I’ve already talked about the importance of quality sleep in previous blog posts, where I touched on the importance of creating a regular circadian rhythm through waking up and going to sleep at the same time each day, getting natural sunlight and exercising preferably in the morning, supplementing with magnesium and keeping your room cool and aired out, just to name a few.
With our recent move from Sydney to Melbourne, Phil and I made a few more mindful decisions when it came to the design of our bedroom and sleep rituals, which I want to share with you today. Implementing some of these tips and habits can hopefully help you to fall asleep faster, stay asleep and most importantly - improve the quality of your sleep. Sleep is essential to your wellness and worth prioritising, and these easy to implement tweaks can make all the difference.
This blog post is in friendly collaboration with Koala, who were so kind to gift us their Koala timber bed base which you’ll see in the photos below. Isn’t it gorgeous? You’ll also be able to make use of a special promo code that I organised just for you guys, so keep reading for all the deets on this.
Let’s dive into it!
NO TECH IN BED
Phil and I have made the conscious decision to keep all types of technology out of the bedroom in our new apartment. I used to have a sun lamp as an alarm, but we’ve even eliminated that. Our phones and laptops charge in the living room, and when my phone alarm goes off in the morning, I am literally forced to get out of bed and walk to the living room to turn it off. Cruel, I know, but so much better for our health! If I absolutely must use my phone or laptop in bed at night, I make sure that the night shift mode is on in order to protect my Melatonin production, which is vital for our ability to get good zzz.
MORNING MEDITATION IN BED
Personally, I find that daily meditating is single-handedly the hardest habit to implement in my routine. I struggle so much with it! Moving to Melbourne, I knew that I wanted to make an active effort to implement this into our routine from day one. If not now, then when!? My problem with mediation is this: I want to meditate in the morning, but if I don’t do it first thing, it just doesn’t get done. As soon as I’m up and start getting distracted by the doing-ness of life, it’s too late.
For a long time I resisted meditating in bed because I thought that’s not how its ought to be done, but I’ve recently adjusted my mindset and surrendered to this style of meditating. I now oftentimes meditate right after waking up, still in bed. It might not be the ideal way of meditating, but for now it’s helping me meditate more regularly. And that’s all that matters.
THE MORE PLANTS THE MERRIER
I have always considered myself to have a black thumb, and my track record certainly isn’t great. But that’s not stopping me from continuing to try and grow an indoor plant jungle. Not only are they a wonderful interior design hack that can turn any dark corner into a beautiful oasis, but they have have proven health benefits. A NASA study called the Clean Air Study found that certain common, indoor plants will significantly reduce the amount of toxins in the air. The way it works is this: the plants absorb the toxic chemicals such as VOCs through their leaves, roots and even the soil, hence removing them from the air we breathe. It has also been shown that being in an environment with plants can help reduce stress and improve blood pressure and heart rate. I’m sure we can all attest to that calming feeling we get when being surrounded by plants? So it’s a triple win! According to the NASA study, some of the best chemical-removing plants are Peace Lily, Boston Fern, Chrysanthemum, Philodendron, Spider Plant, Gerbera Daisy, Areca Palms, and Sansevieria. Since I have a black thumb, I haven’t dared to try my luck with some of the harder-to-maintain plants in the bunch, but I’m working my way through the list. I’ve also consciously incorporated plants that are literally impossible to kill like Monstera leaves, Eucalyptus plant and Billy Buttons.
HIMALAYAN SALT LAMP
We’ve got a Himalayan salt lamp on our bed side table, which emits a soft and warming light, and creates a calming energy in our room. The soft orange hues give our bedroom a beautiful glow at night time and I love putting the lamp on for the last couple hours of the day before we fall asleep. There’s also lots of health claims out there including that salt lamps can purify the air, help relieve allergy symptoms and asthma, and can increase energy levels. One way that pink Himalayan salt lamps supposedly work is by releasing negative ions into the air in a process called air ionization. It is also said that water vapor in the air carrying pollutants and toxins is attracted to the surface of the rock. The toxins fall on the rock, and clean water vapor remains in the air. I haven’t been able to find any evidence to actually back these claims, but personally I am content with the calming and soothing effect the beautiful glow of the lamp has on me.
The Koala bed is hands down the most stylish, most convenient and most environmentally friendly bed we’ve ever had. It certainly is an upgrade from our old $50 second-hand Gumtree bed whose slates would fall off the frame every other day. Let’s have a closer look at why this bed base makes us sleep safe and sound:
The timber bed base contains NO screws and there are zero tools needed for set up. For someone who’s got a history of moving every single year, this is absolute music to my ears. In total there are eleven timber pieces that need to be slotted together, and we were able to set it up in less than ten minutes whilst barely looking at the instructions. I was absolutely blown away with how easy it was.
There’s plenty of storage below the bed base and behind the headboard, which is an added bonus when you live in a small apartment like us. The space behind the headboard is designed for pillow storage, but I’m actually determined to grow a little plant jungle in that space (have yet to convince Phil about this one). Another aspect about the design that I love is the overside platform, which is perfect for putting down your tea or book on the side of the bed.
SUSTAINABILITY AND HEALTH
Now, this is the part that gets me most excited. Koala is a Certified B Corporation, meaning they use the power of their business to solve social and environmental problems, and meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance and transparency. They are also a member of 1% for the Planet, which means they give at least 1% of their annual sales to environmental charities.
In practice, this means the following:
The timber bed base is made of sustainable sourced wood that is 100% recyclable. Koala’s goal is to create well-made, lasting products that have a reduced environmental footprint and with the end of life cycle in mind. The bed comes with a 5-year warranty, and currently all their returned beds and other furniture are donated to charity or recycled. They are also a member of SoftLanding, which is a social enterprise that aims to recycle as many mattresses as possible.
It is also certified no VOC's, which means Koala doesn’t use volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the production of their products. This is really important as the off-gassing of such chemicals, which are commonly found in furniture, mattresses, paint, and any number of household goods, can be quite dangerous for our health in the long run. While the exact effects are still being studied, what we do know is that VOCs can cause allergic reactions and other health problems such as coughing congestion, skin irritation and asthma. Scary, huh? Having a Koala bed base means we’ve got one less piece of furniture that will emit VOCs in our bedroom. Any other VOCs emitted hopefully get picked up by the many plants, like I mentioned above.
The bed base is also coated in water based, water resistant coating, which protects against quick spills, which for a clumsy person like me is important. It also means there's no harmful chemicals used to provide this water resistant coating, another win!
And here’s the coolest thing: when you purchase a Koala mattress or bed, the company adopts a real life koala on your behalf and donates money to help protect koala’s daily habitat, and also supports sick and injured koalas. This is done in partnership with WWF and other Koala charities. Since moving to Australia, I haven’t had the luck to witness these beautiful but endangered animals in person, but I surely hope that I will one day.