We admit it; some of us at Remodelista toss and turn at night. So when our friend Jackie Ashton, an SF-based writer, yoga teacher, and mindfulness practitioner who is passionate about the intersection of design and well-being, offered to share her secrets on getting a good night’s sleep, we leapt at the chance to hear her thoughts. Are you sleep deprived? Read on for Ashton’s tips:
“Lots of things contribute to our well-being: our homes, our relationships, and, of course—our sleep. As we dive into the New Year, consider creating a sanctuary for slumber, a place that looks beautiful, yes, but also cultivates a state of serenity. Your bedroom should feel calming to your senses; a dark and quiet haven and a place to delight in the simple pleasures.”
Above: In a spartan bedroom in the English countryside designed by David Kohn, a tasseled Moroccan bedspread adds a note of whimsy.
1. Open the windows; nature is the original Ambien. There’s something about connecting with the natural world—from whence we came—that makes the daily minutiae dissolve (as Benjamin Franklin said, “People who live in the forest, in open barns, or with open windows, do not catch cold, and the disease called a cold is generally caused by impure air”).
2. Make your bedroom a place of beauty and ease. Our resident paint expert Eve Ashcraft suggests, “If you want a tranquil room, you should keep your color palette subtle and tonal. The more similar each color is the ‘quieter’ the visual impact.” A few favorites: Eve Ashcraft’s Vapor (pale blue) or Benjamin Moore’s Wickham Gray (pale blue/gray). For a nice neutral, try Benjamin Moore’s French Canvas, which works great with whites and creams. Displaying items you find to be beautiful in your bedroom is important. As John Donahue, author of Beauty: The Invisible Embrace, writes, “we feel most alive in the presence of the beautiful for it meets the needs of our soul.”
3. Be fully present. Leave work and technology elsewhere. Consider practicing a brief meditation before sleep—research shows that just 10 minutes a day can have an impact. Be in the bedroom when it’s time for bed. (Don’t be mentally at the office, at the dinner table with your kids, or in last week’s argument with your mother.) With practice, we can create a serenity so deep that, as French poet George Bernanos wrote, “nothing can change it, like a vast reserve of calm water beneath a storm.”
4. Keep your bedroom simple, clean, and neat. Your bedroom should have a restful atmosphere, and for most people, outer order instills inner calm. Step one: Make your bed. In Happier at Home, Gretchen Rubin claims that daily bed making is the quickest at-home mood booster. Step two: Kill the clutter. Alexandra Stoddard, the self-described “philosopher of contemporary living,” says, “When we are authentic, when we keep our spaces simple, simply beautiful living takes place.”
5. Make your bedroom a place of comfort. Invest in the best sheets (see 10 Easy Pieces: Simple White Sheets) and non-toxic mattress (see 10 Easy Pieces: Editors’ Favorite Mattresses) you can afford. Experiment with different types of pillows and replace them frequently.
To read more of Ashton’s tips for getting a better night’s rest, visit Remodelista.