Most nights, I have trouble sleeping. Some strange people would attribute this to overzealous caffeine consumption or general laziness throughout the day, leaving me with an unnecessary store of energy by nighttime.
While those things may be contributing factors to my sleeplessness, it's all ignoring the main problem. I just can't turn my mind off most of the time. In order for me to even dream about catching a wink of sleep, my thoughts need to wander down pathways of nonsense and absurdity, which can't happen if I'm obsessing about whatever's going on in real life.
So I usually put some music on in my headphones to fall asleep. And I've learned from experience which music always facilitates the state of mind I need to be in to achieve unconsciousness.
Firstly, it can't be music that's too quiet. If it is, my mind stupidly makes an effort to hear it, and keeps me awake. Repetitive songs tend to work better too. Think of them as mantras, chanting you to sleep.
Here are my go-to albums to put on while I lie awake for hours:
Pink Floyd - Meddle
It's my favorite Pink Floyd album and the one I've fallen asleep to more than any other. I think it's the way it starts with their hardest-rocking song ever, then segues into one of their prettiest acoustic guitar songs. Check how the wind noises are the only thing that connect the two songs:
R.E.M. - Fables Of The Reconstruction
This one works every time. It's got this weird baroque Southern gothic vibe that R.E.M. never really attempted again. Which is a shame because they could've forged an entire career out of this sound.
Benton Falls - Fighting Starlight
I talked a little about this album in another post. What I didn't mention was the incredibly potent barbiturate properties it has. It's pretty much all languid tempos, jangly guitar picking and relentless unhappiness. In waking life I'm hardly ever in the mood for that, but when I crave sleep, I crave this.
Stereolab - Switched On
Sometimes you just want to get lost in waves of pleasant sound.
Chantal Kreviazuk - Colour Moving & Still
This one song alone can get me to doze even when I don't want to. And if it doesn't work, I'm still glad I listened to it.