundering engines or rowdy people.
  11. Don soft pajamas. Don't even think about throwing on those slinky PJ's that are too tight for comfort. When it comes to catching those zzz's, soft and loose is a nightly essential. (And if your heart desires, go naked!)
  12. Plug in an air purifier. They can be on the pricy side, but an air purifier will get rid of any dust or smog that may be lingering in your room. Healthy lungs = improved slumber.
  13. Meditate in bed. Centering yourself before going dark will cleanse your brain, supplying a clean canvas that's crucial in mentally blocking the hectic metropolis.
  14. Monitor your shut-eye. Tracking your sleeping patterns will help you figure out how well the above tips work for you — and what, exactly, you need to adjust.
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