When we moved into our new home, one of the first things we noticed were how poorly fitting the venetian blinds were in our bedroom.
I don’t know about you, but both my boyfriend and I need total darkness at night to be able to sleep soundly. The first night we turned off the lights at bedtime, the entire room remained illuminated by shards of light seeping in on either side of both blinds – an absolute nightmare for Luis who sleeps facing that side of the room. We knew we had to find a quick solution, so the next morning headed straight to IKEA to pick up a couple of their trusty SCHOTTIS pleated black-out blinds, which I’d reliably been informed by the internet were the best affordable option on the market, and perfect for use by renters.
They worked an absolute treat and, as luck would have it, a few days later IKEA got in touch asking me to collaborate with them on a sleep campaign for my blog. An absolute no-brainer for a self-confessed IKEA lover like me!
It’s widely held that a good night’s sleep is crucial for all aspects of health as it’s a vital time of rest and restoration. As Luis and I had already discovered, light interference tends to be the most immediate factor affecting nightly sleeping patterns, particularly if you live in an urban area where light pollution from street lamps and other people’s homes can be a real nuisance. The SCHOTTIS blinds were the perfect quick-fix solution for us, as they can be easily cut to fit odd sized windows; the reason our new home’s existing ones were so poorly fitting we discovered once we began researching, is because all the windows are a good 10cm wider than the standard small window blind measure!
The SCHOTTIS blinds were also a godsend because they are really easy to attach to your window frame, and require no drilling at all; you simply stick them to the frame with the self adhesive tape included. You can then alter the height of the blinds throughout the day using clips, and securely pull them down at night and affix to the window sill, using hook-and-loop fasteners to hold it securely in place. So long as you cut the blind correctly for a nice snug fit, absolutely no light seeps through at all. And an added bonus? Black-out blinds are also effective at keeping out draughts, helping to reduce the need for heating, and saving on your energy bills.
Ever since my trip to IKEA’s headquarters in Älmhult, I’ve been impressed by the brand’s commitment to sustainability; in fact, they aim to be fully circular by 2030; so its always nice to discover new ways in which IKEA are simultaneously encouraging their customers to make small, simple and eco-conscious updates to their homes. There are certainly plenty of places to start in the bedroom, despite it often being an overlooked room in the house when it comes to thinking about sustainability. If we spend an average of 8 hours’ sleeping every day, that equates to 120 days in bed a year, which means taking care of our bed should be an utmost priority. We all know the value of a good mattress and suitable pillows for suit our sleep style, but its also important to make sure you take care of these items during their lifetime. Washable mattress and pillow protectors are a great way to prolong the life cycle of these items for years to come, and ensure you’re not prematurely sending them to rubbish pile.
Our existing protectors were definitely in need of an update, so I was keen to try out IKEA’s ROSENVIAL range of pillow and mattress protectors. These temperature regulating protectors caught my eye primarily because they have been produced using a mixed material fabric designed to give a cooling sensation, and a filling made mainly from recycled sources. The filling contains tiny wax infused viscose fibres that absorb excess heat if your body temperature rises and release it when it drops again, helping you to maintain an even body temperature and get a restful night’s sleep.
Temperature regulation has definitely moved up to the top of my list of considerations at night time lately, as I’m reaching my late thirties and – having always known I was predisposed to early menopause as it runs in my family – am beginning to see some of the signs of perimenopause, which includes – very disconcertingly – night sweats (quelle horreur!). Of course, excessive sweating in bed is likely to cause premature damage to your pillows and mattress, so keeping them covered with a good protector is essential. These can then be regularly switched out and washed with your bedding, meaning your bed remains as fresh and inviting as possible each night.
I wasn’t sure I wanted this to turn into a peri/menopause post but to be honest, I’ve been disappointed to discover how little it is talked about – online or elsewhere – considering it affects every woman at one point in their life! So I thought I’d share a few of my own quick tips for getting as good a night’s sleep as possible if you’re in the same boat, in the hope that it normalises women talking about, and sharing their experiences, with others.
- Ditch the heavy tog duvet and opt instead for a lighter weight one layered up with blankets, so you can easily chop and change throughout the night and regulate your body temperature more easily. We keep the INDIRA dark blue bedspread on our bed during the day, but leave it off at night at the moment – even though it is incredibly light-weight, and would be great to sleep under on it’s own in summer months. I’m sure when winter properly begins we’ll start leaving it on as an addition to our low-tog duvet though. We then have other cosier blankets close to hand on the VILTO stand next to the bed, which doubles up as a lovely decorative addition to the room.
- As I’ve mentioned, washable pillow and mattress protectors are a must! Stock up so you can switch them over as frequently as required, and prevent any unwanted stubborn staining. Good ones can also help you to regulate your temperature in the night by wicking away sweat from the surface, helping to keep you both cool and dry.
- Sleep with a thin cotton sheet between you and your duvet, as this is far easier to switch out and wash than your main duvet cover if you do find yourself sweating excessively. Our linen cupboard next to the bed is also stocked with extra sheets should I need to change anything quickly during the night.
- When it comes duvets, you may also want to switch from one that you share with your partner to two single ones instead, so you each have full control over your own temperature throughout the night, and are able wash your own cover as frequently as required. A single duvet is also far easier to clean in a domestic washing machine if necessary too.
- Sleep in a thin cotton T-shirt or vest top only, and keep a spare close to your bedside in case you need to replace it in the night. So much better than having to get up and go rummage through your drawers in the dark!
- Keep your bedroom as cool as possible during the day and – if your partner will allow it – don’t switch on the heating in your bedroom until just before you’re preparing to get up in the morning. We only keep the radiator furthest from the bed switched on, as the one next to Luis’ side heats us both up far too much.
- Keep a portable nightlight next to the bed in case you do need to get up for any reason. Alternatively look for battery-operated nightlights that are activated by motion sensors to illuminate the room when you need to get up. These MOLGAN ones look good, and work with IKEA’s rechargeable LADDA batteries.
You can also a whole range of sleep tips for everyone, including how to achieve the perfect temperature for good-quality sleep, in the IKEA Sleep Hub.
Back to bedroom updates now, and the final one we made were additional window dressings to help soften the look and feel of the room, with the added benefit of being air-purifying too – say what?!
I’d actually had a sneak peek of these innovative curtains when I was at IKEA HQ in 2017, and had been eagerly awaiting their arrival in the catalogue. GUNRID use energy from natural light to transform polluted air to clean air via a mineral-based coating on the fabric which reacts to daylight to breaks down indoor air pollutants such as acetaldehyde. Clever, huh? Since we’d already tackled the light pollution issue with the blackout blinds, these sheer fabric curtains have helped us add privacy during the day while still letting diffused daylight in, and have added a nice ethereal element of tranquillity and cosiness to the room at night.
Have you made any sustainable updates to your bedroom lately? Or do you have any tips for dealing with the peri/menopause years? Let me know in the comments below!
This post is in collaboration with IKEA, but all opinions and experiences referenced are my own. All photography © Kate Baxter / Luis Leiva.