Itinerary for a Restful Night

Many of us find it hard to sleep, especially when you live in a city that never does. Here members of the RoomZoom team share what they do to help them fall asleep at night.




  1. At some point in the day get your body moving and break a sweat. I prefer the morning to enjoy the benefits throughout the day but it doesn’t matter when.
  2. Sometime in the first half of the day make a “stress list” I find this to be one of the most useful tools for dredging up whatever my brain has successfully compartmentalized and is unknowingly causing me stress. Once you write down a list of all your stress points, they becomes less scary. If you do this in the first half of the day your body and mind will have the rest of the day to acknowledge and calmly process before you go to bed.
  3. Eat dinner not too late and consider having half a glass (or more ;)) of red wine with dinner. I find red wine a seriously helpful sleep aid that usually doesn’t kick in until my head actually hits the pillow.
  4. After dinner, whatever you’re doing, reduce or eliminate screens in front of your face.
  5. An hour to an hour and a half before you want to go to sleep (and plan on 8 hours so that if it takes a while to drift off you still get a good 7) draw a hot bath.
  6. Soak for at least 20 minutes and go to bed right afterwards. Your muscles will be totally relaxed when you get into bed which helps a LOT with falling asleep quickly and staying that way till morning.


Lighting is very important for me. Once the sun sets, I need dim mellow lighting or my body thinks it’s daytime and will keep going until 2019.

  1. 7pm: Dinner + herbal tea. I have to avoid carb heavy food at this hour because they’re unpredictable: I’m either asleep in 30 or off the walls.
  2. 8pm: Set my alarm for tomorrow and the do not disturb setting comes on, along with just not looking at my phone. Of course my mother is unmuted because she’s my day one.
  3. 8:30pm: Nightcap, whether it’s at the pub or at home. I learned the language of music before I learned the English language and our relationship has always been a positive release of sorts for me. So this is about the time of day I pick up the guitar or sit at the piano and get out whatever’s really bothering me or whatever I’m super giddy about. Hurt and disappointment can be beautiful if accompanied by the right melody and chordal progression, which can help dull it.
  4. 10:30pm: If I came upon something I really liked during a jam session, I usually write it out and maybe write a few lines of poetry to help me get out the rest of what was in my system. I find journaling so useful in basically throwing up everything that’s on my mind so I can either revisit it at a later time or leave it on a piece of paper until eternity. Then, because I’m religious, I’ll find a passage that may be helpful to whatever trials and tribulations I’m going through that day or maybe I’ll read a chapter from Mark Twain.


Insomnia sucks, but melatonin works too well on me; it keeps me drowsy throughout the day. I try to save sleep supplements for special occasions, like jet lag.

  1. After dinner, it’s tea time. Tea is the secret to longevity, and I know this because I met a tea master in Taiwan who told me so ;). Tea not only minimizes snacking temptations, it detoxifies and relaxes your body. Chamomile and Dandelion tea have been my go-to flavors.
  2. After dinner I’ll clean my room so there are no distractions if I’m working on any projects.
  3. More tea and reading before getting into bed. Pick up a really boring subject: Optical Equivilence Theorum, Medieval Theories of Transcendentals, Nicholas Sparks novels, whatever does it for you. For me, it’s another page of Infinite Jest because I’m still on page 12 after five months. If you’re into exercise, doing laps around your apartment works wonders! 
  4. A digital detox before bed is something I try to do because avoiding social media wormholes is a daily struggle. To do this, I silence my phone and put it in the far corner of my room. This may be the only time laziness works in your favor! While it’s hard to avoid sounds and lights when you live in a NYC apartment, I make sure to close the blinds and turn off every light in my room so I’m cast in complete darkness.
  5. I have a habit of obsessively rearranging furniture, which is why my floors are all scratched. This is because I found that repositioning my bed when I’m at unrest helps me to rest. My favorite position? The corner of the room. Middle room bed placement makes me feel like the stepmother in The Parent Trap: floating in the middle of the lake on an inflatable mattress.



Graphics by Rachel Chou