Sleep is something I always took for granted – something which was easy, non-eventful, a daily occurrence which I never thought much about. That was until it started to become an issue; with sporadic spurts of insomnia, interrupted and broken nights, always a struggle to fall asleep, night sweats… Suddenly, that easy and carefree ritual, become a real-life struggle for me.
When that said, I´m not surprised as to why this has happened. Being digitally connected near enough 24/7 – living in a world which never stops; no matter what time zone you’re in. A constant stream of news feeds, updates, alerts… Sharing our life stories online, with constant comparisons to others “real life” stories. Everything is so fast paced and quick; blink, and you´ve missed it (no wonder we as a nation has such a rise in stress levels!). Sometimes, I feel like my head is going to explode.
Many people who meet me for the first time, expect me to be the most zen and calm person (not quite sure why that is!). Although this is definitely something I´ve been working towards for the past few years, by taking real actions towards creating a more balanced, and realistic lifestyle for myself; I´m also an incredible emotional and sensitive person (a true Cancerian, in other words) – and tend to absorb my surroundings like a sponge. Meaning, I think too much, constantly over-analyse even the smallest things, and tend to question near enough anything. I mean, in some instances – this can be a good thing (to some extent). But when it comes to sleep, this has been a real detriment for me.
Sleep is SO important. Not only for your own sanity, but for your skin, physical health, mental focus, mood, work performance, relationships… Personally, I´ve noticed a big difference to my own complexion. Over the past 12-months (when it´s been at it´s worst), I feel like I´ve aged years, with a more dehydrated and stressed complexion than ever. Not ideal, in other words. But rest assured – there are so many things you can do to improve it! And after moving into our new house, one of my main priorities was really creating a calm and zen home environment (see my full house tour here) – especially in the bedroom. We´re surrounded by so much noise, colour and impressions in our day-to-day life – so creating that space where you can really disconnect, relax and breathe, is everything to me.
Did you know that we spend about a third of our life sleeping? Statistically, we spend more time in our beds and bedrooms as we do anywhere else, hence why it´s so important creating that healthy and calm sleeping environment…
I am so excited to have teamed up with my all-time favourite lifestyle and interiors brand, Anthropologie – to share with you my top tips to make your bedroom more sleep-friendly – style and colour wise, as well as lots of other useful tips. These changes have really helped me, so I hope they might just inspire you too!
1. CHANGE HOW YOU THINK ABOUT YOUR ROOM
One of the main things when it comes to your bedroom and maximising the efficiency of your sleep; is really focusing on creating the right ambiance and association with the room. Focus on what the bedroom is actually meant for (sleep and romance) – and eliminate anything which serves no other purpose than to distract you from sleep! Your bedroom isn’t a gym or an office – so put the fitness equipment in another room, ditch all electronics such as a computer, TV (yes, I´m sorry), work desk, and anything else which isn’t related to sleeping and relaxing.
Create a real sanctuary with lots of peaceful and calming vibes – so when you step into your bedroom, you know what it´s for – leaving you with no distraction to get into bed and SLEEP.
2. INVEST IN A GOOD QUALITY MATRESS
When it comes to your bed mattress, don´t compromise – and don´t go too cheap! I mean, you don´t have to fork out thousands of pounds to get a good quality mattress, but make sure you do your research, and find something which you and your body really loves. If you think about it, you spend a third of your life sleeping on your bed, and while initially the cost might seem quite scary – it will definitely be worth the investment!
In terms of what to get, it´s all personal preference, be it firm, bouncy, fluffy… It might be worth while finding a mattress shop which offers a 30-day try-it-at-home service, so you can actually test it, before committing. We recently invested in the Tempur Cloud Memory Foam Mattress in Super King, and we´ve literally never slept better…
3. CHOOSE THE RIGHT BED LINEN
Again, good things don´t come cheap, and this is definetely applicable when it comes to your bed linen. Gone are the days of grainy cotton sheets from IKEA; it´s all about silky smooth sheets; be it in natural tree-fibre materials, pure silk (amazing for your skin), linen, Egyptian cotton… Whatever works for you. I personally love super soft 100% cotton, silk and linen – all in neutral whites, and accessorising with complementing, soothing colours in shades of blue and grey, with a bed spread, and lots (and lots of pillows and cushions).
4. DE-CLUTTER YOUR ROOM
Having your room tidy, neat and relatively minimalistic, is another factor which is pretty key to a calm and peaceful sleep. Going to bed with lots of muddle, dirty washing on the floor, empty glasses (or worse – food) – is hardly ideal, and will definitely create some a stressed and aggravated mind.
So get rid of anything which can trigger an anxious and stressful sleep, and de-clutter your room of any mess and muddle (if you’re able to); remember, the room is for sleeping – not working, drying washing or munching away on food (unless it´s the weekend, and your other half brings you breakfast in bed – THEN it´s definitely allowed).
