The Sanctuary of Sleep; How your Bedding affects your Wellbeing
At least three separate people have said to me recently that they are not sleeping well.
And, as someone who has been renowned amongst family and friends for being able to sleep literally anywhere, I too have had more than my fair share of sleepless nights recently.
I’ve studied Psychology, I’ve done my fair share of project prep until the early hours. I’m no stranger to quite how much impact a good night’s sleep can have on how we tackle the simplest of tasks. Why is it then, that when we climb into bed, the smallest trigger can keep our brains working overtime?
I spoke to Izzey Hung of homeware brand, XV Stripes, to get her insight and top recommendations on the best ways to set yourself up for better sleep.
We all have our own personal associations with colour.
There is also a biological element – the level of the sleep hormone, melatonin, emitted when we are exposed to different colours which influences our sleep quality. Cyan, for example, can damage sleep – it is this bright colour we are exposed to via phone screens. Blue, however, its close relative, is renowned for aiding relaxation.
Grey is the tone that has dominated our interiors in recent years. Compared to the magnolia era that preceded it, grey felt like a new, clean and contemporary neutral. However, after the year we’ve had, I think we are now craving bolder colours, especially those that connect us to nature.
As Izzey and I discussed this, she shared the evolution of her personal relationship with colour. ‘A few years ago, everything in my house was grey,’ says Izzey, ‘every wall was tones of grey and white.’
At the same time, her life was dominated by a demanding corporate job, fast-paced and surrounded by brick and concrete.
‘I’m okay with sharing the fact I’ve suffered on and off with depression’ Izzey volunteers, ‘with corporate life and the stresses that surround that, you kind of become comfortable with being in a state that is not acceptable – not really that happy.’
Subconsciously, we can forget the joy colour can bring. We are often comforted by the idea that leaving colour out is the best way of giving our interiors longevity. There’s something to be said for the phrase, ‘do one thing every day that scares you.’ Injecting a bold colour into your home can do the same.
This is reflective of Izzey’s change in outlook, having swapped her corporate role for setting up XV Stripes from scratch. ‘Now, my house is filled with colour – greens and blues,’ she says ‘it’s fresher and brighter.’ These are of course the colours of nature. Connecting with those colours over the last year has enabled us to thrive.
‘Throws are great for adding an extra layer on a cold night – instead of turning up the heating.’
If you’re looking for an instant injection of colour in your bedroom, consider just changing your bed linen. Here you can experiment with bold patterns and colours – such as the fresh, calming blue and white stripe of the XV Stripes Cowes range.
We’re becoming more educated regarding the sourcing and creation of what we buy. In the same way, natural foods are better for us than processed, natural materials are much better than synthetic.
We spend a chunk of time in bed and you are cocooned by your bed linen. Surrounding yourself with synthetic fibres exposes you to the many chemicals used to treat and colour those products. In the long term, this can lead to skin irritation, among other things.
Izzey comments. ‘Natural fibres are so much better, both for sustainability reasons and for how the fabric feels and functions.’ She adds, ‘You should always aim to sleep at a cooler temperature – your body naturally leans into a deeper sleep at a lower temperature and it means you need to worry less about the wicking of the fabric that way!’
So that is why some of us sleep better with the window open!
If there is a way to make a room look inviting, it’s layers. Varieties of textures, forms and colours. There are ways of dressing a bed that make you want to just leap on to it.
Throws and a range of cushions in different sizes and textures is a great way to do this. They can also help to break up a block colour duvet or add as an accent colour to compliment your room scheme. Izzey agrees, ‘Throws are great for adding an extra layer on a cold night – instead of turning up the heating.’
Where possible always try and seek out natural materials here too. That said, there are recycled yarns coming to market, though these are not natural fibres, they are supporting the environment. One such material is Repreve – which is a yarn made from recycled plastic bottles. Izzey has worked with this to create her range of vibrant blankets, ‘the more you wash it, the softer it becomes!’
‘These are of course the colours of nature. Connecting with those colours over the last year has enabled us to thrive.’
MAKE IT YOUR SANCTUARY
Sleep is fundamental to your wellbeing. Therefore the space in which you get it should be a priority – both creating it and maintaining it.
I speak from experience when I say leaving your bedroom decor to the bottom of the list is not the one! Consider how you feel when walking into a beautifully designed AirBnB or hotel room. Don’t tell me that it wasn’t one of your deciding factors to book and you haven’t immediately wanted to jump straight into the bed when you arrived! So, if you’re having trouble sleeping, allow yourself to switch up your space.
Rearrange your furniture, treat the walls to a lick of fresh colour and ‘..make your bed – yes, that’s my top piece of advice’ says Izzey, ‘and do it every morning!’ It’s true, whenever you re-enter your bedroom to clean floors and a well-made bed, it gives you a sense of being in control of your day. It certainly works for me – especially whilst we’ve all been working from home more. Seeing the bed made makes me feel like there’s one less thing on my ‘to do’ list.
Yes, it is your right to have a bedroom that is your sanctuary. It doesn’t matter the size, shape or whether you’ve got an en-suite. It is your space, it is where you start and end your day and it should nourish your body and soul.
IZZEY’S TOP TIPS FOR A BETTER NIGHT’S SLEEP
Keep it cool – even on a racing yacht, Izzey will sleep with a bracing breeze rippling through her cabin. Much like the reinvigorating effects of a sea swim, fresh air is restorative, simply by helping us to reach a deeper sleep.
Re-fresh your food – often diet is the first thing to fall away when we’re pushed for time or stressed. Hitting the pause button as we reach for the cupboard will help you to consider what your body actually needs. Plus cooking from scratch is pretty therapeutic in itself.
Consider colour – there are reams of information out there on colour psychology but sometimes it is better to just go with your gut. You’ll have an instinctual response to colour. If you’re not sure about taking the leap – indulge yourself with samples, both for bed linen and paint.
Make your bed – tidy bed, tidy mind. We all know it’s not quite that simple, but it helps. It may seem a chore at the time, but your future tired self will thank you.
Choose natural – honestly, it’s good for us and good for the planet. Yes, ethically sourced natural fibres command a higher price tag but it means you’ll buy once, not three times. ‘It might seem silly for me to want people to only need to buy once, but it truly is more sustainable that way’ concludes Izzey and I couldn’t agree more.
Check out the XV Stripes range on their website and find out about new launches from the Isle of Wight brand whilst gaining 10% off for life by joining the XV First Club.
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