How To: Get a Better Night's Sleep

atla-091008-sleep.jpgLast week, we confessed that our home indulgence is having our sheets cleaned and ironed; Beth Z recently pointed out some ways to put a hotel room spin on your home bedroom. But more than high thread count sheets and fluffy duvets, what makes a bedroom restful is when it is treated as a retreat from the outside world. This weekend, we visited a friend who has an altar in her bedroom. While you may not want to go that far, here are some ideas for keeping the focus on rest and relaxation...

  • Light: If you're bothered by light, try light blocking shades or a sleep mask.
  • Noise: We use a fan to help drown out street sounds but some people like ear plugs or a white noise machine.
  • The sense of touch, the sense of smell: Freshly ironed smooth sheets cradle our skin. You may prefer the softness of linen or the plushness of a down filled mattress or the smell of sheets dried on the line. Even better if you spritz your sheets with a favorite scent. Lavender's a classic sleep inducer.
  • Air and Temperature: We use a fan at night to block out noise, diffuse scent (we tape a magazine scent strip to the fan and let the air blow through it) and cool the air. Even in the winter we sleep with the fan on and the heat off. Next on our list: an air purifier or humidifier. An orchid plant next to our bed is not only beautiful but helps to filter the air.
  • Spiritual space: If an altar's not your style, at least consider eliminating work and television from the bedroom. Declutter the room and clear off all surfaces, including your nightstand of all but the essentials.
  • Eating in bed: Although we've been known to eat cookies or breakfast in bed, eating a big meal right before bed can having you counting sheep rather than getting 40 winks. Eat light.
  • Tossing and turningIf you can't sleep, get up and out of bed and start a quiet activity (read a book or a magazine, write in your journal, drink a warm cup of milk, take a warm bath) until you start to feel sleepy. Then go back to bed.

[image: Camilla's Victorian Townhouse, Melbourne]