5. GO FOR A CALM COLOUR SCHEME
The most popular colours for a bedroom is blue, yellow and green; colours which are all associated with calmness, relaxation and restfulness. Chances are if your room is purple, black, bright red, dark brown, you might not be sleeping as well… It´s a common known fact how colours can affect the whole way you feel – in every aspect.
So when possible, always opt for neutral and natural shades; soothing and peaceful colours which makes you want sleep, and ultimately, relax. I started off having our bedroom room ultra neutral (previous post here), but I recently decided to add some more eclectic prints to the room with a new bed spread and cushions – yet, still in keeping with the main colour scheme – so the overall ambiance and feel remains the same.
6. DITCH THE GADGETS
For the same reasons you shouldn’t have a TV or computer in your bedroom; you should ideally be ditching your mobile phone too. When that said, I´m no angel, and this has been a continuous challenge for me as well (you might recall my 66 days Habits Challenge?).
Why? Well not only is the light and sound from the display distracting, but knowing that your phone is right beside you, will no doubt create so much disturbance if you’re not able to sleep – where one so easily reaches for the phone, spending mindless amounts of time scrolling through e-mails, Instagram or Facebook (sound familiar?) – which will in turn set your mind into overdrive… So, if you´re not able to remove your phone completely; switch it to Airplane mode (that´s what I do) or flip it over, screen-side down, during bedtime. Oh, and try to switch off all gadgets and devices at least one hour before sleep time – studies have shown that being exposed to the blue-and-white light given off by phones, laptops, and other electronics at night prevents our brains from releasing melatonin, a hormone that tells our bodies it’s nighttime, meaning it takes longer to fall asleep.
7. KEEP YOUR ROOM COOL
I used to love my room super toasty and warm, but I would always wake up feeling agitated and sluggish, which in turn would affect my whole day. Since I started sleeping with the windows open (even during winter) – I´ve woken up feeling so much more re-freshed and clear headed.
Lowering your body temperature, is a signal to your body that it´s time to sleep. So making sure that your room is nice and cool, will help prepare for a much more restful night ahead. If it gets too chilly, just sleep with a hot water bottle!
8. HAVE A BATH
Hot baths have been one of my main saving graces; it really calms me and makes me so much more sleepy. Did you know that a hot bath actually helps you lower your body’s temperature? Your body’s response to the heat drops your temperature way down low – which in turn will make you fall asleep even faster! My personal favourite bath concoction, is a steaming hot tub, filled with 1 cup of epsom salts (great for detoxification), calming lavender, moisturising rose oil and soothing Jasmine (I love Neom Organics Bath Foam & Bath Oil). Pop on some nice music, scented candles and the lights off for the ultimate 30 minutes time-out.
9. USE AROMATIC SCENTS
I´ve always been big on scented candles – so not surprisingly, I have a load in the bedroom too! Aromatic candles (especially lavender and vanilla) can really help
My ritual is lighting the candle in my bedroom before I jump in the bath, so when I return to sleep, the whole room is lovingly infused… Heavenly.
10. READ & MEDITATE
Ditch the TV, phone and laptop, and start reading! Be it one of Marie Kondo´s ever inspiring books (if you ever needed motivation to de-clutter and create a minimalist lifestyle – READ THIS), a gripping drama, a book of mindful exercises, or even a mediation session with Headspace… Whatever works for you.
I used to spend so much of my child hood just reading; I was an absolute book worm, and would love that time of pure disconnect, jumping into someone else´s fantasy world. Sadly, reading has been at the bottom of my priorities these past few years; and I´ve spent far too many nights glued to my phone caching up on e-mails, checking in on social media and news. No wonder I´m not sleeping! But since investing in some real inspiring books, setting my phone on Airplane mode and infusing the room with candles – my sleep is improving day by day. Sure, I have my days of slip-ups with my phone; but the important part is being aware of it, and just re-setting the next night!
11. SLEEP IN THE DARK
A pretty obvious point, but you would be surprised how even streetlights or a full moon can wake you up! I´m quite used to the light, having grown up in Scandinavia, where it´s light just about all night during the summer. But ensuring that real deep sleep; make sure you invest in some black-out blinds, heavy curtains or wooden shutters, so the room is pitch dark. Remove any night-lights, turn off your lamp and pop your phone away, and ZZZ away…
12. NO NOISE
Another obvious fact, but making sure the room is quiet, is a recipe for a good night´s kip. Of course, everyone has different living situations, so if it´s hard to keep the room quiet – get some ear plugs, invest in a sound machine, or pop some soothing music on.
In truth it’s not so much sound itself that prevents sleep, it’s the inconsistency of silence that can be disruptive and wake you up from your sleep. You might not be aware of it, so make a conscious effort of investing in ways of making your room as quiet, and peaceful as possible.
Now… SLEEP TIGHT!
Created in collaboration with Anthropologie. All words, opinions, styling & creative direction are, as always, my own.