In today’s lightning-fast, technology ridden world, our society is becoming more and more sleep deprived. In the US, more than 40% of the population is getting well below the recommended 7-9 hours a night. This chronic sleep deprivation has a multitude of negative health effects, ranging from heart problems, a weakened immune system, poor mood, weight gain, and even faster aging! The old-fashioned concept of getting your “beauty sleep” is one of those traditional words of wisdom to actually live by. Your body repairs itself while you sleep, giving your insides – and outsides – a chance to heal. When you’re well rested, your skin is more refreshed, and you can avoid those pesky under eye circles and bags. I am an absolute freak about getting a good night’s rest. I’ve lived in four houses since I moved to LA: three in London before I moved, three during college, and a gap year in Australia right after leaving home. That’s a grand total of twelve bedrooms! I’ve rounded up all of my tips for transforming your bedroom into a sanctuary, and I can confidently say from experience – this is not to be underestimated in achieving restful sleep every night! (PS. Shop this cozy pyjama set by Asceno here)
Lighting, in my opinion, is the first step. I feel that restful, comforting lighting is best achieved through low wattage beside lamps (below 100 watts), and lampshades in soft, neutral tones. Window coverings are a matter of personal preference – some people need a pitch black room to sleep well, while others need the natural light seeping through in the morning to wake up (like me!). On the weekends, it’s nice to draw the shades to create a darker atmosphere, so you don’t feel pressured to get out of bed. So I like thick curtains or plantation shutters, which are also a great way to add texture to your room.
Many of you might think I’m crazy by saying this, but I highly recommend not putting a TV in your bedroom. I know, I know… I enjoy watching TV in bed just like anyone else (and always look forward to watching TV in a hotel bed), but it has been proven that TV before bed disrupts sleep cycles that make it harder to fall asleep and cause you to go to bed later. Take advantage of the time before bed to unwind, read a book, enjoy a hot bath, meditate, connect with your partner, etc. It’s so important to avoid having anything that emits an electrical signal in your bedroom, other than lights and music. Computers, TVs, mobile phones, and especially a modem, are proven to mess with sleeping patterns. I even put my phone on the opposite side of the room while I sleep.
The equation is simple: less fuss, junk, and mess in the bedroom, the better you will sleep. My mind always feels clearer when there’s less to look at or worry about in a room. That goes for a cluttered bedside table, so buy one with drawers to hide away your lip balm and magazines. Invest in storage to have a place for strewn clothes, books, and knick knacks.
More than any other room in the house, a bedroom’s color, fabric, and ornament choices should soothe and shield us from the outside world. It’s also a place to display personal sentimental items (on my wall I framed a large vintage silk Hermes scarf that I might’ve stolen from my mum, ha! It reminds me of her whenever I walk by). I have some of my favorite artwork and photos framed in the hallway leading to my bedroom, as well as some Charles Dickens books that my granny gave me displayed next to my bed. Personalizing your space and adding certain decorations and accessories can add to the relaxation factor. Hues are important to consider as well – perhaps strong colors are your thing, but try selecting softer or lighter colors within the same palette. Muted tones are much more relaxing for the bedroom.
What’s On/In My Nightstand
I always keep a small vase of fresh flowers (usually peonies) next to the book I’m reading at the moment. I also have a little china dish to keep my most frequently worn jewelry in. Inside my drawer, I keep Badger organic sleep balm to rub on my wrists and temples each evening. The mix of lavender, bergamot, and rosemary helps to clear the mind before sleep. I also always keep a notepad and pen in the drawer – if my mind is racing with ideas, writing them down can help me get back to sleep.
My favorite bedroom flowers are: 1) Freesias: they remind me of an English country garden; 2) Hydrangea: Tied with peonies for my all-time favorite flowers, these just make any room look beautiful. I love the purple, green and cream shades; 3) Delphiniums: Tall and statuesque, the zingy purple variety look beautiful all bunched together; 4) Peonies: Pink and feminine, you only need four or five of these whimsical, voluminous blooms to fill a vase; 5) Herbs: They give any bouquet a quaint charm, and smell delicious.
I always light a scented candle on my bedside table at the end of a long day. Picking your scent is important. Just like when you’re running a bath, the fragrance you choose will set the ambiance. My favorites are Diqtyque’s Baies or Henri Bendel’s Tuberose for moody, romantic nights. Just remember to blow them out before you sleep! My all-time favorite that I buy in bulk is Beach by CocoCozy. The scent is refreshing and balancing for the daytime, to wake me up in the morning. Also, a drop or two of essential oil on a lightbulb releases the scent of the oil gradually into the room.
Make a bedroom playlist! It’s so fun. I have one for the mornings that gets me up out of bed, motivated, and out the door ready to take on the world, and also a mellow version to relax with at night. Your sound system should be the only technology in your bedroom!
Beds and Bedding
Buy the best bedding you can afford. I used to scoop sheets up in a rush, barely opening the packet to feel them first. But since you spend so much time your bed, it shouldn’t be an afterthought. I love crisp white sheets, but try them in an interesting embroidered or scalloped version from Serena & Lily, Overstock.com, Gilt.com and Wayfair.com. All have high-quality sheets and bedding at wholesale or discount prices. No brainer! Another tip? Change your bedding with the season. Don’t leave the same duvet on year-round. Try switching to a lighter blanket once the weather warms up, and go for a cozy comforter during the colder months. Also – always make the bed! I find that it makes crawling into the bed at night so much more relaxing.
What are some of your nightly rituals for catching zzz’s? Share them in the comments below!