I have learned a little trick that helps me fall asleep. I leave an electric fan running all night on its lowest setting. It doesn’t even have to be pointed at the bed, although it helps in the middle of summer. The key is to create enough white noise to block out all the other extraneous sounds that could wake you from your slumbers. If I’m fighting insomnia, I focus on listening to the hum and that usually knocks me out before too long.
Things get a little trickier when I go camping, because electric fans aren’t an option. In that case, if I set up the tent next to some rustling poplar trees or near a babbling brook I can still get my fix of white noise. Fait accomplis.
But when I’m at home, I have the additional luxury of drifting off to sleep with a carefully selected late night playlist on my iPod. There’s a couple of dozen really good songs on that playlist; frankly, anything by Iron & Wine or Bon Iver will dispatch me with a pencil & notebook to Sheep Census country in minutes. But my favourite bedtime song is “How Do You Say Goodbye?” by a group called Engineers, from their self-titled 2005 record.
There’s lots of arpeggiated guitars, droning keyboards, and dreamy vocals. Layer upon layer seem to unfold at a lethargic pace, taking the scenic route home. It sounds great while kicking back on the sofa in the evening, but this song is even better when heard from that hazy waiting room between wakefulness and sleep.