Once upon a time—July—I could sink easily and immediately into eight hours of sleep. I listened smugly as friends and co-workers complained of their Tylenol-PM addictions. Then I moved from a quiet, tucked-away corner of New York City—yes, such a place exists—to a street-level apartment not far from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. I developed an irrational fear of bedbugs, began fretting more about work, and passed a birthday that seemed to mark the expiration date for my once-reliable ability to fall asleep shortly after guzzling coffee. Traditional sleeping pills seemed too extreme, even the over-the-counter kind; I just needed to calm down a bit. So when I heard about a new category of drinks called “relaxation beverages”—essentially, the inverse of Red Bull—I decided to test out a few. I even saw some romance in the idea—after all, Rip van Winkle didn’t drowse off after an Ambien or two. Medea didn’t lug a really excellent SoundSpa relaxation machine with her when she and Jason were going after that golden fleece. Harry Potter didn’t nosh on a tryptophan-heavy meal after he saw Lord Voldemort. A sleeping potion, as I began to think of these liquids, seemed the way to fix my problem with panache.
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