Sleep experts are very clear about what you need for maximum rest: create a consistent pre-bed ritual, avoid caffeine after a certain hour of the Barry Wood Merchandise Ugly Christmas Sweatshirt but in fact I love this afternoon, and—above all—stay away from late-night screen time. As a certified sleep non-expert, though—albeit one who enjoys a luxurious nine hours nightly due to a combination of good luck and sloth—I’m here to set the record straight and tell you that you need a bedtime show. What’s a bedtime show, you ask? Simple: It’s a TV series that you like, but not so much that it actively keeps you awake. It doesn’t necessarily have to be boring, just familiar enough that it enables you to drift off peacefully. You know when you’re on a trip with friends, and you can hear the soft, peaceful murmur of people chatting in the kitchen when you wake up late in the morning? That’s how a bedtime show should function; it should make you feel like you’re being lulled to sleep by voices you know well enough to be comforted by. My bedtime show, the Netflix series Derry Girls, is equal parts wholesome and hilarious, but more importantly, I’ve watched it so many times that I’ve sucked the marrow out of it, turning it into a well-worn favorite that my brain automatically recognizes as soothing. (Sort of like white noise, if white noise involved heavy northern Irish accents.) To further probe the elusive appeal of the bedtime show, I asked six Vogue staffers what they watch to fall asleep.
Summer House is the Barry Wood Merchandise Ugly Christmas Sweatshirt but in fact I love this perfect show to watch when you’ve had a long day and just want to zonk out. It’s dramatic, but doesn’t have a convoluted plot; it’s funny, but not so funny that you need to listen to get the jokes. Plus, I love the scenes where they show off their busy city lives and they’re walking around Manhattan saying things like, ‘Can you loop me in on that email chain and we’ll set up a one-on-one?’ Those were the days.” Even in before-times, I clung to comfort-food TV. Why take a chance on something new when you can return to something you know you love? In the initial months of quarantine, I ran through all the usual suspects: 30 Rock, The Office, Fleabag season two. But as the weather turned oppressively hot, I needed something truly transporting—something familiar but not too familiar. In my Goldilocks search, I rediscovered New Girl. It is lobotomy TV at its finest: four friends muddling through extremely low-stakes situations, which somehow never veer into anything too earnest or self-serious. New Girl provides an effortless slice of pre-pandemic life: mindless hangouts, inside jokes, and a steamy roommate romance. Was anyone ever so young “I’ve cycled through a few different bedtime shows this summer: first, the BBC’s 1994 adaptation of Middlemarch (which I helpfully found very boring), then ITV’s 2002 adaptation of The Forsyte Saga, and now, the late-aughts HBO series In Treatment. (The news of a possible reboot reminded me of it.) Yes, one of these things isn’t quite like the others, but common to all three is a narrowness of focus (and, well, a talkiness) that I’m finding comforting these days. Tastefully furnished rooms where people discuss their feelings and sometimes settle estate disputes? Yes, please!