How To Weep In Public
How Lena Dunham Falls Asleep When She’s Anxious

To get to sleep, Lena Dunham says she often has to go through an extensive "coziness visualization."

See more about this Episode
Whether we're staying up way longer than we'd like or waking up in the middle of the night, most of us have a hard time getting the sleep we need. But falling asleep when you have anxiety is even more of a challenge — as Lena Dunham can attest. In the first installment of R29's own How To Weep In Public series on RIOT, Dunham details the extensive (and hilarious) "coziness visualization" she turns to when she's struggling to drift off to dreamland. "I understand the amount of self-glorification, delusion about how the world works, etc. that's involved in this," she admits to host Jacqueline Novak before opening up.
The fantasy begins with Dunham abroad, teaching residents of another country about birth control, but the authorities there don't believe in what she's teaching. So, naturally, she and her friends are kidnapped — at which point Dunham escapes and brings back help to save her friends. "Like they did for Lisa Ling's sister, Bill and Hillary Clinton come on a plane to get us, and they're like, 'You were so brave, you should rest before we get back to the U.S.,'" she explains. And then she can drift off; it's the earned coziness of the plane ride that helps her fall asleep, she explains. This one is actually a more grown-up version of another falling-asleep-fantasy she's used, Dunham says, in which "somebody would tell me to sleep for 24 hours and wake me up only to force me to eat a bowl of pasta." Dunham suggests it's that safe, warm feeling at the root of these visualizations that makes them work: "We desperately want to be cozy," she says, "and there's not enough [of that coziness] in real life to contain us." Weird? Yes, but when it comes to getting a good night of rest, the lesson is: Whatever works for you is worth doing.
Lena Dunham Jacqueline Novak How To Weep In PublicReleased on May 17, 2016

R29 Original Series