“You’re either in your bed or in your shoes, so it pays to invest in both,” maker of fine shoes and fellow sleepyhead John Wildsmith once noted. And so in keeping with those little wellness rituals that make a big difference, I’ve been working on some changes in search of a better night’s rest. After all, at eight hours a night, we spend a third of our lives in bed!
FLAX LINEN SHEETS
After finding that pure linen bedding stays warm in the winter and cool in the summer, wicks moisture without feeling damp, and has one of the smallest footprints of any fabric, I was sold on trying linen sheets. One week into making up the bed with an organic linen set, there’s no way I’d go back to anything else.
Our linen sheets and duvets are from Veratex, Restoration Hardware, Ikea, and a Russian tailor I found on eBay. There are some beautiful made in USA options from Linoto, Rough Linen, and Etsy’s handmade options. If you’re on a tight budget, West Elm, Pottery Barn and Linenshed also have some solid linen sets.
I’m sleeping better, waking up through the night less often, and the linen slub gently massages my skin every time I hop into bed. They cost around twice as much as my usual sheets, but from what I’ve read I can expect these to outlast my tattered Calvin Klein sheets by many years. Linen won’t pill, is stain repellant, and gets softer with every wash. Maybe that’s why, at a century old, heirloom French metis sheets are still so sought after in vintage shops – good linen can last a lifetime.
Jan 2017 update: All our linen sheets and duvets are still going strong, even the Ikea sets. We keep three sets of sheets for two beds, so that one is always resting and there’s always a spare in case we host an unexpected guest!
Another big part of what can determine a good night’s sleep can be how much natural and artificial light I’m exposed to throughout the day and close to bedtime. A big help has been f.lux, a free Mac and iPhone app that adjusts your computer screen temperature to match outdoor lighting as the day fades. Eating lunch outside, taking a Vitamin D supplement, leaving overhead lights off after sunset, and adding black-out roller shades to bedroom windows can also help if you’re a fellow soul with phototrophic leanings.
Calming down before bed is also a big part of making sure I’ll sleep soundly through the whole night. This means no coffee after noon and shutting off work after dinner as much as possible. And while it would be totally disingenuous to say I spend most nights with a book (find me most often puttering away online or sunk into a good Netflix documentary), that f.lux app does help make sure I’m avoiding bright blue lighting after the sun goes down. I also try to have a round of yoga or a quick stretch before bed, and will update my to-do list, write down a few things I’m grateful for each day, and take time to gather what I’ll need for the next day before my head hits the pillow.
HERE + THERE
Last but not least, perhaps more important than what’s kept in the bedroom is what I’ve learned to leave out of it. Earlier this year I replaced my nightstand with an ottoman and said goodbye to using the bedroom as a place for the television, family photos, work bags, and absolutely all papers outside of one notebook and a good book. My cell phone goes on airplane mode at bedtime, and I try to charge it away from the bed. Besides a cozy sweatshirt, all my clothes are put away in the wardrobe or the hamper.
I do keep my beloved Oille Naturals face serum, a good body lotion, a tube of chapstick, a blanket, eyeglasses, and a few Diptyque candles within reach. A combined fan/heater/air purifier/humidifier can also be found close by to add white noise (and save us from heating and cooling the whole house all night). A comfy rug goes underfoot along the side of the bed, and throughout the room I keep all colors light and neutral. These little steps help me to look at the bedroom as it should be – a sanctuary meant for rest and relaxation.
So far these updates have led to more restful nights and brighter, better mornings, but I’m left with just one problem – now I never want to leave the bed!
What’s your recipe for the perfect bedroom?