I don’t sleep.
Most nights, my brain feels like the Selfridges Beauty Hall. Demented, panicking, sticky, indecisive thoughts do battle with imperious facts that reek of Aromatics Elixir. Everyone is screaming and showing off and acting up, hundreds and thousands of tiny mind people all yelling for attention next to MAC, and I lie very still, hoping that by not moving, I will trick the thoughts into stagnation, as if they’re only powered by the kinetic energy of my shoulders.
I have options. I could get up and try to see my demons off with a crappy glass of Merlot and a Canadian TV show about grouting. I could attempt to settle myself with some self abuse (although I do keep waking my boyfriend up.) I could have a rummage through the Walgreens Drawer in the bathroom cabinet, a stashbox of oblivion inducing painkillers that are only available in a land where having the opportunity to accidentally drown yourself in a bathtub is a constitutional right.
These strategies are all very effective in the short term, but I bump into enough furniture as it is – after a night of drugging myself to sleep, there just aren’t enough tables in the world for me to fall over. It gets harder. The body resists your entreaties. The angry thoughts return, clutching receipts, demanding their money back and clogging the disabled toilet of the mind.
Basically, I am very reluctant to sleep with myself. But is it any wonder that I’m so unsatisfied in the bedroom when I make less effort to get myself in there than a teenage boy trying to get laid in the Tikki room at Tiger Tiger? I’m insensitive, I’m unresponsive, I lie slack jawed, poking a screen, squinting, fretting about work and trying to think up funny comments about the telly. “You can sleep when you’ve filed!” is something I sometimes growl at my greasy, sad reflection, but you’ve never filed, you’re never done, there’s always a gag, an opinion, a pitch, a proposal, the one job that will tip you over into safe success – the thing that will take you from hustler to courtesan. As a journalist, for every big name/tell your Mum/Julia Roberts gig you get, there will be ten you can’t say no to, even though they’re the writing version of standing at the bottom of your street with a sign that says “Anal for 20 quid”. And weirdly, they’re often the ones that keep you up.
But when you’re not the president, or a doctor, nothing is worth losing sleep over. You can hang on to your “Eight Best Hats!” or for that matter, your “Top tips for an email marketing strategy!” until you’ve evacuated the Beauty Hall of your mind and hit the pillow. And you’ll make more dollar if you invest some back in sensible sleeping patterns. Tomorrow is a new day, with no mistakes in it. Or it will be if you try out these products and get a decent night’s kip. No more falling over tables.
Elemis Quiet Mind Room Mist, £15
This is chloroform in cedarwood clothing. Spritz the bedroom, spritz the pillows, breathe deeply and your knotted self will be coming undone quicker than a useless Boy Scout’s neckerchief.
Floris Night Scented Jasmine Bath Essence, £55
Sometimes, when I’m working from home and feel like hurling my laptop out of the window, or at the very least sending a group email telling everyone I know to die in a fire, I go to the bathroom and inhale jasmine fumes until I’m fixed again. It’s as effective as a potion in a story book. Leave the bathroom door unlocked, otherwise anyone wanting to get you out might have to break it down.
Bubb and Dimples Chillax Organic Nourishing Body Oil candle, £35 (large), £8 (small)
This brand could be my favourite new discovery of 2013. As I edge towards 30, I am losing my scepticism about organic skincare, and starting to think that nothing is going near my skin unless it’s bloody organic. The range was created for sensitive skins, and it’s probably safe enough to eat – in fact, it’s very hard not to eat this candle because it smells just like warm milk and cinnamon cookies. Inhale until you feel like you’re on your fourth mug of rum enhanced Horlicks, then rub the warm oil into your neck and shoulders. Make sure this happens in your bedroom, otherwise you might instantly fall asleep in the bathroom, or at the top of the stairs. If you’re still awake and a fan of body butter, cocoon yourself in their Shea butter with Vitamin E.
Roja Dove Laurent Perrier Candle, £75
What could be more glamorous and sophisticated than retiring to your bedchamber with a flute of champagne. A champagne candle, that’s what. Sometimes, I try to trick myself into sleeping by imagining that I’m face down in a bee free lavender patch in the middle of Provence. It’s a technique that has varying degrees of success – but this guy does all the work for you.
Penhaligon Lavandula Bath and Shower Gel, £25
If classic lavender isn’t going to soothe you to sleep, you’ll need to try reimagined lavender. This embraces you with sweet white flowers and fresh green leaves, energising you and your bath before it calms. This isn’t going to make you forget your troubles – but it will make you feel that you can clear your mental desk and get a decent night’s sleep so you can deal with anything that comes your way in the morning.
SAI SEI Mineral deep moisturising cream, £32
I often wish I could work in my sleep, but as my lazy, good for nothing brain can’t seem to manage it, I’m letting my skin get stuff done. This is the perfect product for post bath application, as it gets absorbed into your skin more quickly than your index finger can delete a Voyage Prive email. The delicate scent will make you feel like you’re sleeping by the sea – and you’ll wake up smooth in the morning.