Sleep Like A (Literal) Baby
swaddling myself with the Sleep Pod makes bedtime comfy, cozy, and cuddly
I have a terrible case of idiopathic insomnia. My whole life, I've been plagued by a complete inability to fall asleep at night. When I was little, my parents called me "Popcorn" because I was always "popping" up out of bed at night. By the time I hit college, I was accustomed to running on just a few hours of sleep. Back then, my insomnia felt like a superpower, giving me extra time in the day and letting me stay up all night to party or work on homework.
But we're not meant to go without sleep, and around my mid-twenties, it became clear that I needed to do something about it. I tried everything from melatonin to bedtime rituals to medical marijuana, then turned to the professionals. After a six week intensive therapy regimen with a sleep doctor, I finally got a handle on my sleep issues...for the most part.
At my last sleep therapy appointment, my doctor handed me a customized "Relapse Prevention Plan" that she'd developed and printed out for me. She made it clear that I had to stick to my plan, keep working on my sleep, and not let insomniac relapses get me down. I was bummed out - no one wants to have to work at something indefinitely like some late night Sisyphus. But there's no quick fix when it comes to sleep problems like mine, so I continue to do my best.
When the 2020 pandemic hit, the life changes and added stressors combined to give me a whopper of a relapse. It's no surprise - even people without pre-existing sleep disorders are having trouble sleeping these days, a phenomenon dubbed "Quarantine Insomnia."
In late March, I ended up staying up for three days straight, trying to "hard-reset" my sleep schedule after one rough night snowballed into another. This is when my sleeplessness collided with the great algorithm that rules all of our online lives. It turns out that if you check Instagram a bunch in the middle of the night, it will start feeding you all sorts of ads for gizmos, gadgets, supplements, and podcasts designed to help you sleep.
It's genius, when you think about it - a program senses that you're up later than usual, so it figures you must be having trouble sleeping. Anyone facing down the prospect of a fourth sleepless night is going to be a prime target for a product that promises healthy, comfortable sleep.
Unfortunately for most of these advertisers, I'm a lifelong insomniac, and I've tried just about everything on the market. I wasn't going to be swayed by aromatherapy diffusers, dimming lights, or soothing audio recordings. I scrolled past each ad, feeling a pang of jealousy for the peacefully sleeping models in each one, wishing there really was a magic bullet that could make things that easy.
Then I came across an ad for the Sleep Pod by Hug Sleep. It's a soft, stretchy "cocoon" that lets you climb inside and be gently squeezed on all sides. And it looked incredibly cozy.
I was intrigued. I already knew the science behind this sort of all-over deep pressure, because I have a weighted blanket that I love and often sleep with. The research supports this, and even before we developed weighted blankets and deep pressure therapy, mothers throughout history have swaddled babies tightly to help them sleep.
I've always loved feeling snuggled up - as a kid, I would pile up pillows and stuffed animals to surround myself in bed, and as an adult, I'm notorious for bogarting the comfiest seat around, whether that's a giant beanbag or a bird's nest style chair. Being "tucked in" or "burritoed" in blankets never fails to make me smile.
Still, I wasn't sure about spending money on yet another gimmicky sleep aid. I'd tried plenty over my lifetime, and it's rare that one actually delivers. But my birthday was coming up, and I was struggling to come up with a gift list. I figured it would be a neat thing to try out, especially if it was on someone else's dime. So I sent my boyfriend a link to the ad I'd seen, asking if he wanted to get me one.
When it arrived, I was skeptical - but as soon as I climbed inside the Sleep Pod, I never wanted to leave it. It was perfect. I felt snug as a bug in a rug - literally. When I finally dragged myself out of the Sleep Pod, my boyfriend tried it out, and loved it so much he ordered one for himself!
I was worried that the Sleep Pod would be too warm, especially since we live in a desert. I actually found that it kept me really cool, since the stretchiness of the material keeps most of it off my skin, maintaining a little bubble where air can flow. It can be a bit cumbersome to get in and out of, but that's actually good, because it keeps me still and relaxed rather than fidgeting and getting up for every random thing. No more "Popcorn" - I'm more like a corn dog, or maybe a tightly wrapped sushi roll.
If you're someone who, like me, struggles to relax and fall asleep at night, or if you just really like being wrapped up in cozy comfort, check out the Sleep Pod!