The Wall Street Journal just reported on that small segment of society that thrives on very, very little sleep. However, out of every 100 people who believe they only need five or six hours of sleep a night, only about five people really do. The rest end up chronically sleep deprived, part of the one-third of U.S. adults who get less than the recommended seven hours of sleep per night, according to a report last month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Sometimes it amazes me as I tour the homes of New Yorkers and see how badly designed their bedrooms are, certainly not the kind of environment to encourage good sleep habits. If we spend 7 hours a day asleep, that is almost a third of our lives in one place…..surely that should inspire us to create the best possible environment, maybe more so than any other living space?
So these are the things I believe make my bedroom function well for a third of my life:
1) THE BED: I spent 6 months getting my bed just right: No, I do not own one of those $ 20,000 mattresses, although I hear they are amazing. I do have a quality king sized mattress with box springs: the top is layered with a memory foam pad, an organic wool fleece cover (wool is cool in summer and warm in winter), an all cotton pad over that, and then super-quality high thread count cotton sheets. Restoration Hardware does a great quality if you are more budget conscious (I am not a fan of Frette….). I have an A-grade down comforter, covered with a cotton cover….medium weight. There are three firmness levels of pillows. And of course in winter, an Hermes wool blanket adds warmth. I have a cashmere throw too because some fabulous interior design magazine said I need one.
2) LIGHTING: I have no overhead lights, just a task light on either side of the bed to allow easy reading. All lights have dimmers to provide soft lighting at all times.
3) SOUND: My windows are very sound-proofed. I require a quiet bedroom to sleep well, and yes I also wear ear plugs too. Fabric curtains absorb sound too. The more fabric the better. I also have ducted central air conditioning, which is something of a dream come true after living with noisy, inefficient wall units for decades.
4) LIGHT: Blackout is essential to me. I have one layer of roller solar shades to soften the outside light. The heavy linen curtains have a black-out lining.
5) TECHNOLOGY: Yes there is a television…..but it is turned off at least an hour before sleep time. Although watching any reality TV (besides the Real Housewives of New Jersey) puts me to sleep. The only technology thats allowed is my I-pad to read or music…..I play soft classical music through the built in system before sleep while reading. My cellphone is turned off by 11pm.
6) COLOR: I love a monochromatic bedroom. For me it encourages a calming environment. So the linen curtains almost match the color of the walls, a neutral greyish beige.
7) A VIEW: I am very fortunate in that I have a view of my terrace that is planted with evergreens so that its green all year round. I also have a yummy chaise lounger covered in a soft aqua green velvet and mid century floorlamp to look at…..the point is, some kind of pleasing ‘view’ is essential to my sleep. And if I did not have this terrace, I would place a piece of art, a great photo, SOMETHING that provides a calming exposure to see as you drift into sleep, or wake up to.
8) FOOD: No food in or near the bed…..only a good cup of tea in the morning, or some Camomile before bedtime. AND: No meals just before sleep time…..a lighter meal (not easy for me) should be completed at least three hours before sleep time.
And I am militant about having a minimum of 7 hours of good sleep per night. Without that, I could not survive the craziness that is Manhattan real estate.