Styled by Jonathan Parkey
As we spend more time in our homes this summer, it's the perfect time to take a closer look at the space where we start and end our days. Research constantly stresses the importance of consistent, quality sleep for both mental and physical health. Creating a soothing atmosphere and developing nighttime rituals to ease us into a more relaxed state can help us sleep more soundly and awake feeling more refreshed. Here's what the pros suggest.
Megan Ludvinsky, About Space Organizing
I often suggest home organization projects should begin in the bedroom. Where and how you wake up sets the tone for your day. If you arise to see clutter, or if you feel confined in any way, it can negatively affect your mindset whether you are aware of those effects or not.
Here's how I guide clients to create a clutter-free bedside system.
1. CLEAR YOUR NIGHTSTAND
Bedsides tend to accumulate a multitude of items — bills, toys, trash, the list goes on. Most of these items just landed on this surface as we were tucking in, initially intended to get our attention the following day. But due to the needs of life and the frenetic commotion of our mornings, often that attention never comes. These stacks create an eyesore that is not beneficial to our inner calm. Lay these items out on a flat, clear surface so you can see everything at once.
Look at the entire contents of your nightstand and separate items into three groups:
- Need to stay in arm's reach (current book, glasses, lip balm, etc.)
- Need to discard/donate (old papers, receipts, water bottles, etc.). Dispose of these items so they are out of your immediate space.
- Need to relocate to another area of the household (pocket change, kids' books, jewelry, dishes, duplicates of “arm's reach” items). Relocate these items.
3. ASSESS WHAT'S LEFT & DISTRIBUTE
What needs to be closest to you? For me, I like to keep a water carafe with a cup lid for water, a lamp for reading, my phone charger and a cute container for my hair ties. That’s it.
Any other “sometimes” items may be stowed in the drawer, or if you have a shelf, you can store them in a basket or container. “Sometimes” items include an eye mask, cuticle cream, Tylenol, sleep aids, etc. I always suggest drawer inserts/organizers to separate these items so that they each have a home in your drawer.
Slow Your Mind
Kayce Johnson, Kind Folke Herbal Apothecary + Arkansas Yoga Collective
One of the fastest ways to change your state of mind is through your breath. If you find you are having trouble turning off a worried mind, try this timed breath exercise: Inhale for four seconds, hold for seven seconds, exhale slowly for eight seconds.
Repeat this breath pattern until you feel your body relaxing and drifting off to sleep. Slowing down your breath, especially the exhale, helps relax your entire body and relieves stress from the day.
A Better Night’s Rest
Try giving yourself an oil massage before crawling in bed. You can indulge and buy a nice oil with ingredients to meet specific needs, or you can make your own. Most any oil in your pantry will work, including olive, coconut, sesame or almond oil. You can carefully heat the oil over the stove or warm it by rubbing it between your hands before applying.
Feel free to add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, like jasmine or ylang ylang, to help create a nurturing atmosphere. After mixing and warming the oil, begin the massage with your feet and move up your body as you massage in small strokes towards your heart. This will soothe tired muscles, increase circulation and aid in relaxation. It only takes a few minutes, but this self-care act will help you drift off to sleep and wake up with the softest skin.
From the Ground Up
Show your tired feet some love and release a stressful day with a nice soak and scrub. Soak your feet in a shallow bath with a few tablespoons of Epsom salt. You might also forage around the house for ingredients to add to the water, including flowers and herbs from your garden like mint, lavender and rosemary. The pantry is also a great place to find nurturing ingredients. Look for things like seaweed, oatmeal and Himalayan pink salt to feed your skin.
After a long soak, consider scrubbing your feet to help release more tension and soften the wear from the day. Make your own scrub by mixing sugar or salt with an oil and add some herbs or a few drops of essential oils, like peppermint or clove, to refresh your feet even more. Scrub the ingredients on your feet in circular motions, then rinse.
One of the most common, yet harmful nighttime activities is screen time before bed. The blue light emitted from our cell phones can wreak havoc on our natural sleep patterns. Try disconnecting a little earlier and curling up with a book instead.
WordsWorth Books Summer Picks
"The Book of Longings" by Sue Monk Kidd
"The Vanishing Half" by Brit Bennett
"Big Summer" by Jennifer Weiner
"Code Name Helene" by Ariel Lawhon
"The Book of Lost Friends" by Lisa Wingate
"Beach Read" by Emily Henry
"City of Girls" by Elizabeth Gilbert
"This Tender Land" by William Krueger
"The Splendid and the Vile" by Erik Larson
"Untamed" by Glennon Doyle
"Hidden Valley Road" by Robert Kolker
"Born A Crime" by Trevor Noah
"Boys in the Boat" by Daniel James Brown
"River of Doubt" by Candace Millard
"In the Garden of Beasts" by Erik Larson
"Young Men and Fire" by Norman MacLean