Gifts for the Aspirational Sleeper 


Sleeping is a wonderful activity, and one of my personal favorites. My editor Erin recently described me as “a sloth trying to accomplish a series of tasks,” which I found very apt and also upsetting. While most healthy adult Americans consider themselves lucky to reach 8 hours, I am always striving for more, more, more. 9 hours, 10 hours, 12 hours plus a nap—is there something wrong with me? Maybe, but let’s not dwell! The point is that I like to treat my body like a hibernating bear might treat her body, and when you do something this much, you tend to get pretty good at it.

Is there someone in your life like me, who loves to sleep, who revels in it? Who is constantly working to make her sleep experience cozier, fluffier, more satisfying? Or perhaps you know someone who struggles to get that shut-eye, who might benefit from a little sleep curation? I have some suggestions:

Glowy string lights

This set of Urban Outfitters twinkle lights is definitely the best $34 I have ever spent. String lights are not for sleeping, per se, unless you’re scared of the dark or something—they are great for protecting you from one terrible consequence of the otherwise glorious late afternoon nap, which is waking up in the pitch black dark at 6 pm, disoriented and afraid—but they are ideal for that magical pre-sleep time when you are reading, or listening to a podcast, or having some consensual body2body fun times with your partner of choice. If you don’t want to be bathed in this golden glow, then I really am not sure what your deal is! (Urban Outfitters, $34)

Fancy nighttime tea

There is something very decadent about drinking a cup of chamomile tea before bed. I don’t do it often—I have some sort of mental block around brewing myself a drink that won’t make me productive or drunk—but whenever I do it’s a very cozy and calming experience, and one that tends to preface a top-notch snooze. (Harney, $2 and up)

A light-up alarm clock

I’ve never actually used this Philips alarm clock, because I have very sunny windows with white gauzy Ikea curtains that I’m too lazy and dumb to replace with something sturdier, but I’ve heard it is a truly gentle and life-changing way to start the day. (Philips, $114.99)

A bedside plant

Houseplants are great for a) making a dingy apartment less depressing, b) tricking visitors into thinking you are a self-actualized adult, and c) improving the air quality of your living space. Do you want your loved one to be attacked with invisible toxins while their body tries to recover its equilibrium after a hard day’s work?!? Of course you don’t, so get a plant for them to put next to their bed!

(Note: you probably don’t actually *need* a plant to clean your air, and even if you do, this very expensive two-inch chamaedorea elegans will probably not do a very robust job of it—it looked so big on the website! My bad, I was tired! But if you’ve got cash to burn, The Sill is your best destination for fancy-ass plant delivery.) (The Sill, varies)

Ear plugs

Ear plugs are the obnoxiously dedicated sleeper’s best friend, and these ones are cute, comfy, and reusable. Does your gift recipient have a loud roommate? Are you your gift recipient’s loud roommate? Highly recommend! Just don’t only give them ear plugs, because that’s kind of a depressing gift. (Amazon, $5.67)

An eye mask

An eye mask, much like ear plugs, is a must-have for any self-respecting sleep enthusiast, especially the kind who spends a lot of time on airplanes. I don’t have one, personally, because I can pretty reliably fall asleep while sitting up in a chair in broad daylight, but again, that’s just me—for people who aren’t borderline narcoleptic, I’m sure eye masks like this Catbird set are very useful. (Catbird, $24)


Melatonin is nature’s valium, so if you’re not interested in gifting actual hard drugs, this is your next best option. If you know someone who’s got mild sleep issues, or who’s frequently overcaffeinated, or is a college student who regularly stays up till 4 AM studying on stimulants and then lies in bed staring at her ceiling until dawn, slip ‘em a bottle of these bad boys before they have a nervous breakdown. (Nature Made, $4.80)

A faux fur throw

Sure, no one needs a white faux fur throw for their bed, just as no one needs, say, a hug on their birthday, or an extra-large chocolate chip cookie every day around 4 PM. That doesn’t mean you don’t deserve it. I personally have not indulged in this purchase, because I have a white cat who sheds a lot and the idea of his fur mixing with this blanket until it’s mostly invisible cat hair really bums me out, but it makes for a very nice (if somewhat pricey) gift. (H&M, $79.99)

Sleep, by Max Richter

Composer Max Richter, who is responsible for the truly incredible score of HBO’s The Leftovers, recently debuted an 8-hour album designed to guide the listener through their sleep cycle. It’s very weird, and very beautiful. (iTunes)

A pretty duvet cover

Everyone knows that you can’t get a good night’s sleep under an ugly duvet. Literally everyone knows that! This one from Society6 is pretty cool, especially if you’re shopping for that very specific type of person who frequently Instagrams their bed. (Society6, $80.10)

A white noise machine for babies

When it comes to sleeping, I’m not really sure why we don’t treat ourselves like the colicky infants that we all truly are, deep down. Sure, a $70 air circulator (which, according to Target’s description, “doubles as an excellent white noise element in the nursery”) sounds a little extreme for a holiday gift, but if someone gave me this, I would never forget it for as long as I lived. (Target, $70)

Contact the author at [email protected].

Images via the respective vendors. Illustration by Gawker Media art team.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin